“Know what your family stands for.”
If you were to lose half or more of your income in the next few months, what would you do?
I ask you this question because that’s exactly what happened to me during the Great Recession of 2008, and many financial experts are forecasting that the next recession could be right around the corner.
Today, I want to share with you the four (4) things I did in 2008 to turn my financial situation around and literally double my income (in only two months) at the height of the Great Recession, so you can be prepared to do the same.
In today’s podcast, I want to share the story of my financial journey. Then, I want to present four strategies you can use to thrive during a recession, what I’m doing now to prepare for a potential economic downturn, and how you can use these same techniques to thrive no matter what happens!
- How a listener’s critical comment inspired me to record today’s episode.
- My financial journey from painting decks at 9 years old to becoming a full-time entrepreneur.
- Why it took me many years to establish a meaningful passive income—and the experiences that taught me the value of thinking outside the box.
- Why my coaching business fell apart in the wake of the Great Recession and led me to the concepts and ideas behind the Miracle Morning.
- The ONE question I asked in 2008 that I’m asking again now.
- How optimizing your mindset, learning new strategies, asking for help, and getting creative can help you establish new sources of income, even during a major economic recession.
- “You can’t thrive if your mindset’s a mess.” – Hal Elrod
- “Learn new strategies. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Get help from people that have gone before you.” – Hal Elrod
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
Organifi makes the highest quality nutritional products, which are made from whole food ingredients (not synthetic vitamins) that I enjoy nearly every day, and have for many years. Visit Organifi.com/Hal, and use the code HAL at checkout to get 20% off of your entire order. I hope you find something there that you love! :^)
Rise by CURED Nutrition is a natural supplement made from CBD, Lions Mane and Ginseng (among others) that helps boost energy, performance and cognitive function. There’s no caffeine, no jitters and most importantly, no crash. Visit CuredNutrition.com/Hal and receive 20% off of your entire order. They have tons of other products as well, hopefully you’ll find something that works for you. :^)
- The Life Coaching Handbook by Curly Martin
- Jim Rohn
- Jon Berghoff
- David Nurse
- Jon Vroman
- Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling by Michael Port
- Multiple Streams of Coaching Income by Andrea J. Lee
CONNECT WITH US
Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod, and thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate you taking the time listening. I know you got a lot of options. And so, I don't take that lightly and I want to deliver value for you today. I want to make sure that you walk away today better off than when you started listening, better off than right now. And specifically, we're talking about four strategies to thrive in the next recession, not just survive, but to thrive in the next recession, whenever that might be. Some experts say it's upon us. Some experts say it's right around the corner. Other experts, maybe they say it's not coming. I don't know. But this is based on what I did in 2008, right? In 2008, the Great Recession kicked my ass. I lost over half of my income. The bank foreclosed on my house. I got pretty depressed and I really felt absolutely hopeless. However, I turned it around in a very short period of time by doing four things that enabled me to double my income in the midst of the recession. That's an important distinction, right? It wasn't that the recession ended and the economy was back on an upswing and I turned things around then. I turned things around while the recession was continuing to decline, to get worse.
And I'm going to share with you these four things that I did, these four strategies in the middle of the recession so that you can do the same to thrive during our next recession. Here's the flow of today's podcast. First, I'm going to read a critical comment that a listener recently posted about the podcast. So, critical as in it was critical of the podcast and of me and how that comment inspired me to record today's episode. Second thing I’m going to do is I'm going to share my financial journey with you, starting when I was a kid and culminating in how I thrived during the Great Recession of 2008 and what I'm doing now to prepare for the next recession. So, how I'm actually applying these four strategies that I'm sharing with you now, share with you what I'm doing, what I did in 2008, but then what I'm doing now to continue applying the strategies to prepare for the next recession. And then I'll share with you these four strategies that you can thrive in the next recession.
Before we dive in, I want to thank our two sponsors today. The first is CURED Nutrition. You may have caught this the last couple of episodes. This is a new sponsor. I'm a fan of their products. They are organic. They are very similar actually. Our sponsors are similar, Organifi and CURED Nutrition, they're kind of like my one-two punch, if you will. So, recently my daughter was sick and she was a few days away from having to perform a play. She's in theater. And so, I gave her Organifi’s Immunity, which is what I've always taken whenever somebody in my family is sick or if I start to get sick and it either keeps me from getting sick or it shortened the sickness time but then CURED Nutrition has this product called Aura for gut health and immunity. And so, I combined the two and my daughter was ready and she did incredible at her play.
