Today I’m starting us off with a question: Why should you stay calm even though the news is scary? The economy seems to be on the brink and we’re all tired of the uncertainty. It’s Tara Newman, and this is The Bold Money Revolution Podcast. I’m excited to be here with you today, sharing why I’m not worried about the economy and why I think you might want to consider not worrying either.
I want to welcome new listeners and a hearty welcome back to the very dedicated community of small business owners who tune in here each week. We really value your time, your attention, your reviews, and your shares of this podcast. If you are new to this podcast, I am a business growth strategist for small business owners, and my vision is to make running a small business feel like play and to support you in down-regulating your nervous system when it comes to making money.
I’m here to help you navigate and normalize what business ownership actually means, not the bullshit you see on the internet, or in the latest Hulu documentary on tech bros gone wild. I eschew startup culture, online business culture, and any hustle grind culture that glorifies hyper-aggressive growth at all costs. I am an expert in organizational psychology, and the Profit First methodology, and I am a huge money and economics nerd, but I always say I’m not an economist.
This episode is like a recalibration.
I think we need to just take a breath, take a beat, recalibrate, check-in. It’s a prerequisite for future episodes because we may be talking about things that you find activating. We will be talking about the realities of being a small business owner in our current economic climate. I know there are a number of things that I talk about on this podcast that some of you find super activating.
A couple of episodes ago, I was interviewing a client of mine, Michelle Tubman, and I said, “Sometimes people on the podcast message me and they say, ‘I love when you talk about money. I love when you say I love money,’” and Michelle was like, “Oh, I don’t like when you do that. That doesn’t feel good to me.” I completely understand that talking about money, that talking about sales and selling, talking about the economy might rile some folks, so I really want to come in here and share my perspective because I am 100% grounded around this topic.
The one thing that I know for myself is that when I am looking to learn things, when I am consuming important conversations or information about things that I find activating, it is always really helpful for me to listen to somebody who is very grounded on the topic, and so I really want to share with you why I’m grounded, why the heck I’m so calm. I want to start off with what’s good in the economy right now. What’s actually positive? Because it’s very easy to read these news headlines that are really hyperbolic and get ourselves all worked up.
As a matter of fact, the other day, I was reading an article, not about the economy, about something else, and the title was like, “Really?” I was like, “Wow.” I clicked on it. Clickbait. I clicked on it and then in the article itself, it refuted the actual title of the article. I was like, “Wow, I think we’ve devolved to a whole new level of hell here.” It didn’t feel like news. It felt like, I’m going to say content. I think there’s a difference between content, maybe—just thinking out loud here—and news.
I can see you want somebody to read your content so you put a title on it that’s super flashy and clickable, but I don’t think that’s the path journalism should be taking. But that is just my personal opinion. Agree, don’t agree, totally up to you. But I am very present to the headlines that are out there, and how that’s impacting us as business owners and what we think and what we see.
I want to take a second and focus on some of the good things that I’ve seen.
I don’t read typical news outlets when I’m reading about money and the economy. Just so you know where I get my information from, I read a lot of McKinsey, a lot of McKinsey’s output and their content and their research. I read a lot of research from Deloitte & Touche.
I read Barron’s, Kiplinger’s, CNBC sometimes, and I’m also following influencers—which seems weird in the economic space that there are economic influencers, that just feels strange, but there are—and there’s a pretty good podcast called Ones and Tooze by Adam Tooze. NerdWallet puts out a great podcast and there are definitely some other ones that I feel have a real grounded, fair, and balanced approach to talking about what is happening in the news around money in the economy.
That being said, there was a McKinsey article that came across my feed, Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, for April 2022. It was published on May 9th, and the quote here is “Amidst high inflation and the continuing war in Ukraine, strong demand persists; forecasting institutions trim growth estimates.” Strong demand persists. That’s good, and growth is still there, they’ve just trimmed the estimates.
