Recessions are the Best Times for Business

I’m no economist, but I believe there has never been a better time to start your online business. The economy is down, job security is iffy, companies are downsizing and everyone is hoarding money in case the situation gets worse.

It’s great, really. This is the perfect time to launch a business and make your dreams a reality.

“James, are you insane? How much coffee have you had today? Times are tough – terrible even! No one is buying, there’s competition all over the place and everyone’s losing money by the minute.”
Well, that’s true. Times are tough. There is competition. Some people are losing money, yes. Guess what? It’s time to take action.

Online, the opportunities are ripe for both sellers and buyers, ready for picking.

It’s the law of supply and demand at its best. Supply is high, demand is low… that actually puts the advantage is on the buyer’s side. Service providers are soon going to be dropping their prices to encourage people to their business. Everyone’s going to be working hard to entice clients to buy.
Wheeling and dealing is going to start happening all over the Internet – if it hasn’t already.

It’s a buyer’s market, yessir, but that’s also to the seller’s advantage, I say. Sure, businesses may take a cut on profits, but think of the potential – those businesses can tap into the benefit of attracting new clients who weren’t previously convinced of paying higher rates.

“I don’t want the cheapskates, James.” I can hear some of you now. “If they can’t pay…”

Well, that’s fine. The others who aren’t so proud are going to have an edge. They’ll lower their rates, attract new clients and have a great chance to prove their worth to these customers. They may earn a repeat sale, a long-term contract or a loyal client.

“You’re crazy. No one is buying, James. No one has money!” I beg to differ. People may be more cautious about spending, yes, but think a minute.

Prices are going to start dropping as providers compete with each other for clients. It was already cheap to start a business – now it’s going to get even cheaper.

Great! Not confident about job security? Preparing a plan B? Aware of an impending downsizing? I say it’s the perfect opportunity to start building that business of your own right now.
What are you waiting for? The signs are there – seize control and get busy.

Ah, but who will buy, you may be wondering? Build cheap, but will they come? I still say yes. If you have the right business for what people are searching for, then you can step in and fill demand. People are being careful with money, sure – they aren’t stopping life.

People will always have needs and wants. They will still buy. And buying is the key to turning the economy around. Now is not the time to hoard – now is the time to take control.

Here’s a thought, too. Let’s say that there is a spurt of new businesses launching online, as people seek to find more secure income streams or tap into new opportunities. What does that create? Demand for services. Providers will be needed to meet the demand.

Alright, granted, providers may not be able to get premium prices for their services, but they’ll be making money nonetheless. They’ll be working, with no loss of job.

What if we all work less? What if my predictions are wrong and that business does go south online? I know what I’ll be doing: taking advantage of the downtime to build products or services so that they’re ready to launch when the economy turns around.

I’ll be right there waiting, all ready to sell what people want and need. Your ticket to opportunity is right here – you coming with me?

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

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  1. (rolls up sleeves, picks up pen) Hey, ready to go James!

  2. RIght on. If you look back at the previous recession 2000-2003, companies that spend money buying advertising can make a killing in this market. Firms such as Expedia, Zappos, Lending Tree, Lower my Bills, Netflix, and were all able to grow to over $100 USD in revenue thanks to the ultra cheap media.

    gWallets last blog post..Football Stars makes a virtual season free-to-play

  3. Hello James.

    I totally agree…this is a good time to get new business. Although I don’t mean to sound like a scavenger but there will be many people starting out new ventures and more people will be eager to come forward just because, as you rightly said, there is more supply and less demand, and hence, expecting less-expensive bargains.

    This brings us to the topic of working more for less money — people in India are so used to it 🙂 and in fact they are made fun of this “quality”. That said personally I never used to offer lower rates just because the others were but now I think it does make sense to help entrepreneurs by charging slightly lower rates and filling the gap with working more. At least it is a lot better than having no work and no money.

    Amrit Hallan – Content Writers last blog post..How to write persuasively

  4. James,

    I agree completely. We’ve been talking about this for days at MCE, and for months off and on as my own clients have come to me with belt-tightening concerns. Small business owners saw this coming, but I believe many have gotten the wrong message from it.

    My answer is: shout when no one else is shouting. It’s a heck of a lot easier to be heard, and it poises you as the battle-hardened frontrunner for the inevitable upturn. Then when everyone else returns to shouting, you can speak more quietly, and with hard-won authority.