Aura also has a product that I started using, the first product I discovered, called Rise. Rise, I take first thing in the morning and it's a nootropic that is designed to help you optimize your cognitive function. It's got Lion’s Mane for mental clarity and energy, Cordyceps for oxygen utilization, which is used by many endurance athletes, Huperzia serrata, which is known as a nootropic, and then it also has which most don't, it has CBD which aids in balancing the supplement. Many nootropics or focus supplements are overstimulating and create a crash but including CBD in this formula avoids this. And last but not least, it has ginseng which improves cognition. So, check out their whole line of products. They have products for sleep. I'm new to the product, so I'm starting to take the night caps which are for sleep, so on and so forth. Head over to CUREDNutrition.com/Hal. That is CUREDNutrition.com/Hal. You can check out their Rise product, their Aura product, their sleep supplements, and the whole array of their product line.
And then last but not least, our longtime sponsor, Organifi, also make some of the best whole food vitamins and supplements in powder form. So, I use their protein powder, their vanilla protein powder every single day in my smoothie. As I mentioned, I use their Immunity when I am feeling sick or I need a boost. I use their nighttime tea as well for relaxing in the evening. My wife, that's her favorite. So, after you check out CUREDNutrition.com/Hal, head over to Organifi.com/Hal. And again, these two products are amongst my favorite of natural, organic, holistic supplements to optimize my physical, mental, and emotional health. Again, that's CUREDNutrition.com/Hal and then the long-time sponsor, Organifi.com/Hal.
All right. Without further ado, let's dive into four strategies to thrive, not just survive, but four strategies to help you thrive in the next recession.
Hal Elrod: Hey, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, friends, family. It's good to be here with you today. I'm actually really excited about today's episode. I'm excited because I started recording today's episode. I got like 12 minutes in and I didn't have enough direction. I'm like, “I don't know where the hell I'm going with this,” and I just stopped it. I'm like, “All right, I got to do a little more preparation, a little more research.” And I've been doing that for the last hour-and-a-half, and now I'm really, really excited. Here we go because we got lots to cover today. So, this is all starting from a comment that was posted under, actually, it was a comment that was posted under a social media post that I put up the other day. I posted a video of this gal. I don't know who she is. My team found this video and it was a gal doing her morning routine. And the premise of it, of course, in alignment with the Miracle Morning she was essentially saying, "Hey, before you go to work for the day, you got to spend time working on yourself.” And then she was showing her doing her reading and meditation and affirmations, all that good stuff.
And under that video, I got this critical comment from one of our regular listeners, a member of the community. It was critical but also, well, I'll read it to you and I won't say the name of the fellow. I didn't get permission to say his name on the air today. So, I'll just read you the comment. Of course, it is a public comment. You can go read it. But here's what he said. And this is, by the way, the reason I'm reading this to you, it's kind of a critical comment and it was kind of a reality check, kind of eye-opening for me and it really just made me reflect and go, "Hmm. Is he right?” Or not just is he right but of course, he's right. He's sharing his opinion, his experience so there's no wrong or right there. But I just went, "How do I want to apply this to the podcast?” And I told him, I replied to the comment. I said, “I'm really taking this to heart. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective and I'm going to really take this to heart in future episodes.” And this was literally like three or four days ago. So, this is the first episode I’ve recorded since this comment and here we go. So, I'm going to read this to you.
He said, “I am sorry. I somehow missed that part when this girl is working, earning income, and taking care of kids/house/family/grocery shopping. Lately, I feel like all podcasts from Hal are being recorded in La La Land. I have a family to feed, bills to pay, maintain good, healthy relationships, take care of properties I own. I can go on. I just can't have a three-hour workday and shoot hoops and eat one-hour lunch and relax by the pool. I still maintain my 15 to 20-minute Miracle Morning routine in the morning, which is very vital to my life but who can actually afford all of this in-your-face, glorious lifestyle of me first? Those with passive income but there is still a lot of us who have to sweat every day. For the record, I don't complain about my life and won't be part of the own-nothing-and-be-happy idea. Just maybe once in a while let's hear some tips for people who work hard and keep the economy above water. Sorry for the rant. I just have overdosed on all these glamorous lifestyle pictures and videos.” And then he did put a happy face and a fist bump. So, I thank you. He’s in positive spirits. He was just kind of venting, it sounds like.