Now, what is happening in our global economy is incredibly complex and complicated right now. There are so many different facets that are impacting our global economy. That’s why I don’t want to get into the weeds of those things. I want to just simply acknowledge that this is a beast. This is a beast of a topic right now. There was an article from Deloitte & Touche, “State of the US consumer: May 2022.” It has a subtitle: “Short-term signals flash concern, long-term optimism still intact,” and I think that’s also really good.
It goes on to say, “More Americans cite concerns about making upcoming payments, savings, and credit card debt,” as I would expect, that would be normal right now, and we’re going to talk about this more in other episodes, but they go on to say, “But optimism that personal financial situations will improve within the next three years holds steady.” This is really what I’ve been saying to business owners is that now is the time business owners are famous for putting their head down and focusing on today.
That’s why we see a lot of marketing messages around “get clients now”, the frenzy around now, today, the short term. That is not going to work from now until probably the next two years. I want everybody to pull their heads up, pull their gaze up, look at the horizon, and start to build for what you want three years from now. If you continue to operate from the day to day, you’re going to continue to get what you have today.
But if you set your sights a little longer out toward the horizon, zoom out—when in doubt, zoom out—I want you to build for that longer-term. That has been one of the main contributing factors to the success of my business over the last eight years is I don’t engage in short-term tactics. I am always building for the longer term, long-term revenue growth, not short-term cash.
Now, sometimes we absolutely do need short-term cash. But I find that if you build and you create a skill set around long-term revenue, you don’t have to worry as much about short-term cash. Stop focusing on the day-to-day, lift your eyes up, and check out the horizon. Let’s start focusing three years ahead. They did have a graph in this article that I thought was really interesting. The graph was titled “Consumer spending grew 0.2% in March, driven by a rise in services spending, which is now above pre-pandemic levels.”
Why this grabbed my attention is because I am a service-based business and I work with service-based businesses. The spending on services, not necessarily goods, is increasing. When I look at, and I’m going to say, “Hey, check in with where you’re spending your money, both in your business and in your personal life,” when I look at that for myself, it’s predominantly services. I’ve mentioned these services on this podcast before and how I see that as a part of my role in creating a small business economy. That really piqued my interest and I felt really optimistic about that.
A couple of other good things is we have more data today than ever before, which, I get, can be a bad thing, but I’m going to choose to see that as a good thing. There’s awareness, there’s a level of understanding. Sure, there’s a lot to sift through as I was saying. Everybody’s got an opinion that can be unhelpful at times. But that’s not really what I’m talking about, I’m talking about the data collection.
I’m noticing for myself, and while I’m out and about pre-pandemic behavior is starting to come back where I’m starting to see more people in stores and going to restaurants and I am feeling a little pre-pandemic-y, which is really feeling good. It’s giving me a little bit of an exhale with that. I think that’s also a really good thing.
Here’s why I’m calm, personally, this is me. I’m a history buff and I’m a money nerd. When I combine those things, I do a lot of deep-diving into the history of money, into the Great Depression, and into the various panics that we’ve seen in our economy over the last 100 years. Recessions, stagflation, and I have five key takeaways from all of this reading and studying that I do. I want to share them with you. You can take them for what they are, but these are my key takeaways.
Reason One I’m Not Worried About The Economy: This too shall pass.
I used to hate it when my mom said that to me as a kid, but it is true. This too shall pass.
Reason Two I’m Not Worried About The Economy: Humans are remarkably resilient and innovative in the face of adversity.
I am obsessed right now with reading personal accounts from the Great Depression. People are like, “Oh, that’s depressing.” I’m like, “Actually it’s not. It’s not depressing. It’s really inspiring.”
One of my favorite books, not from this time, from a different time in history, is Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, about his time, Victor Frankel’s time, in various concentration camps actually during the Holocaust. As a Jewish woman, reading about the Holocaust has always been really difficult for me as having ancestors and relatives that perished during that time in various concentration camps. I had really avoided it until I picked up this book and I was like, “Wow, this is really inspiring.”