  5. James, I think you’re going to start something here.

    Mark Dykemans last blog post..A second look at blog directories

  6. @ Mark – As long as it’s not trouble, I should be fine.

  7. John Hoff - eVentureBiz says:

    Hi James, good article. I think there are 2 things people looking to jump into business right now might also want to think about:

    1. Pricing: Build a solid name and reputation, focus in on your strengths, and you’ll find pricing isn’t as big of an issue everyone thinks it is. (i.e. build value)

    2. Listen for what customers are meaning . . . and not just saying.

    Have a good plan and if you’re starting on a shoestring budget, start online first if you can.

    John Hoff – eVentureBizs last blog post..eVentureBiz Web Hosting Services Ad Feedback

  8. Graham Strong says:

    @Kelly – “Shout when no one else is shouting” — exactly. I was just talking to one of my clients yesterday who is considering stopping his AdWords campaign right now because “nobody is buying”. I told him hey, if you need to cut back because advertising is costing more than sales, then so be it. But look at the keywords that have traditionally done well, and keep those.

    Besides, there are bound to be MANY people in the same boat, cutting off their AdWords. And that means cheaper rates and less competition for the rest of us.


  9. Another cheer-able post! Deliver consistent value and price is rarely an issue, especially with repeat clients. Price competition works only when transacting a commodity. If you remain unique and deliver a customized service or product, your price rarely is in question. If it is, you’ve got ample ammunition to defend. Make the relationship memorable and loyalty will ensue.

    Betsys last blog post..RELIANCE

  10. Great post! It’s always good to see some optimism amongst the doom and gloom.

    Jacks last blog post..Morning Twin Shop

  11. John Haydon says:


    Great post -thanks!

    We all need to be reminded of the current opportunity to differentiate ourselves AND forge our key strengths – like a lump of coal being pressed into a diamond.

    “Then when everyone else returns to shouting, you can speak more quietly, and with hard-won authority.”

    Right on!


  12. I think too that something to consider is that those who truly do well at their craft, can show their strengths and can back them up have the perfect opportunity to benefit from that position. People won’t opt as much for hack jobs because they realize the importance of doing a good job now and won’t be so likely to waste money. Hm hm!

  13. This is COMPLETELY the best time to start a business, for all these reasons and one more:

    Tough times can give you the courage to take more (intelligent) risks.

    Dave Navarros last blog post..The Poverty Snowball: What Is Your Life Worth?

  14. The good thing about a normal recession or even depression is this: Prices of many things fall, especially capital goods (and here we can take a cue from FA Hayek as to what capital goods are – any good that is bought for the purpose of production and not final consumption – which includes advertising like Kelly and others mention) That means that fortunes are made for intelligent & aspiring entrepreneur’s who know what they’re doing.

    And it means that price cutting during downturns is the norm.

    Another bit of encouraging info is this: Even at the depths of the Great Depression, 75% of people still had jobs. In the worst case, you’re better off being an entrepreneur serving that 75% than one of the unemployable 25%.

    Thanks for the encouraging post.

    Jeremys last blog post..The Forrest Gump Guide To Becoming an Investing Genius

  15. James,

    I completely agree with this. I get so tired of hearing “the sky is falling.” If it’s falling, the people around here must be oblivious, because they are still driving around, going out to eat, and all the other normal things people do when the economy is fine. Heck, I’m not even seeing fewer SUVs on the roads.

    The key thing is to educate yourself before you start and have a strong plan as you move forward. I’m doing this. It’s not ‘get rich quick’ (what is?), but it is working. And I love it.

    Marys last blog post..Affirmations and Poverty

  16. @ Mary – I’ve never been one to buy into the “Woe is me” mindset, so I’m with you on that. The sky isn’t falling, life goes on, and the more people behave normally and stop hoarding in fear, the better the economy will be. Spend people, spend!!

  17. James, excellent points. Rather than lose our heads, we only need look at history to realize that those who saw the downturn as an opportunity (to offer something needed, to pick up the best talent while others were laying off, to stand out with your marketing) not only survived but thrived.

  18. You know, I’ve actually had a surge in business since the financial gloom and doom started. I think people are investing more in their businesses and looking for more creative ways to attract customers. Since that’s what content writers do, business is thriving.