And so, first thing I did is I went back through our podcast episodes and went, "Are all the podcasts in La La land?” That was kind of my first question. And we just did a podcast a few episodes on how to prioritize your life, right? And not too long before that, we did an episode on Freedom from Fear. And we've done a month in December, we did four episodes on how to make 2022 your best year ever in terms of setting and achieving your goals, right? So, there's definitely a lot of episodes that have not been in La La Land and I can only guess what he meant by La La Land. I'm assuming he meant that a lot of our episodes have been about like choosing your emotional state, emotional enlightenment, being able to choose the optimal emotional state in any given set of circumstances. I'm not exactly, I'm guessing. I don't know. I didn't get to converse more with him about his comment, but I really appreciated them. And as I started preparing for today's episode, where I ended up landing was what he said is it would be just once in a while, it'd be nice to hear some tips for people who work hard and keep the economy above water.
So, I thought about that. And he also mentioned people don't all have passive income. And for me, personally, it took a long time to build passive income. In fact, today I'm going to share with you I'm going to kind of go through my history of working, if you will, and then that will be a short part just to kind of give you a history of my evolution that you can hopefully learn from and model, right? We always see people that are experiencing a certain level of success and you don't see the behind-the-scenes. You don't see what it took to get there. So, I think that's relevant and valuable and it’s always helpful for me to hear someone's backstory and go, “Oh, wow. Okay, so you didn't just start out as Tony Robbins or as whoever, Will Smith, like this famous person. You had to work. You had to grind. As he said, you had to sweat. You had to work hard and sweat to get to where you are.” So, I'm going to share just a little bit about that journey for me, but then I'm going to really focus in on the economy. In 2008 was the Great Recession. It was one of the worst recessions that we've ever had. And I kind of lost everything during that time. And I'm going to share with you how the four strategies, four things that I did to thrive in the midst of the recession, not when it was over, not when the economy was back on the upswing. It was still declining. And I went from rock bottom to turning things around. And I'm going to share with you some very useful practical strategies today to do that.
But first, let's go quick history here. I didn't always have passive income. In fact, it took me many years to establish passive income. It took me, well, I can just tell you three years to write the Miracle Morning book, plus three more years of promoting it before it was anything significant in terms of a decent passive income that was over $1,000 a month, which didn't pay all the bills but I was able to continue growing that. And then I did grow it to a point where it paid all of my bills even while I was in the hospital fighting cancer, which is why I have done some episodes on the podcast on why and how to build passive income, why that should be a high priority for all of us. Because having multiple sources of income and having some of them, if not a significant amount, be passive enables you to deal with life's challenges. Right? We can't predict what's going to happen in life. I didn't predict I was going to have cancer and be in a hospital for a year or, yeah, almost a year. But thank God, I built those passive income streams because I was able to fight cancer and not have my family at home suffer and lose the house and all of those because I couldn't work. You know, I was in the hospital for most of eight months, almost the entire time.
And by the way, you can go back and this is also for the gentleman that left the comment. Thank you again for that comment. But you can go back to HalElrod.com/Podcast and you can go search all of the past episodes and you could type in passive income, you can type in goals, you can type in relationships, whatever. And then you can find, I mean, we're on Episode 400 and I think 435. There's a ton of content, a library on almost any topic that you could probably ask for. So, here we go. Here's my work history. I'm going to go back to the beginning essentially, right? So, stick with me. This will probably take 5 minutes and I think you'll find this kind of enjoyable. And if you don't, just stick with me for 5 minutes. When I was nine years old, that's how I was going back to, when did I start working? When I was nine years old, I started painting decks for people in our neighborhood. All right. And we live in a small mountain town. Almost everybody had a deck for $3 an hour. That was my rate. I would go around and it became a referral business, started on knocking on neighbors' doors and, "Hey, you want your deck painted?” And I don't know where the rate of $3 an hour where I landed on that, but that became the going rate.
And let me tell you, it was grueling work. I worked outside in the summer. It was where I lived in Northern California. It was 95 degrees. It was hot. I remember I can picture standing on a ladder painting the underside of our neighbor, Jack Allison's deck. It was just brutal, right? But so that's when I started, nine years old, $3 an hour, manual grueling labor in the heat. When I was 11 years old, my parents bought a small mom-and-pop grocery store. My dad worked at the grocery store. I think he became a manager there and his dream was always to own his own business. And the owner announced they were going to sell the grocery store. And my dad came home to my mom and he convinced - she's a little more risk-averse than my dad is. He's much more like me, willing to take risk. So, she was hesitant but he convinced her. They got a loan from the bank. My parents, again, he was working at a grocery store. She was working at the phone company. Like, they did not have much money. They were making a small hourly wage. And they bought the grocery store and immediately I was 11 years old, sixth grade, I started working at the grocery store, bagging groceries, stocking shelves, cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the toilets like it was not glamorous work, you name it. And I was working like 20 hours a week at 11. And I made $4.25 an hour, which was minimum wage, right? Mom and dad paid me minimum wage, $4.25 an hour, 11 years old, working in the grocery store.