I go back and read his words when I’m in a place of darkness, and I find that to be really uplifting. If you haven’t checked out that book, you might want to, and really that belief that humans are really remarkably resistant and innovative.
Reason Three I’m Not Worried About The Economy: Shaking things up creates change, and it creates opportunities for people.
One who probably might not have had an opportunity before and for people who are willing to lean into discomfort and uncertainty. I think that’s good. I think that’s a good thing. There was a lot of social programs that came out of the Great Depression.
There have been a lot of policies and changes that have come out of various financial crises in our country. Some have changed things for the better and that is what I’m choosing to focus on, is how can this disruption right now change things for the better and create opportunities for people who might not have had them before, and for those who are willing to lean into discomfort?
Reason Four I’m Not Worried About The Economy: The government has a pattern of experiencing a crisis and trying to improve the system.
Regardless of what you think about the government, and regardless of what you think about their trying, they do try, and I think that some of the measures that they have put in place over the last almost 100 years, certainly since the Great Depression, have been helpful, and it has helped mitigate some of what’s happened in the past.
In 1987, when the stock market crashed due to a systems technology failure, they put safeguards in place to make sure that hasn’t happened again, and it hasn’t happened again. I do think that we have guardrails and protections that will hold in the face of real uncertainty, and I think we’re going to find our weak points and I think we’re going to build different safeguards now. That’s okay, this is just a cycle of development.
Reason Five I’m Not Worried About The Economy: I see discomfort as a good thing
I think Americans have an obsession with comfort and it’s a detriment to progress on all fronts. I think we are more willing to fight for our comfort than we are to fight for the greater good—just a personal opinion—and I think that it’s a detriment to our personal, professional lives, policies, our finances, and so I see discomfort as a good thing. It’s real. It’s humbling, it’s catalyzing. I’m excited to see what innovation gets inspired when people are uncomfortable.
Aside from that, we have no control over the actions of the world. I only can control my own actions. I can only control how I show up in the face of new information, in the face of things that I can’t control. Here’s what I really want you to hear and you might need to borrow this belief. I trust myself to act accordingly, figure it out, and make the best decisions for me. I’m going to say it again because I know so many women struggle to trust themselves for one reason or another. I trust myself to act accordingly, figure it out, and make the best decisions for me. Go write that down in your journal, and go write that into existence. Go breathe that into existence for yourself.
I just want to touch base, one more thing on the things that we don’t have control over, let me give you a list. I can’t remember if this was from the Deloitte article I read or the McKinsey article that I read, but it is basically a list of potential risks to economic growth in the next 12 months. I’m going to read them in order of highest risk to lowest risk: Geopolitical instability and/or conflict, volatile energy prices, inflation, rising interest rates, change in trade policy and/or relationships, trade conflicts, increased economic volatility, the COVID 19 pandemic, financial market volatility, and asset bubbles.
I really can’t control those things. I just wanted to read those out for you so you can see what I’m talking about. There’s very little that I can do to influence the largest risk factor, which is geopolitical instability, or the second risk factor, which is volatile energy prices. The only thing I can do is when energy prices go up, and my energy costs go up, to think about how I want to be in relationship to those costs. That’s it.
Let me continue on with some of my beliefs that you might want to consider borrowing if you are worried about the economy.
I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t borrowed the beliefs of my mentors, of people that I admire, of business owners who are out there sharing and talking publicly on podcasts like I am here. Because when I hear them say things, it challenges me to check in and say, “Wow, if this is here for them, this could be here for me. What would be possible if I chose to believe this?” I want you to borrow these beliefs.
The other thing is that humans have a really terrible time at visualizing what else is possible. We tend to get very myopic and stuck in, again, what’s happening here for us now, today, and not thinking about who we could possibly become and then how do we take responsibility for that being, that person we want to become.
Here are my beliefs.
I am deadly confident that I will always make the money I need to provide for my family.