    Jamies last blog post..For Sale: Ran Great Yesterday

  19. Karen’s right, this is definitely a freelancer’s market. Big businesses are laying people off right and left (and Thanksgiving seems to be the time of year everyone gets lined up for the chopping block), they can’t support full time employees with full benefits, but the business still has to continue.

    I’ve seen a lot of major businesses turn to temp agencies and freelancers to work on projects. It’s much easier and cheaper to hire from the outside and keep the freelancer on to get the job done rather than keep full time employees on when the work does slow down.

  20. Thoughtful, thought-provoking, and timely post, James.

    To your point here:

    “The economy is down, job security is iffy, companies are downsizing and everyone is hoarding money in case the situation gets worse,”

    I’ve been thinking about that lately. There may be much more opportunity as a freelancer in these conditions than in seeking full-time positions–freelance for lots of companies rather than jump through tons of hoops to hopefully work full-time for one.

    Good post. Keep’em coming.

  21. I couldn’t agree with you more. There were quite a few people who made their fortunes during the Great Depression. There is always opportunity for those who are willing to look for it, then work hard to mine their circumstance.

  22. It’s remarkable, and heartening, how many “recessions are actually an opportunity” posts I am reading around the blogiverse. Good, that’s the spirit!

    Seamus Anthonys last blog post..The Subtle Art of Getting Jack-Shit Done

  23. For real James…I’ve noticed MORE work than ever before over the past two months. I believe it’s based on two factors:

    1) Business owners realize they need to market themselves effectively to stay afloat, so they turn to a copywriter…
    2) Businesses are short on cash, so they’d rather hire a freelance writer on contract than to have a writer on staff being paid for 8 hours each day.

    There are probably many other factors I haven’t thought about…but life is good.

  24. I agree with you on that one, Chad. It also presents copywriters like us the challenge of how we can provide better value to our clients during these tough times.

    Thanks for pointing this idea out James!

    Cedrics last blog post..Why Now is the Best Time to be a Freelancer or to Start a Business

  25. Thank you for keeping a positive light on the tough times. It’s so tiring and depressing to constantly read about the doom, the gloom and the pain of the hard times. Especially in real estate – which is the space where I spend most of my time playing in. If I read about another horrible foreclosure happening to a family, or about another pet without a home because of the foreclosure… well… I am not sure if I will scream or burst into tears. This was refreshing, and I believe, very true.

  26. As a creative writer, I’m not seeing anything worth a panic. But we short story writers and poets are used to being poor, eh? LOL

    I see the vagaries of today’s economy as a correction and an opportunity all at once. Great fodder for writers.

    TKSellmans last blog post..RE: ephemera from the writing life

  27. First of all, I’ve seriously considered writing for chocolate before (just on really, really bad days) so I love the pic. 🙂

    Absolutely, I’m coming with you!


    Michele L. Tunes last blog post..Pulling the Reins: On Myself?

  28. I completely agree. I started focusing more attention on affiliate marketing. More and more people are looking for ways to earn extra cash and work from home. I’m taking advantage of this open door, and hopefully, make some extra cash in return.

    Valencias last blog post..Is It Too Much to Ask for a Little Notice?

  29. fluentworks co. says:

    Alright James,

    This was some good motivational reading.
    You know, I recently came across this saying’ that – the ability can get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there. – Therefore if we engage in our capabilities now we will in turn help ourselves adjust to the new character, a stronger, more ready character.

    FluentWorks Co.

  30. Bad econimc times have always been fertile ground for new ideas, now opportunities, growth and more profits-IF you have the guts to take a chance. But then if you own your own business you already have that.

  31. @ Hidden – Please don’t tell me your mom named you Hidden Spy. Because with a last name like Camera, that would really suck. I mean, you’d get teased at school and stuff! Scarred for life! (Probably why there’s no pic displaying with your comment.)

    I knew another guy whose mom named him Really Cool Wallpapers. Sad. Moms like that suck. I’m glad mine named me James. Could’ve been Hot Smokin’ Copywriter. You know?

    On to the comment! (Which had more thought than the name used in the comment form…) You’re absolutely right that tough times means creativity rules. There are a few great inventions that came about during war times, the Great Depression and more. Opportunity is still there, for those who take it!

  32. Barbara Saunders says:

    Once a freelancer breaks free from the time-for-money basis for pricing, the opportunities increase.

    I don’t think the key is dropping fees from $100 per hour to $50 per hour; it’s solving the puzzle of packaging what clients want in a less expensive bundle that also takes less work to deliver.


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