Now, at 15, and by the way, I didn't stop. Working in the grocery for four years. Now, I did get promoted to checkout. What do they call that, checkout? The person that rings people up with their groceries. So, I moved up from the bagger of the groceries and the stock boy to the checker. That's what it's called, checker. I don't know if I got an increase in pay, though. I think my parents still kept me at minimum wage. But at 15, I started a mobile deejay business, and the way that happened, a buddy of mine he said, “Hey, Hal,” my friend Jake. He said, “Hey, my older brother, Collin, is sick. He has the flu and he's supposed to deejay the eighth-grade dance this Friday. Do you want to do it with me? We can use his equipment.” And it was free. He wasn't getting paid. I was like, “Yeah, that sounds fine. How cool.” Go back to our old junior high school. I was a sophomore at the time and brought all the deejay equipment. We put a tip cap out, got like $7.25 in tips, right? Eighth graders don't have a lot of money, but we ended up having a blast. And my dream there was born. I go, “Wow, I want to be a deejay. This would be amazing.” You know, I found out people get paid to do this, right?
So, I ended up starting a deejay business. I used my money from the grocery store. My dad financed about $1,500 of deejay equipment from this place I used to get a catalog from called Pro Sound and Stage Lighting, and he financed it under the agreement that I would make the monthly payment. It was like $100 a month or something that I had to pay. And I said, “Yes.” I'm working in the grocery store. I got a reliable, consistent income and so I made the payments. And then within a few weeks, a lady was in the grocery store saying she was getting married and thank goodness for my dad. He goes, “Oh, do you have a deejay for the wedding?” She goes, “No, we're looking for one.” And I was bagging groceries. My dad was ringing people up. He was the checker. He said, "My son's a deejay. He just got all his equipment.” And she said, “Really? What do you charge?” And I don't remember if I made up a number or my dad did. But long story short, I earned $100 for that hour or it’s 4 hours, $100. So, $25 an hour, which to me it was like, "Oh my gosh, I was making $4.25 an hour doing work I didn't really enjoy at the grocery store. Now, I’m making $25 bucks an hour doing something that was so much fun.” And if you ever hired a deejay, by the way, you know that $100 for a wedding is a bargain, right? Now, you're looking at thousands of dollars.
But I will share this. It taught me an invaluable lesson that I could earn significantly more money than was considered “normal” while doing work that didn't feel like work. And that was really a defining moment for me. I went, “Wow. I want to do something like this for the rest of my life.” And the dream was I wanted to start my own deejay business like that dream grew and grew over the years. Then when I was in high school, I got a gig deejaying on the radio and I thought, “I want to be a radio deejay and then have a deejay business where I have other deejays go out.” Like, I was thinking big when I was 15 years old. And then at 18, I moved away for college and I got a job at a roller skating rink. I applied to be a deejay and they go, “No, no, no, you have to work your way up to deejay. You can't start as a deejay.” I go, “I've been deejaying for years.” They go, “We don't care about your experience.” Like there's a hierarchy here. You start as a - I don’t even know what it was called, but I rented out roller skates, I cleaned the roller skates, and sanitized them after people were done using them. Not glamorous work, again, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning toilets, sweeping up, cleaning gum off the floor.
When I was 18, when I was in college my first year, that was my gig working at the roller skating rink. And I think eventually I got to deejay like one time before school was over and I ended up moving on. And at 19, I pursued my dream of being a radio deejay, and I got hired at 97.1 FM and I started working midnight to 6 a.m. on the weekends. So, the grunt shift. Again, I was new, midnight to 6 a.m. on the weekends and I was probably making like $7.25 an hour I think for that. It was exhausting, right? Because I wasn't used to staying at midnight to six and it was only on the weekends. So, I wasn't making enough money working at the radio station. So, I needed another job. And three weeks into my dream job on 97.1 FM, my friend, Teddy, from college convinced me to interview for a position selling Cutco Cutlery. And most of you know that I was in Cutco. I talk about that frequently, but that was a 100% commission job. So, I was nervous. I go, “I've never worked a job where I'm only paid if I sell something and I've never sold anything.” I'm used to if you show up, you get a check, right? So, I nervously accepted the job but in my first week, on my second day of training, I decided I want to break the company record and sell more than anyone had ever sold in the first ten days with Cutco because I had been average my whole life.