Because 365 days a year, I am building my money-making skills. I am educating myself. I am learning. I am testing. I am failing because the only way to learn is to fail. I am failing. I am making money imperfectly. I’m growing my wealth imperfectly, and I am figuring things out. I am in it every day 365.
This was the lesson that I took away from our first business, and the failure, that was our first business because we were really great at delivering, we were really great at meeting customer expectations, we would sacrifice ourselves for our customers, but we paid very little attention to the actual selling of the things that we needed to deliver. That was a weakness for us. That was an opportunity for us to do better. That’s why that is so important to me.
I’m also not too proud to do what needs to be done.
When our first business went bust and we decided to close it, my husband threw his tools in the back of his, he actually bought a trailer attached to his pickup, and he went around to everybody we knew and was like, “Who needs handyman stuff done on their house? I’m here. I’m looking to earn money. What do you need done?” He would take the small jobs, the crappy jobs, because nobody else wanted to take those.
Contractors only wanted the big jobs. He just needed money to pay the bills, so he would take whatever came his way so that we had money coming in, so we could put food on the table, so we could pay the mortgage, and buy us some time while we figured out what’s next. I’m not too proud. There are a lot of things that I do in my business that most people outsource, that they would outsource but I do them.
I have boundaries.
I have boundaries around my money. I have boundaries around my business. I have boundaries around the content I consume, what I share. I don’t speculate. I don’t speculate in my business, meaning I don’t jump on to the next fad because someone has said somewhere in a marketing message that this is the next big thing.
You will very rarely ever see me, if at all, jumping onto a fad. I do the fundamentals, the basics. I would say I’m basic bae. I do the fundamentals. I do what works. That’s it. I don’t speculate in my finances. I don’t speculate in my investments. I have personal goals that have meaning to me. I have my thrive list, which is a boundary. I don’t believe in the hype and I also don’t believe in the doomsday predictions.
I’ve learned that memories and love are things that money can’t always buy. I can create memories and traditions with my family and it costs nothing. I can create experiences that don’t cost anything. I can love up on the people in my life who are important to me, and it won’t cost me anything. There are always opportunities for me to get what I need because I have these boundaries.
I also have a clear plan.
I debrief weekly, and I’m not rigid. I am flexible and agile. I will happily take on a beginner’s mindset to admit that I was wrong and to adapt my goals and desires. Here’s the other thing. I plan for the worst. I expect the best. The best often happens. I’m convinced because I’ve planned for the worst.
I will allow myself to go down worst case scenarios and look at my darkest fears because it helps me feel prepared. It helps me see that sometimes if some of the fears that I do have are really silly, and I don’t need to worry about them, when I bypass this stuff, it keeps coming back, it gets perseverative, but when I address it, it can go away. I plan for the worst and expect the best.
I can both wonder about the possibilities and stay grounded in the realities of the here and now. In a world that only wants you to dream big, be unrealistic with your goals, because you can, or mindset or manifestation, it’s important also to stay in the present and own what is in front of you.
Time does not exist for me.
Everything I want, I will have. A longer time horizon is my very best friend. I don’t need things to happen now. I can be patient. I can wait because every day, there is evidence that I’m right on track. There’s evidence because I am relentless about finding the evidence. I am relentless about finding my wins. I have zero expectations that my life will be perfect. It hasn’t been since the day I was born.
These beliefs allow me to thrive in any environment. Do I prefer an environment of peace and prosperity? Of course, who wouldn’t? Who doesn’t? Can I thrive through a zombie apocalypse? 100% for sure. I am certain of that. I believe the same for you. I believe the same for you.
I’m going to leave you with some questions for you to consider at the end of this episode. What resonated with you from this episode? Is there a belief that I have that you would like to borrow? Pick one, pick one belief or mantra and journal on it. If you’ve been too scared to plan for the worst and avoid reality, get curious.
Ask yourself, what would it look like for me to plan for the worst? How would that feel? What could make it easier or more enjoyable to plan for the worst? Instead of saying I can’t, ask yourself, “What can I do? How can I think differently about this?” Until next time, folks. Take care.