5 Essential Recession Proof Business Ideas

business advice recession proof rescession proof business ideas visible entrepreneur Apr 03, 2023


Do you know the #1 common denominator of the 15 businesses I've talked to so far this year?


Every single person - ranging from 6-7 figures yearly - has downsized their team.

And I'm not talking about going from 10 to 5 employees/contractors. I'm talking down to 1 or 2.

That's a HUGE shift.

Remember a few years ago when every single "leader" said to grow your team + focus on your "zone of genius"? lol me too.

And yet now, those very people have drastically cut their team size.

It makes sense - most large companies like Amazon are letting 20-30% of their employees go in fear of the upcoming possibility of a recession.

A recession is, essentially, a downshift in spending. Meaning seeing companies downsizing is them anticipating less money being spent. This applies to us because, as entrepreneurs, we mainly provide opportunities for people to buy, right? A recession point to that purchasing flow decreasing over several months to several years.

For me, fear shouldn't equate into our decision.

But it does bring up a GREAT point to consider.

What are your currently outsourcing?

What is your current income-to-spend ratio?

Essentially - how are you preparing?

Seeing this as an opportunity instead of a terrifying potential failure, I think, is vital to surviving anything.

I remember when the pandemic hit, all of my biz friends full-on panicked. Overnight, they lost 75% of their revenue. I had already emailed my members {my biggest recurring revenue source} + asked if it would be helpful to cut their payment by 50% for the next 6 months.

Every single one said yes + every single person stayed.

Businesses have THRIVED in past recessions - there's no reason yours can't if you are flexible enough to make quick moves as things change!

In this blog, I'll show you some very tangible recession-proof business ideas you can implement immediately into your business to survive - if not thrive! - during an economic downturn like a recession. I'll also loop in insights from successful entrepreneurs like Dan Henry, Katya Varbanova, George Bryant, and Marie Forleo so you can learn from the best.





The most empowered feeling you can have in your businesses is knowing - in your gut and your analytics - that your brand/business is easily + quickly converting...right?

As people start tightening their purse strings, you have to assume that they will need a much stronger conviction to buy from you than they did before.

And, if you've been paying attention to me over the last year, you'll know that visuals, alone, account for up to 98% of the sale.

Even Dan Henry says, "building a strong brand is crucial for surviving a recession." He has easily scaled to multi-millions because of his brand's strength.

Customers are more likely to stick with brands they know + trust. And they're more likely to buy from someone new if they look like they have their act together.

That means bringing fresh eyes to your brand.

  • Are your visuals still strong - or do they need to be updated?
  • Is it VERY clear who you are + what you offer? 
  • Does someone know what to click on your website to become a customer within 10 seconds of hitting your page?
  • Is your website, social media channels, and checkout pages cohesive?

I personally spent the last 2 months strengthening my brand.

I went through my homepage, every funnel, every email sequence...even my product areas to make them 2 things.


My sales are already increasing because of it.

It is time well invested regardless, isn't it? No matter what, we should routinely do this to freshen our brand with what we've learned about our audience each year.

My friend George Bryant - founder of Relationships Beat Algorithms - echoes this.

"You create a connection beyond your products or services by sharing your story + your values with your audience...while using your consistent visual identity + personality across all marketing channels."

{I recently helped George with his color cohesion if you want to see how powerful this is first-hand!}

Invest this time and, if necessary, resources to get your brand buttoned up so it will truly shine above others + easily attract no matter the economic season.




No matter what time in history you're living in, relying on one product or service can be risky...even more so during a recession. For example, restaurants suffered greatly during the pandemic, but deliver-to-your-door absolutely crushed. Hair salons had to close, but stylists who moved to teaching "haircuts at home" exploded.

Pivoting is a crucial skill, but I think even more vital is diversifying your revenue streams. Meaning - build more!

Marie Forleo, the founder of B-School, says, "diversification is key to recession-proofing your business.

Look for opportunities. Opportunities for you could be offering complementary products or services that align with your brand's values + can generate additional income. Consider expanding into new markets or geographies {either online or offline}.

Let's use myself as an example.

Over the last year, I've:

  • Expanded my affiliate products. That means I recommend certain products or templates + earn an affiliate commission when someone in my audience purchases each one. Feel free to check out my affiliate funnel here.
  • Launched a secondary business. This one focuses entirely on color psychology - it has a book, a magazine + in-person services. All this brings in additional attention {color works better on TikTok for me than visibility} + flexibility. I can also connect with the local community, bring them into my office + get booths at nearby events!
  • Offered more client services. In the past, I've focused more on teaching. But the industry has pivoted in a massive way! People are tired, and they're busy. They don't want to learn as much themselves - they want to outsource it! So I've expanded my done-for-you services

Think about how you can pivot. What you can add or subtract from your offer stack.

Watch how others are morphing as well. It may give you some great ideas on how you can evolve in a way that's beneficial to you AND the people involved in your future endeavors.

Going after the opportunities that align with your business reduces your dependence on any single revenue source + increases your resilience to market fluctuations. You also allow yourself to engage in different ways that can lead to revenue on a more consistent basis! 



Remember the definition of insanity? In the same vein, we can't go into a potential recession with our heads in the sand + just hope everything will keep working.

