When the Economy Forces You to Shift Gears

Hard economic times force even the savviest business owner to reconsider whether he or she is in the right field. When unemployment reaches record levels, people aren’t buying luxury items. Or real estate. Or organic foods. So what do you do when the business you’ve been developing falls flat in financially frustrating times?

shifting gear

Do what Chris Luna did: Switch gears. Luna was in real estate finance when things got bad, and decided to go back to school. In the meantime, he needed work. After scratching 9-to-5 work, modeling and physical labor off of his list of possibilities, he turned to his experiences. He had a lot of experience in dating, so he thought, Why not start a dating coach service?

“I had started off shy and awkward with women and learned not to be.  For men beginning that same journey, what I had learned had economic value, assuming I could communicate these lessons in a way that allowed them to be more successful. I thought that I could.”

He formed Craft of Charisma, and began offering dating and relationship coaching services in New York City.

Look Before You Dive

Luna tested out Google AdWords campaigns to see if there was a demand for dating coach services in New York City. This cost him a minimal amount, compared to what it would have cost to launch full-on into business without really knowing if the market was there. In a recession, none of us can afford to dive without looking.

Fred Vallaeys, Google AdWords Evangelist, says that online advertising can be an affordable way to dip your toes into a business idea without a time and money investment that you can’t afford. His advice:

  • Know your website numbers
  • Drive traffic
  • Monitor your brand online
  • Engage with consumers online
  • Be an expert
  • Improve your website design

Luna stresses the importance of entrepreneurs asking themselves questions before jumping into a new business or field: “Think about your next entrepreneurship venture in terms of solving a series of problems.”

He says you have to ask yourself why you want to change fields. The answer should be strong enough to motivate you when you encounter challenges (and you will). Once you’re sure making a change is right for you, ask yourself:

  • What will I sell?
  • Who will I sell it to?
  • How will I reach them?

And look to affordable resources, such as online advertising and social media, as a way to do research to find out if there’s a market for your new business idea.

Image from tommistock/Shutterstock


Susan Payton Susan Payton is the Communications Manager for the Small Business Trends Awards programs. She is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, an Internet marketing firm specializing in content marketing, social media management and press releases. She is also the Founder of How to Create a Press Release, a free resource for business owners who want to generate their own PR.

2 Reactions
  1. AdWords can be a great market research tool, but use caution. Google is a master at spending your money. You need to make sure you’ve taken care of the conversion aspect of your site so that you are capturing value from your PPC investment. Otherwise you’ll spend a lot of money, give up and miss an opportunity.

  2. Lionel Bachmann @ Model Trains

    Nice post. It’s very important to do your homework and market research before jumping into a business adventure. One things I would like to point out is that Chris started a business for New York dating, which means he had to find if there was a market for dating in New York, not just dating in general. General dating could be in demand nationwide, but it wouldn’t be good if he started a business off nationwide research only to find no one in New York needs his services.