Renovating in times of economic hardship

Abandoned houses

Even if you follow the clichéd (yet true) advice to love what you do and do it well, it’s often difficult to earn a decent living by following your passion. Whether you bake cupcakes or renovate properties — this is true of any profession. When times are tough it’s easy to stick your head in the sand and ignore the storm. However, the only true solution is to ride the waves in search of better weather.

What goes down eventually comes back up

Cycles are a natural part of life: the days, seasons, stock market, property market, and so on. Some cycles are bigger than others — winter lasts longer than a night, and a crumbling market can seem to stagnate in a long recession.

Whatever the cycle, it has ups and downs. And when it goes down, it must come back up. Yes, keeping your head above ground with a crashing property market is harder than hard, but only by looking at the bigger picture will you power through. And don’t be surprised if you need to work harder. Call in some favours, work the extra hours and make some sacrifices; whatever it takes to get your renovation projects completed.

Focus on you

When dealing with economic hardship, many people choose to blame their circumstances: “Earning money is impossible with this economy,” “There’s no way we can make a profit here, the market is tough!” and “We are hurting badly and so is everyone else…” are some things you might hear.

If that’s your attitude, it would be difficult to succeed. Blaming the market and buying into other people’s fears and limiting beliefs is a great recipe for failure. It is true market fluctuations are outside your circle of influence, but choosing to follow everyone else is not the path of the savvy entrepreneur. So focus on your own game and play to your strengths.

Dominate your niche

If times are hard, many people go wide. Instead of focusing on city apartments, for example, you could decide to take on any work — whether that’s student accommodation or unusual renovations. That may work for a while to bring in extra income, but it’s not the best tactic. Spreading yourself too thin is also not a great strategy. So focus on what you do best and dominate your niche.

You’re a specialist in high-end property renovation? Great, now become the absolute best in the country. Perfect the details, over-deliver at every turn and surprise the clients you have — even if there aren’t many at the moment. Take the time to wow the people you serve and the effort will return multiplied results. The extra time and energy you spend in going the extra mile will be repaid many times over by the boost in your reputation.

Take the time to strategise

When you aren’t making as much profit and you’re strapped for funds, it’s a great time to sit down and strategise. Take a look at every aspect of your business and ask “Could I improve this?” Are you spending enough time scouting for new properties? Is there overspending on building materials for some of your projects? How could some of the renovation processes be streamlined? How are we going to make a sale at the end of the renovation?

You may want to use any spare time on hand to learn new competencies to improve your business and prepare for the future.

Even when it feels like the market seems to be against you and the economy is impeding your efforts, the only person who can turn the disadvantages into a profit is you. Focus on what you can do, dominate your niche and know that economic hardship is a temporary state — at some point the economy will turn and you will be rewarded for your hard work and tenacity.

[Photos by kconners and DrMark]

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