Growing my Business in A Recession
In 2009 the U.S. housing industry collapsed, with the market shrinking literally overnight. I asked myself two pivotal questions: 
1) Did my company's revenues need to shrink indefinitely by 50% to reflect the reduced market?
2) What could I do that would take less than $1,000. that could grow my business while the industry shrunk?
Both of these questions led me to write a local book that I self-published on Create Space titled "Successfully Landscaping Your Marin Home." 
Here were my thoughts:

  • I had plenty of time on my hands with no work so it was the perfect time to write a book.
  • The College of Marin had turned down my teaching proposal because I had no formal certificate to prove my twenty effective years as a designer and installer. I thought they would like an author.
  • Many of my clients ask the same question over and over again and I would love to give them a book.
  • A book takes a one-time effort of about three months (that's how long this took to write and publish) but has benefit over the next twenty years.
  • A book would help all of my clients but also help the community at large if I made it as valuable as I could possibly make it.
  • People like do-it-yourself projects in a stressed economy, and a percentage of the people who read my book would likely hire me.
  • I hate client conflict and the best way to avoid that would be to invite clients to read my book prior to working with me so they knew what to expect.
  • By going from being an average national book to the best and only local book, I made it noteworthy for all libraries to own and it was featured by local media extensively.
  • The result is that the book brought in an average of $100k of direct contracting business per year, helping my business (which I keep deliberately small) to grow in the recession. It also led the College of Marin to invite me to teach. My first class on Design 80% of the students hired me for another $80k in work, thus making the book the most profitable community service and advertising project I got paid to participate in.