I know some of you are like, “Yeah, that wasn't average. You were a deejay on the radio.” But in terms of my work ethic, I was never disciplined. I never liked working hard. I avoided it at all costs. I was really lazy. I at least identified as very lazy. And my first week I went out there and I did like 40 appointments, which took 90 minutes apiece. So, I worked 60 hours plus driving 15, 20, 30 minutes between appointments. So, I worked like, what is it, 80, 90 hours that first week but I made $3,000 in commissions. So, I was 19 years old, my first week with Cutco, and I made more money probably than I had made in my entire young life at that point. I don't think I earned $3,000 with all these other jobs I had done. And so, I earned $3,000 in commissions that first week and that was like a game-changer, right? I was like, “Wow.” And I had fun. I loved doing Cutco appointments. I loved meeting new people. It was a lot of fun. So, that same kind of idea with deejaying like, “Oh, wow, I could earn more money than is considered normal and doing something that I actually love to do.” And my first year with Cutco, I think I ended up my first full year, $50,000 I think for the first year. And I averaged about $50,000 a year every year with Cutco.
And then my sixth year with the company, I knew it was my last year, I thought, “I want to fulfill my potential.” And you've probably heard that story in that context of how I fulfilled my potential that year, but I ended up earning over $100,000 that year. I was 25 or 26. And so, that set me up to the next phase of my life, which was I want to be a radio deejay. No, sorry. I’m confusing. I wanted to be an author, which most authors don't make much money. So, I didn't know how I was going to make money at it but I really had a dream of writing a book and sharing my story. I wanted to be a professional speaker. That was like the real dream. My dream was to be a $10,000 keynote speaker. And that number, $10,000 was from, to my knowledge, like the top keynote speakers earned $10,000 and I had met one of them. His name was Roger, shoot, I’m blanking on his last name, but he was someone that had like one arm and no legs. He might have had two arms. I don't remember. But he became a professional tennis player. And so, he told his story about overcoming challenges and overcoming your own limitations and all of that. And I got to a Cutco customer. I told the customer my dream was to be a motivational speaker and she referred me to Roger. I got to go see him and interview him and ask him questions.
And so, that became the dream. I want to be a $10,000 keynote speaker. And so, when I left Cutco, I saved up $20,000. And that's one of the things I would mention. Anyway, I saved up $20,000 so that I had enough money to pay my bills for like I think it was like five months at the time, and that way I could transition and figure out how to make money in my new venture. Because I literally gave up 100% of my income when I went to Cutco. And what I ended up doing to transition is I started coaching. So, something I'd never done before but I was at a BNI meeting, a business networking meeting and I joined this group as a Cutco rep. And as I was finishing my Cutco career, the president of BNI, he was a financial advisor. He said, “Hal, would you coach me on sales? You've had so much success in selling.” And I was like, “Coach you? Sure.” And, you guys, this is funny. I haven't told this story in a long time. I said, “Yeah, of course.” And I did not know what that meant. I'm like, “What? I don't know what that means to coach you.” But I didn't want to say no. I was like, "Sure.” And he kind of explained like life coaching. And I'm like, “Yeah, sure. I'd be open to it. Let's talk about it. Let's schedule a call.”
I kind of delayed giving a really concrete conversation around that because I got in my car, I went on my phone, I went to Amazon, and I searched up life coaching and I overnighted. I ordered a book called The Life Coaching Handbook because I didn't really know what it was. I wasn't familiar with coaching at all. This was 2005. And the Life Coaching Handbook comes overnight and I get the handbook and I read it and I'm like, “Okay. This is what coaching is.” Like, I literally didn't know. And so, I had a call with him, Scott, the next week, and I was transparent. I go, "Look, you'll be my first coaching client.” And I told him, I've coached dozens of Cutco reps like unofficially. They didn't pay me to coach them. They didn't call me their coach. I was more their manager but essentially, I would get on the phone with Cutco reps because I was a manager in Cutco and I would teach them how to - I would motivate them and hold them accountable and teach them how to increase their sales. And so, I told him that but I was very transparent. I go, "You're my first official non-Cutco coaching client.” And I said, "Because of that, I will cut my coaching rate in half.” I just figured out the going coaching rate at the time was at $500 a month. I said, "So, for the first six months, I'll coach you for $250.”
