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3 Strategies for Surviving a Financial Crisis

by Laura Adams

I recently presented a free teleseminar to help participants take their personal finances to the next level. I asked everyone who registered for the live event to send me their pressing questions ahead of time so I could cover them on the call. I’ve been a trainer and coach for almost a decade and know that when one person has a question it usually means that many other people are wondering the same thing—so I always enjoy sharing specific questions with a larger audience. (By the way, you can download and listen to the free replay recording of the call at MoneyMindsetSolutions.com.)

I received more questions than we had time to answer on the teleseminar, but an important issue that surfaced was how to get through a financial crisis. In this article I’ll offer three ways to survive when your financial life takes a turn for the worse.

Here are three fundamental strategies that can help you survive unemployment, under-employment, or loss of income in your own business:

Crisis Strategy #1: Leverage Your Job Search

It might seem obvious that the answer to not having enough money is to earn more of it, but sometimes people just don’t know how. The fastest path to cash is always the one to explore first—assuming it’s legal or ethical, of course.

If you’re unemployed, tap into several local employment agencies. When I was a hiring manager, the only sources for job applicants that I used were personal references from people I trusted and employment agencies. Agencies are paid by the hiring company, so applicants never have to pay fees. Different agencies will specialize in different types of industries and jobs, so make appointments to interview with as many as possible to see which ones are a good fit for the skills you have.

Agencies need to fill full-time jobs as well as a variety of assignments that are part-time, contract, seasonal, or project-based, which can put money in your pocket right now and add something new to your resume. Some employment agencies even offer a menu of insurance benefits while you’re working their jobs.

Crisis Strategy #2: Increase Your Level of Responsibility

If you’re under-employed or are employed but still not earning enough, have a candid conversation with your boss about how to earn more. Let him or her know that you’re willing to take on more responsibilities in order to demonstrate your competence for a raise or promotion. Don’t go into a meeting about compensation with the attitude that “the man” is holding you down and owes you anything. You have to prove to “the man” that you’re worth more by consistently outperforming your coworkers and exceeding expectations before management will have the chance to notice your talents and abilities. Have specific suggestions for your boss about projects that you could lead that would boost the company’s profitability by making more money, saving more money, or doing both.

Think about your job from the perspective of the company owner(s) or shareholders. If you’re not doing something that ultimately makes the company money, you’d better be making quantum leaps to save it money. When you add enough to the company’s bottom line to pay for yourself, that’s when management will see you as a valuable employee who deserves to be paid more and promoted up the company ladder.

Crisis Strategy #3: Solve More Business Problems

If you’re self-employed or run a small business that’s suffering, do some brainstorming about how to solve more problems for your current customers. For example, if you have a pool cleaning business, perhaps you could also start doing lawn maintenance or offer exterior pressure washing services for your existing clients. Or you could network with complementary businesses to find out which of their customers have pools that you could service. Sharing leads gives you a whole new market of customers to tap for additional revenue.

Another great way to bring in more business is to beat your competition by offering something free or by providing more value for less money. Giving something extra or offering a free bonus can be what attracts a customer to you. Then the goal is to over-deliver on what you promised, so you create fans that will recommend you to their personal and business network.

If you have a regular job, consider starting your own business on the side to make extra money. People are willing to pay for all kinds of services like tutoring, house-sitting, animal care, yard maintenance, music lessons, cooking, cleaning, computer work, painting, and car detailing, just to name a few. To get more tips about how to create extra sources of income that can pick up slack in your budget, pay down debt, and give you an automatic safety net in case you unexpectedly lose your job, be sure to read “How to Earn a Second Source of Income.”

Share Your Financial Success Tips

If you’re not navigating through a financial crisis right now, realize that you have a lot to be thankful for. If you know someone who could use some fresh ideas about how to improve their finances or work situation, consider forwarding this blog post to them. If you’ve been successful in finding a job, getting a promotion, or starting a profitable full-time or part-time business, share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below.


Published or updated May 31, 2011.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 krantcents

In these difficult times, volunteering and networking are great ways to distinguish yourself from everyone else.

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2 Jon - Free Money Wisdom

There are so many creative ways to earn money in this bleak economy. You just have to have the drive and ingenuity. Utilizing agencies to help find work is a great idea and especially if it is free of charge then I would take all the help I could get! Perseverance is key in this recession.

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