We have to apply that to operating expenses as well. Cutting costs + increasing efficiency can be critical to your business's survival.

Look for ways to reduce your expenses without sacrificing quality

For example, make a list.

What does your business absolutely NEED to survive?

In my case, it's:

  • Kajabi - it runs all my products, emails, affiliates, etc.
  • Calendly - for all the appointments
  • GoDaddy Domains - gotta keep them, right? 

Those are the absolute, non-negotiable, keep-my-business-alive expenses.

The rest is "nice to have's." 

Like Canva, Tailwind, Zoom, etc.

I could cut those if I had to.

Now, however, we have to talk about quality.

What do you need in your business to continue the quality of operations so your leads + yourself don't suffer?

I need my social media manager/designer. She alleviates a ton of the stress from social posting + sharing.

Without her, I'd run out of ideas, struggle + suffer much more than I do now.

So, worst case scenario, what would I do if the SHTF + my revenue tanked?

Instead of just cutting her {remember, she needs work as much as I do}, I'd figure out how to keep her. It may be reducing workload. It may be an exchange of services. It may be a temporary time-specific reduction of the rate. Whatever would work best for her + myself.

The key for me would be communication, where she would have the opportunity to walk away, but she could absolutely stay if I could make it work for her.

See what I'm saying?

When it comes to a team, cutting costs is easy. But it can ultimately cost you MORE regarding lead + revenue generation. Plus, we always need to prioritize people + relationships. 

Of course, automate where you can, but do everything in your power to keep your people!

 Cutting costs might also include the following:

  • Giving up your office space + going remote
  • No more Starbucks every day { My spending one year was over $1,400! }
  • Change your social media posting software to one that's more budget-friendly
  • Stop shopping! It's amazing how much this one can sneak up on you!

Monitor your cash flow regularly to ensure you're staying within the budget + to identify areas where you can save money. 

However, with all this in mind, you must remember that cutting costs should maintain the quality of your business. Balancing the need for cutting what is not serving you while still being able to keep the quality is how your business will thrive, no matter the circumstances.


FOCUS ON CUSTOMER RETENTION {aka. keep your people happy!}

I know; it seems obvious. But I'm going to challenge you on it - because it's something I have to remember too!

Are you doing everything in your power {and within your boundaries} to keep your customers/clients happy?

There were times I honestly wasn't - I was focused on other things.

Retaining your existing customers is easier + cheaper than acquiring new ones, especially during a recession. {Remember, we want to work smarter, not harder!} 

Focus on providing exceptional customer service + creating loyalty programs that reward your most loyal customers.

According to Katya Varbanova, founder of Katya.com, "it's important to treat your existing customers like gold."

Stay in touch with your customers through email marketing + social media to keep them engaged + informed about your products and services! By focusing on customer retention, you can build a loyal customer base to help sustain your business during difficult times. 

Here are some possibilities:

  • Don't be afraid to reduce your prices. Yes, it can be an incredible decision-maker for your customer who thought of canceling but decided to stay because you made it easier for them.
  • Have a lot of high-level programs? Maybe bundle them together + offer a monthly membership price for access. Most often, finding a new way to generate income from your existing customers is the best business growth decision!
  • Coaching clients receding? What if you offered Voxer access M-F for a certain amount per month?
  • Can you get results for people fast? Maybe you can offer a VIP day?
  • Is your product amazing at getting people success? Boost your affiliate program + incentivize your customers to become your biggest ambassadors! It rewards both you + them!

These are just a few possibilities, but one's I've seen do incredible things for students + friends.

It amazes me how simple tweaks can provide tremendous results - even without bringing in a single new customer!

Focus on YOUR business, your instincts + what you can pivot {even if it's never been done before!}. Instead of seeing it as impossible, this will make you focus on how it's possible.



Sometimes, I think we entrepreneurs are crazy. We literally fail over + over + over again...yet we keep trying! It makes us incredible people who can withstand a lot of uncertainty.

We can also act when others freeze.

Have you heard of fight, flight, freeze, fawn, or flop?

I recently learned about this by studying the limbic system.

It's how we react to stress. We either fight, run, freeze, go passive, or simply pass out.

What if we trained ourselves to react differently?

I think the key is to be able to analyze whatever stress + simply countermove. No stress, no panic, no flops.

Just a small pivot.

For example, "I just got 100 unsubscribes!" PANIC!

Instead, "Hm. That cleaned things up - where can I get 100 even-more-perfect ideal clients?"

Trust me, this is a hard sell...and it's something I continue to work on every single day.

But at some point, we have to get past the instinct to self-punish + do something more productive.

Like a simple pivot!

The ability to remain flexible while the world is unstable will help you make quick decisions that will keep your business alive!

Plus, your ease in changing will attract even more ideal clients to you as they will want to handle things more like you!




Becoming a "recession-proof" company isn't overnight. It's a learned skill that takes time to cement.

The key is adjusting your mindset to adapting + making quick moves that prioritize yourself, your team + your customer.

By building a strong foundation for your brand, diversifying your revenue streams, cutting costs + increasing efficiency, focusing on customer retention, and staying flexible + agile, you can position your business for growth: even during difficult economic times. 

I can't wait to see what you shift!







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