By the way, throughout this story, we're going to get into really concrete strategies on how to thrive in a recession. And I'm going much longer than I intended to on telling you my story. But I hope you're catching just ideas on like, "Oh, wow. You can be creative.” Like in this case, it was rather than telling him in that initial conversation rather than telling, “Scott, I don't know anything about coaching,” because that could have been an honest answer, right? But it was, “Hey, yeah. I'd love to talk to you about that. Let's chat next week.” You follow? It was not turning away an opportunity because in saying I'm not qualified. How often do we do that where we go, “I'm not qualified. I'm not the guy. Who am I to?” Right? That imposter syndrome. Who am I to coach someone much older than me? I mean, he was like 15 years older than I was. Who am I to coach that person? We often create all of these self-imposed limitations. And the lesson in that is to not do that, is to figure it out, build your wings on the way down. I said, “Hey, let's have a call next week about coaching.”
And then I built my wings on the way down by getting on Amazon, ordering a book, figuring it out. And then there's a lesson there in transparency, right? I was transparent and I said, “I'll charge you 50%. My coaching rate is going to be $500 a month. I will charge you $250 a month for the first six months. And then under the agreement that as long as you're satisfied with my coaching after the first six months, that we’ll then go to 500 a month. How does that sound?” And Scott said, “Yeah, sounds like a great deal.” And I will tell you, I coached Scott, I believe, for two years. So, not knowing, literally, I didn't know anything about coaching and then got the client, $250 a month and then eventually $500 a month and then I coached him for two years. So, that's what I did to earn income up until 2008. Well, beyond that. But here's where we talk about the recession. In 2008, actually, 2007, if you were around back then, I'm sure you were, that's when the economy is kind of like right now, right? Right now reminds me of 2007 where you started to see, "Oh, a recession is coming.” Like, it's a freight train at this point. There's nothing that any of us can do to stop the recession, right?
When it comes exactly, some people, by the way, some economists will tell you it's already here, right? Some will tell you it is already here based on indicators, depending on which ones you look at. But we can't predict exactly how bad the recession will be. Some economists will tell you it is going to be the worst recession we've ever seen based on how much money we've printed. So, that's a very real, very real possible scenario, something to be prepared for and to think about. So, before the economy crashed in 2007, 2008, right around that time, I had 14 coaching clients, give or take. I'm trying to remember the exact number but I think it was roughly 14. It might have been 15. It might have been 13, but right around 14 coaching clients at $500 a month. So, I was earning about $7,000 a month. Now, my mortgage at the time, I just bought my first new house a year before, it was $3,200 a month. That was like half of my income went to the mortgage and then my overall expenses, car payment, utilities, insurance, groceries, etcetera, I was not living below my means let's just say. I was living right at my means. I wasn't saving a whole lot, maybe a little bit, but I was saving like a thousand a month. But mostly, my income barely paid for all my bills.
So, here's what happened. When the economy crashed, I was in denial. Or I should say I was delusional because people go, “Are you worried about the economy?” And I was so blindly optimistic, I go, “Pssh, no. I'll figure it out. I create my own economy.” Like, that was my mindset. I always say there's a fine line between optimism and delusion, and I cross it pretty often. So, in a matter of months, client after client after client came to their call and said, “Hal, I'm really feeling the effects of the economy. My sales are down, my business has dropped, etcetera, etcetera. I cannot afford coaching. I know I'm in a one-year…” All my clients were on 12-month contracts. They said, "But I don't know what else to do.” And I'm not going to hold somebody, you know, that's just not me. I'm not going to say, "Hey, too bad. You signed a contract.” It's like, "Hey, all right, I'll work with you.” And so, I lost over half of my clients in a matter of months. Might have been six months, maybe less, I don't know. But also, for half my clients, therefore, I lost over half of my income and I couldn't pay my bills. So, my house was foreclosed on by the bank. I ended up living on credit cards.
So, again, my income dropped down to like $3,000 and my mortgage alone was more than that. So, I couldn't pay them. Finally, stopped paying the mortgage. House was foreclosed on by the bank, had to move back in with my dad, and my wife, we were engaged at the time. I think she was pregnant with her first child. The timing was right around there and moved back in with my dad, which at that time I was like 29, 30 years old. So, I went from like, "Wow. Life's great. I'm making great money. I'm building this coaching business. I'm starting to speak more. I'm a paid speaker living my dream. I just bought my first house. I'm landscaping it. Life's amazing,” to pack up, move back in with dad, nobody's booking me to speak, losing out. So, it was really emotionally devastating for me. I did not know how to handle it. I had never, I mean, you guys kind of heard my journey, I just shared my journey. There wasn't a lot of financial adversity in the early years of my life. I kind of like I started at $3 an hour, then I went to $4.25, then I went to $7, and then I started selling Cutco. So, it's like I kept kind of trying to build on things and this just devastated me. I did not know how to handle it.
