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Ultimate Guide to Recession Proof Business

With help from Chris Schelzi at AppSumo and Justin Jackson 🙂

This is a scary time for contractors and small businesses as many companies are looking to cut costs. In times of economic uncertainty, contractors are often the first to go.

But, this ALSO means it’s a GREAT time to be a freelancer as MANY companies are looking to cut costs and innovative solutions.

Based on AppSumo and our customer base, here are immediate things to do as a freelancer or small business.



#1 — Defense. Lock up your finances and ALL costs ASAP. 

  • Here’s a rent reduction letter you can use.
  • Total credit card bill review. Look at what you can cut, reduce or find alternatives.
  • Look over all subscriptions and see if you can change them to LTD (lifetime deal) via AppSumo.
  • Message all the subscriptions you have asking for 50% off.
    • This is literally what I emailed one company:

Hey [first name],

Can you please cancel our subscription? Confirm when it will happen.

If you can do $X / month then we can keep it otherwise we can’t afford. Could evaluate in 12 months going back to $X.

Hope you understand,


#2 — Stash your cash.

  • Yes, government subsidies may come but we want you recession proof.
  • You need at least 12-24 months of living in the bank.
  • Personally I use Chase since it’s large and likely stable..
  • Reduce your COST OF living. Move from NYC to Chattanooga, and save $2-3K per month on rent. Also, consider sharing a room or moving back home with parents. No joke, I lived with my family the first 3 years out of college.
  • Grab money from clients or anyone who owes it to you NOW.
  • Check out Neville at for templates to use.
  • If you live outside of the USA, take advantage of currency fluctuations. Example: convert $10,000 USD to $14,000 CAD. (Maybe you should move to Canada?)

#3 — Offer your existing customers something NEW. 

  • If you’ve been doing FB ads, offer doing ads on other platforms.
  • Start offering affiliate / referral marketing.
  • Do a copywriting review of their entire site.
  • Help take new photos / pictures of their products.
  • Offer A/B testing against titles, prices and more.
  • Email marketing or setting up their autoresponder.
  • Write an article and promotion around Covid.
  • Help them go online with events or transfer offline business to ecommerce platform
  • Tell clients who haven’t advertised that now’s the time to start: “Now’s a great time to book ads on YouTube – everyone’s watching, and CPMs are low!”
  • Guerrilla marketing: offer to package up their best blog posts, and publish it as a book to Amazon. (Justin Jackson: “All my books are selling more copies right now.”)

#4 —  Help companies go online. ⭐

  • Retail shops, salons, and restaurants all need to get online now. They could easily waste a ton of time and money. You can help them navigate the process and save $$$. (Justin: “I helped a skate shop yesterday, and he bought me a dozen donuts.”)
  • Do you know how to publish a static website to Netlify and get clients free hosting? Sell that benefit to your clients! “Instead of paying $29 / month for hosting forever, pay me $500 one-time to deploy it to Netlify.”
  • Help traditional brick and mortar stores diversify. Justin’s favorite pastry shop published a cookbook in the last downturn. It became a bestseller and gave them a new income stream.
  • Sell simplicity. Get a pro account, and build one-page websites for companies for $500 each (all they need to pay for is a domain name).
  • Try Plutio – Great low cost tools for freelancers to set up and manage their business, clients and projects.
  • I would use a combination of FindThatLead + Rebump for cold outreach of businesses that could use your services to transition online.
  • Go re-sell tools from AppSumo. There’s surprisingly a LOT of agency customers who buy the tools and then resell them to their clients. AppSumo also has a partner program where you can get paid for referring people to buy tools too.
  • Start a review site for all the tools you are using or recommending. Can do this on any platform.
  • Tools to help you: Vectera is free to use right now until July so you can schedule video calls with potential clients. The co-browsing feature is a great way to show or teach how to use tools you set up for their online transition.
  • Bonus: Use Oviond to create proposals and close business!

#5 — Document your SKILLS on Teachable, Skillshare, YouTube.

  • More than ever people will be going online and learning the new future work.
  • People are thrashing: give them quick wins. Instead of writing a 60,000 word book, write a 20,000 word guide.

#6 — Help one person for free.

  • This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a way to get your confidence up.
  • Popular blogs are often missing their “social sharing” image. Offer to generate images for their most popular posts.
  • If there is a person or company you want to work with, offer to do a very specific, high value task for free, for a limited time.
    • This is an incredible way to get your foot in the door with people or companies you may otherwise never be able to reach.
    • Remember: Now is a time of great transitions. People are more open and available now than ever before in the recent past. There are more people to help now than ever before. You need to take action immediately.
    • Email Script from Remote Work Academy that works:

Hey [Name],

First off, I hope you and your family/friends are all safe and well.

Forgive my clumsy transition (this is a strange time) but I’m reaching out about [service].

You’ve been a huge inspiration of mine for a long time [specific thing you like] and I’d love to work on this to [result].

I’ve done this before for XYZ [specific references] and would be happy to do this at no cost.

Is this something you’d be interested in?



P.S. Like I said, I’m a big fan so lmk what would make this a no-brainer for you 🙂 

#7 — Learn something new.

  • Go learn a new software program, new coding language or how to do something specific like make new audio social images. This is a great way to improve your knowledge and make you more valuable.
  • Personally I’ve been learning OBS to make more interesting videos and also chess to keep my mind sharp.

#8 — Sell your PAST customers something new.

  • Remember that client you built a website for 5 years ago? Now, they need help with SEO. It’s time to dust off those old invoices, and treat them like leads.

#9 — Offer companies a way to reduce their costs with freelancers.

  • If they have a full-time staff they’ll likely be open to reducing fees or moving to more flexible payments for certain positions.
  • A lot of people complain about this one since they don’t want to “trade their time for money” but REALIZE once you get the client no one says YOU have to do the work.

#10 — Get an unfair advantage. Be priceless. 

  • Everyone is rushing to Fiverr / Upwork and freelance gigs. Don’t fall into the same crowd.
  • Find places and things to work on that HELP make money or significantly reduce costs.
  • Apply to work with companies that are doing WELL in the downturn: membership platforms, eLearning platforms, etc. (Justin: “I know a company that helps colleges put traditional courses online. They can’t keep up with demand right now.”)

#11 — Connect your customers or your future customers. 

  • More than ever companies can partner or cross-promote. You can make a business out of doing this.
  • Also this will make you more valuable if YOU are the hub.

This recession and pandemic will eventually end. The question you have to ask yourself,  “Where do I want to be when it does end?” Now is an incredible time of opportunity.

If you can see past the fear and uncertainty, you’ll see that now is a rare moment in time when your actions will have an asymmetrical impact on the rest of your future.

What you do TODAY will have a far bigger impact than what you do a year from now.

If you can make yourself recession proof and successful now you will be SO much better when this is through.

Good luck. Go take action and be #recessionproof.


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4 responses to “Ultimate Guide to Recession Proof Business”

Karin D'Amico
April 17, 2020 at 4:46 pm

You are a breath of fresh air, from a person that has been a student in the personal growth space for 40 years

April 10, 2020 at 9:49 pm

LOVED LOVED LOVED this video. This is you at your best! So passionate about helping others and it shows. Super video with insane value and key takeaways. I’m watching this again. many thanks for all the amazing work that you are doing! xxx

April 10, 2020 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for the good tips- I reached out to and they offered me a “100% discount” for my next payment.

Eric Sangerma
April 9, 2020 at 9:19 am

Great tips here Noah, thanks for sharing. Now is the perfect time to reinvent ourselves and our businesses. Let’s not wallow in self-pity and actually prepare for the future!

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