Famed educator and Black business proponent Booker T. Washington once said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” Being cash-strapped is definitely an obstacle.
During these troubled times, business owners and other career minded people may be asking themselves how they can move forward when money is in short supply. The good news is that there are ways around this particular roadblock. Below are ideas you can use right now to improve your professional and personal lives—without spending a dime.
Get Organized—Perhaps when clients and sales were abundant, you barely had time to take a breath let alone organize your workspace. Take advantage of the current lull to get your life in order. While clearing clutter takes some discipline and hard work, it doesn’t cost a thing. In fact being organized can add to your bottom line. CNBC recently reported on a study by Brother International – provider of home office products – which found that lost items around the office or on the computer cost American companies $177 billion a year.
Get Online—Most public libraries offer free access to the Internet, so having limited funds is no reason not to be online. While you’re at the library, be sure to borrow a copy of Brad Schepp’s How to Find a Job on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Other Social Networks. Even if you’re not looking for a job at this moment, it’s good to know that Facebook has other practical uses besides playing the popular FarmVille and other games.
Get Out and About— If things are not going well for you financially, you may want to go into hiding. Fight the urge to isolate yourself and instead reach out to old friends and former colleagues. According to George C. Fraser writing in Click: Ten Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships, now is the perfect time to connect or in some cases to reconnect with others. Quoting Dean Ornish, Fraser writes “Connections with other people affect not only the quality of our lives, but also our survival.” A good way to get involved in your community is through volunteering. These connections will not only improve your life, but may also lead to professional opportunities later on down the road.
Get a Hobby –Isn’t there something you always wanted to learn or improve upon, but you just never had the time? Is it cooking, knitting, or perfecting your jump shot? Many community centers, city parks, libraries and other organizations offer free or low cost activities that cover a variety of interest areas. Check them out. Make sure you continue your hobby when the economy rebounds. Experts agree that having a hobby is one of the best stress busters there is.
Get a Vision—Motivational speaker and author Les Brown says that our present circumstances do not define whom we are. If your business is struggling or you’re unemployed, try to spend only a limited amount of time dwelling on your predicament. Instead, focus the lion share of your energy thinking about where you want to be in say two or three years. Imagine that you are already there.
You can also set some short term goals that do not involve money. Engage in activities like freshening up your resume or perhaps you could learn how to incorporate your small business yourself. These successes will boost your confidence so that when the economy rebounds, you’ll be ready to bounce back better than ever.