You know part of the story, which is Jon Berghoff, I called him and I confessed how bad things had gotten and that I was depressed and that I didn't know what to do. And he encouraged me to go on a run and listen to a Jim Rohn audio, and the rest is history. It was that audio that Jim Rohn said your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development. And I realized I'm not developing myself into the person I need to be to create the success I want in my life. I've got to go home and figure out what the world's most successful people do for their rituals and routines each day for personal development. I've got to do that. And that's where the Miracle Morning was born. And that was a big part of turning my life around, but that wasn't all of it. So, I’m going to give you four strategies right now. Actually, I'll share with you the four strategies that I used, and then we'll turn them around for you, right? So, then I'll give them to you. But here's how I did it.
Number one, I optimized my mindset with the Miracle Morning. Actually, I'll just tell you. That's the number one strategy is optimize your mindset daily. Optimize your mindset daily. It's arguably the most important thing that you can do when the outer world becomes scary, when it becomes unpredictable, when it becomes chaotic, when it becomes crazy, when it becomes difficult or painful. That's when it is more important than ever for you to be intentional about optimizing your mindset every day and optimizing your emotions every single day. That's what the podcast has been about. That's what we've focused on intermittently. I mean, we do different topics. Well, last week was exactly that, how to be mentally prepared for anything. But the week before that was to focus on your family, how to thrive in marriage, and parenting. The week before that, it was how to create breakthroughs every day. It was an interview with David Nurse. Last week was Jon Vroman. The week before that was David Nurse. So, we've talked a lot about that. I mean, if you're a regular listener, you know that. You've got all the tools except the things you can't change. Right? Focus on what's in your control.
Ask yourself what's the optimal emotional state for you to be in at any given moment and then utilize a practice like affirmations and emotional optimization meditation where you reinforce that state so that it becomes your default way of being. So, you know all of that. Optimize your mindset daily. That is number one. That's the first thing I did with the Miracle Morning is I optimize my mindset daily, and that's crucial because I was in a fear state. I was depressed. I felt hopeless. Maybe you've been there. Maybe you're there now. But you can't. I mean, can’t is a strong word but I'd say can't is pretty accurate. You can't thrive if your mindset’s a mess. If you're living in fear, if you're focusing on things that are out of your control, if you're constantly worried, if you're constantly telling yourself a story that, "Life is hopeless. I'm so stressed, I can't handle this,” all of that, it's all a self-fulfilling prophecy, right? It's all self-imposed limitations. The number one most important thing for us to do at any given time in our lives is to optimize our mental and emotional well-being, a.k.a., optimize our mindset. So, that is number one is the first thing that I did.
Miracle Morning, I was reading affirmations every day that reminded me that I am just as worthy, deserving, and capable of achieving anything as any other person on earth. That reminded me that I must do the things each day that will move me forward. That reminded me, I affirmed, I'm going to accept the things I can't change and not wish they were different because wishing they were different doesn't change them. All of my energy is going to go into what I can control and I'm going to take it one day at a time. I'm going to not allow myself to get overwhelmed with how far behind I am, where I want to be, how in the hole I am financially. I'm not going to focus on that because that makes me feel depressed. That's why I'd been depressed for six months because I was focusing on all the things that were out of my control, was focusing on what had already happened. I had focused on the money I had lost, the fact that my house was foreclosed on. I was focusing on all the things that were out of my control. And as we've talked about many times, I felt out of control. And that creates anxiety, fear, and depression, not optimal states for you to turn your life around and create the circumstances that you want.
So, number one, I optimized my mindset with the Miracle Morning and that's your number one strategy is optimize your mindset daily with meditation, with affirmations, and with reading, right? Read books and you can also watch videos, right? Outside sources. When your mindset is so bad, it can be very difficult to generate the positive, empowering mindset, proactive mindset that you need. You got to borrow it from other people. Go to YouTube. Type in “positive mindset,” google it, whatever, but source it from other people. Source it from other people. And so, now you're listening to this podcast, right? It's a great way to do it. All right. So, number one, optimize your mindset daily. Number two. The second thing that I did is I learned new strategies, right? So, again, this goes back to what I just said, which is like learn from other people. Don't try to figure it out on your own. Don't try to optimize your mindset without anybody's help. Get help. So, number two is I learned new strategies. And by the way, that was also during the Miracle Morning. It was during my reading time. It's not rocket science but the first book I read based on my problem, what was my problem? I had lost over half of my coaching clients. I had lost over half of my clients therefore, half my income. What do I need to do? I needed to get coaching clients. That was the only way or the main way that I knew how to make money.
