The COVID-induced economic downturn should not be seen as an obstacle, but rather a springboard, to personal and financial success. I didn’t let the 2008 crisis go to waste. I used it as an opportunity to rebuild my business and my life from scratch. I’ve come back harder, stronger, more empathetic and more resilient.  I am a serial entrepreneur building 10 companies and two $10 million companies.  

I am living proof that an economic crisis is an opportunity for growth. By 2008, I had built a multi-million dollar business and sold it for millions. After 20 years of blood sweat and tears, I felt like I was never going to have to work again; I was one of the lucky ones. 

Yet in 2009, those two decades of late nights got wiped out virtually overnight. The market crashed, and 90% of my wealth disappeared overnight. I remember thinking to myself “I don’t have the energy to do this all over again.” 

What I came to realize is that character is not built whilst you’re sitting on your metaphorical mountaintop, character is built in the valley. This is my message for any entrepreneur today; you must not let this economic crisis go to waste. 

I know that many people will be in the same position today as I was in 2008. More than 97,966 businesses have permanently shut down during the pandemic, according to Yelp.com's Local Economic Impact Report. Globally, around 114 million jobs were lost in 2020, which resulted in working-hour losses approximately four times as high as during the financial crisis in 2009. 

I’m fully aware that many people will be at their lowest point right now. Many have been separated from their loved ones, many others have lost theirs. People’s mental health has suffered, I know mine has. 

But this is not a doom piece; rather, I want people to see the opportunity that lies in front of them. And it appears many have; in what has been dubbed the Great resignation, some 4 million Americans quit their job in April 2020 alone, with a further 95% of survey respondents claiming to have considered quitting their jobs. 

And whilst many businesses have crumbled, many more have been created. According to the Census Bureau, more than 4.4 million new businesses were created during 2020, which constitutes a 24.3% increase from 2019, and 51% higher than the 2010-19 average. 

To those who have taken part in this great start-up renaissance, I say well done. To those who have always considered starting their own business but never knew how, I say, what are you waiting for? 

The COVID pandemic is not a barrier, but rather should be seen as a catalyst. Adversity is an opportunity to grow, not an obstacle that should knock us down. As pointed out by Steven Southwick, author of the “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest challenges”, if you can cope today with all that goes on around you, you’ll be a stronger person when you are on the other side of it. 

There are more tools than ever before. Anyone who has internet access can learn any skill. Online course platforms like Udemy, and social media sites like Youtube, can enable virtually anyone to become an instant expert in virtually anything. 

You may be thinking “even if I have the skills, I don’t have the capital.” You can’t let this put you off. According to Salesforce’s survey, over half (52%) of new small business owners had less than $10,000 in funding from the start. Half of that group had less than $5,000 to hand on the opening day. Take it from me, you don’t need money to make money. 

Part of the reason for this is that most new businesses today are digital. According to the same Salesforce Survey, 70% of new businesses interviewed said their business was born out of technology from day one. This enables you to save costs on equipment, physical space and coffee. And whilst starting a successful new business is anything but guaranteed, nearly three out of four new businesses interviewed already had customers. As the economy picks back up, they have every reason to be optimistic. 

As Sun Tzu said, “In the midst of chaos there is opportunity.” Just look at Walt Disney, who started his entertainment empire in the rubble of the Great Depression. Look at General Electric, which was started in the America’s first recession in 1880’s. More recently, AirBNB was started in the months leading up to the last financial crisis. 

Great things can and do come out of hard times. If you believe you can’t create a successful business in the post-COVID recession, my message to you is simple; if that’s what you believe, that will come true. 

Economic downturns can provide the best opportunity to grow yourself, and your business, into something beautifully unrecognizable. Now is your chance, take it. 

About the author:

Susie Carder is a globally recognized profitability coach. Her radical business strategies have helped thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve exponential growth and triple their profits. She has built 10 companies and two $10 million dollars and sold her last company for millions. Her passion is to help entrepreneurs build 7-8 figure businesses!  Only 1.7 % of small businesses hit the million-dollar mark!  Let’s make you the next millionaire! 

As a private consultant, Carder coaches small business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs in professional management and efficiency to streamline channels of profit for companies. Her newest bestselling book Power Your Profit has been featured as Cosmopolitan top 20 reads in 2020! 

She and her business have been featured in The New York Times, the Associated Press, Forbes magazine, Huffington Post,  U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NBC News to name a few.