Three years ago, my business and part of my life went to hell.
I was my business.
My business was me.
It was an extension of my ego, myself, my purpose in life.
It took about one year for me to figure this out, but I came to the conclusion that I needed to start over.
Literally start over.
I knew that starting over was not limited to my business. It was about how to stop what I was doing, take a breather, and with a bit of business experience, common sense, and a giant leap of faith, I entered the era of The StartOver Economy.
I defined what I did, and my accomplishments, by how successful I was and how much money I was making.
I ran a very successful boutique public relations firm serving Israeli and U.S. technology companies. With four great team members, we helped our clients define who they were, created compelling messaging, engaged with journalists, bloggers and industry analysts, and gained media and thought leadership coverage that contributed to our client’s success.
In the midst of the financial crisis in 2010, I started to notice clients cutting back or killing budgets altogether. VC (venture capital) money started to vanish. It was the lifeblood of what funded my clients, and PR was what part of their funding went to.
Eighty percent of my fee income came from Israeli tech companies. Money flowed in through wire transfers and life was good. I had fun, lived well, provided for our family, and luckily, saved and saved for a rainy day that I never thought would happen.
The financial crisis aside, I started to see myself competing against other service providers on the other side of the world in Israel, often claiming to do what we could do (and in some cases they actually could) for sixty to eighty percent less than what we would do.
Most of the companies we represented were disruptors, or creators of new paradigms in doing business. It was ironic that the industries that I was involved with, and the markets we helped disrupt, wound up disrupting my business. It was the perfect storm that forced me to completely and totally re-examine what I was doing, how I approached my life, and set me on a course to being part of what Chris Brogan helped me define as being The StartOver Economy.
I Was Not Alone
I started speaking and connecting with other professional service providers who did what I did or something related to our field in the world of marketing, advertising and other areas of consulting and advisory services. They were going through the same thing.
Clients were scaling back. Budgets were being reduced, delayed, or altogether cut.
At the other end of the spectrum, I had friends who had experienced a successful exit (meaning their companies had been acquired or their acquired stock was vested), which presented other life options. In the middle, I was meeting people who were in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who wanted to reinvent, restart, and, well—StartOver.
There was something going on here, but I was not quite sure what it was. I kept running into, and connected with people in transition either by choice or through being downsized.
The StartOver Economy is not aimed at twenty-somethings just getting going in their post-education life. There’s a universe of millions of us from ages 40 to 70, who have saved or invested, are not in panic mode to survive, and had some runway to get through all of this.
As I started to meet and connect with other people who were going through this, I discovered something interesting about the human condition: just when you think you have figured everything out in life, you really haven’t.
Sure, I was more “mature,” (for whatever that’s worth), but it was still a humbling experience. While I did not panic, I did have to come to grips with putting things on hold, cutting back—way back—on spending and consumption, and rethinking a lot of values in my life.
What the StartOver Economy Means Today
Things, and more specifically business, have improved. Not where I want it to be yet, but some of this is by choice. And it’s the choice part that I want to focus on in my contribution to Owner Magazine.
If you prepare for, and deal with, these unexpected rainy days (or in this case a storm of almost four years of rain, hail, wind, thunder, and lightning) you can weather these storms and discover what has become the dawn of this new rainbow.
That’s what I’ll be covering here.
I welcome your stories, and your contributions if you’ve experienced something similar.
For those of us in this phase of our lives, welcome to… The StartOver Economy.