The Meantime: Three Steps to Getting Out of Financial Crisis

Brick-Wall1I’m in the midst of creating a new product and program that I’m really excited to share with you.

It could be for our if you find yourself in a very tight spot financially where you need money urgently and have no idea how to make that happen.

But let me back up.

There’s a certain time that all of us, at some point or another in our business lives, come to experience. I call it The Meantime.

It’s a moment where you feel like you’re headed directly for a brick wall.

And, as I heard Brian Tracey say once, ‘Life is full of problems. In life you’re either recovering from a problem, in the midst of one now, or one is coming. But, every once in a while, life gives you a reprieve from your problems. It’s called a crisis.’

And this is The Meantime. The time of crisis.

In business, I define The Meantime as that time when you are in a financial crisis where you need money urgently and, even though you have faith in things to work out in the long term, even though you believe in the strategies and business plan you’ve put together to be sustainable in the future, you aren’t there yet and you ask yourself, ‘What do I do in the meantime?’

But I call it The Meantime for another reason too.

It feels mean and vicious when you’re in the midst of it. It is an unforgiving time where you seem to have to hustle harder than you ever have before. There often seems to be no way to bring in the kind of money you need as quickly as you need it. It can be a time in incredible stress and anxiety. The Meantime is like finding yourself in the midst of a deep winter without enough supplies to make it through and a sense of dread creeps over you, ‘What am I going to do?’

And, from time to time over the years, people who have been deep in the midst of The Meantime have come to me desperate for help. They are desperate for some magic bullet that is going to make everything okay.

They have a workshop that only two people have signed up for and it’s happening in two weeks. ‘How do I fill it?’ they ask, insistent that there must be an answer.

They have quit their job to start the life coaching business of their dreams but now rent is due, they’re deep in debt and, if things don’t turn around quickly they’re going to have to go back to a job they hate. 

Or they come to me in a panic and ask me to help them figure out their niche right away. I used to dive in and try to help them out. But, niching requires space. There’s something about being trapped in the fear of not getting what we want or losing what we have that seems to shut down the process of niching.

What’s not helpful in The Meantime is theory. What is required is anything actionable that you can do right away.

So my response these days is that there are three steps to dealing with a cash crunch like this. And that they must be gone through in order if you are to survive.

Three Steps of Getting Out of The Meantime

Step One: Create Space

The absolutely most important thing you can do is to figure out how you can create more space in their life so that it’s not such an urgent issue. 

And that space does just happen.

That feeling of no extra money or space? This is The Meantime.

For years, I found myself unsure of what to say because, of course, there are no real magic bullets in The Meantime. Building a thriving and sustainable business takes a lot of thought and care and the one thing that we feel an absolute lack on in The Meantime which is… time. 

To make matters worse, one can get into a spiral of crisis if one handles The Meantime poorly. People start having sales, offering things for free, creating new products every month which eventually exhaust both their bank accounts and their energies.

The real solution to making it through The Meantime is to do whatever it takes to create more space in your life while building a more solid foundation in the future. As the old saying goes, ‘Dig your well before you’re thirsty.’ But, in The Meantime, it is too late for this. We are parched and the ground is unbroken.

This means: tidy your home, get organized, get out of every commitment you can possibly get out of. All those social engagements you’re not 100% jazzed about? Gone. Can you reduce your expenses? Do it. Go for a long walk with a friend to let yourself vent about how stressed you are so you can get it off your chest. 

This takes massive action to clear the decks. But, once you have, you may be amazed at the incredible wave of blessed relief you feel. 

The mistake is to, while feeling totally disorganized, cluttered, and overwhelmed, try to jump into money making tactics directly. This will only add to your overwhelm and usually ends badly.

Step Two: The Short Term Fix

When clients came to me in the midst of their crisis, what they didn’t want to hear were my inspiring thoughts on slow marketing and how ‘these things just take time’. Even if it’s true that strategy is more powerful than tactics, it doesn’t matter when you’re in the midst of needing to make a lot of money fast. Then you need the fast marketing approach.

Thankfully, while they aren’t long term magic bullets and they still require work, there are many fast marketing business tactics that are virtually guaranteed to bring in income and clients quickly. They aren’t the long term fix but in The Meantime, they are just what the doctor ordered. 

If you over rely on them and never really hone your platform, develop a strong sales funnel or marketing strategy you can end up in a perpetual state of crisis (which I’ve seen many times).

Again, do Step One before working on these.

What are these tactics? There are more than we can go into in this blog in depth, but they are things like: offering existing products to your list, doing talks and offering a free consultation to people who might be a fit (and offering those who take you up on the consultation a higher end coaching package), hosting what are known as VIP days for your clients, running a pay what you can workshop, offering people 30 minutes of massage for free (and then offering them an affordable upgrade to 60 or 90 minutes when they call to book). There’s identifying the core risks people perceive in doing business with you and working out ways to eliminate them (this can massively boost the response to your offers). There are many more. But they all work.

Step Three: The Long Term Fix

In step three, once things are in motion to bring in some income, you want to start thinking more strategically about your business and investing some time and money there. In Step Three we want to look at how we even got to be in The Meantime in the first place and make sure we never have to go back there (though, realistically, it won’t be the time you are visited by it). 

The secret here is to use the space and momentum afforded to you by steps one and two to investing more deeply here. Investing in the short term fix gets you maybe ten units of reward for every unit of effort. In the beginning, but then the returns rapidly begin to diminish. However, investing in the long term fix is the opposite. At first you put in ten units of effort and get only one unit of reward but, in time, it flips and your one unit of effort yields ten units of reward. This is the importance and beauty of a good strategy.

If you’re deep in the midst of The Meantime, there’s no shame. If anything, it’s a badge of honour and a moment of initiation into the exciting and, sometimes, terrifying life of being an entrepreneur. To paraphrase the old TV show Fame, ‘You want freedom? Well, freedom costs. And right here is where you start paying.’

I’ll be launching a new product called The Meantime and a 30 Day Challenge (four calls over a month) to help you work through these three steps. If you resonate with what you’ve read and you’d like to be amongst the first to know when it launches, just click on the button below and enter your email.

 

About Tad

  • Love step 1. Something very often overlooked, but work for me every time I get into a contracted space, including Meantime.

  • Thanks for sharing and being so open and transparent about what we go through as entrepreneurs. I love all three steps and definitely agree with Ling; I tend to try and “push” through it when I should be taking time to step back, breath and make some space to be more creative. For me The Meantime has changed as well now that I have two little boys. But there’s a balance from the incredible support that I get from my wife.

    Thanks again!
    Tom

  • Katrina Matos

    Love your description of step 3, and the entrepreneurial life. The Fame paraphrase just made my day! :-)

  • lisamanyon

    Tom,
    So great to see you here! Stepping back is so imperative on the entrepreneurial journey. I too, love Tad’s take on this and his explanation of “meantime”. We’ve all been there. :)
    Write on!~
    Lisa

  • Lis Larsen

    Perfectly timed, thank you Tad!