So, the first book I read was called Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port. And I'll read you the tagline. So, Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling. I love that long subtitle. Michael is a man of my own heart. Miracle Morning is The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life Before 8 A.M. I like long subtitles. So, the first book I read was Book Yourself Side by Michael Port, and I started implementing strategies from that book, and within a matter of two months, I more than doubled my client load. And I'm going to tell you how in a minute. That's going to be the third strategy. But I more than doubled my client load, implementing the strategies I learned in that book. Now, keep in mind, I lost half of my clients because the economy was declining. In 2008, I didn't get back. I signed on just as many clients, like more clients than I lost in a declining economy. The economy continued to get worse. In fact, I think it was getting worse than when I lost the clients. It was continually getting worse and worse and worse and worse and worse. Yet, I was still able to sign on clients. How is that possible? And I'll tell you when we get to strategy number three.
But again, learn new strategies. Don't reinvent the wheel. Get help from people that have gone before you. So, the first book I read was Book Yourself Solid, and what do you know? I implemented the strategies that Michael Port shared in that book, and I doubled the amount of clients that I had in an economy that continued to get worse. The second book I read was called Multiple Streams of Coaching Income by Andrea J. Lee. That talked about how it got me outside of the box and it said, "Hey, one-on-one coaching is great.” That's one stream of coaching income. There are multiple streams of coaching income and I'll get to the one I implemented when we get to strategy number four, which we're almost to here. We got two more strategies. But learn new strategies. There are people that came before you that thrived in terrible economies. In fact, you may know that. In the Great Depression of the 1920s and ‘30s, more millionaires were made during the Great Depression than any other time in history before that. And the same thing happened every recession. There are certain people that figure out how to solve problems for others, and they are compensated accordingly and they're able to create successful businesses or successful careers even in the midst of a recession, a great recession, or a depression. So, number two, learn new strategies. That's what I did.
Number three is I got outside my comfort zone. I asked for help. I asked my coaching clients for referrals. That was one of the strategies that I learned in Book Yourself Solid was, “Hey, the best place to get clients is from your existing clients.” Right? Makes a lot of sense. But those are people that know you, that trust you, that are qualified to do business with you. Qualified meaning like they can afford to do business with you if they're doing business with you. And people tend to know people that are similar in situations, right, whether they're colleagues, whether they're people in the same career, the same socioeconomic status, or whatever it is. So, Michael Port talked about, you've got to get out of your comfort zone. Ask your current clients for referrals. That's how I doubled my client base. I simply asked. I had never done that before. I asked all of my clients for referrals and I was able to double the amount of clients I had in two months and double my income in two months. So, for those that have heard the story of how I doubled my income thanks to the Miracle Morning, if you didn't know how I did that, that's how. I read the book, Book Yourself Solid, I asked for referrals, implementing that strategy for the book, and that's how it works.
So, number three, here's the third tip. Ask for help. Ask for help. I asked my clients for help. I felt uncomfortable doing that. I thought, “Oh, man, do I seem desperate? Like they're paying me and I'm asking them to give me more clients. Does that seem like I'm needy? Like I'm desperate?” I had all sorts of insecurities around that but because of strategy number two, I learned new strategies from Michael Port. I decided to borrow his confidence. I implemented it and it worked. So, number three, ask for help. And the kind of help you need, you might be asking for help, “Hey, I'm struggling mentally and emotionally. I need help.” But hopefully, if you implement number one, the first strategy, optimize your mindset daily, that won't be the help you need but you might need help increasing clients, getting a job, getting an interview for a position. You might be asking people for help. “Hey, do you know anybody that's hiring?” That might be the ask. Whatever your ask is, it's simply asking people in your world, in your life, for help with the thing you need help with, whatever that is for you. So, number three, ask for help.
The fourth thing I did is I got creative. I asked myself, how can I serve more people at a reduced cost to them? How can I help more people at a reduced cost? Meaning, okay, we are in a recession, right? And by the way, I'm applying this question now and I'll tell you how. We were in a recession, right, 2008, and so I thought, "Okay. People have less money, generally.” People are struggling financially. A lot of them are. Not all of them but a lot. In fact, we could say arguably the majority. So, I thought, "How can I help people but charge them less money?” So, for those that can't afford $500 a month for coaching, how could I offer coaching for less? Well, I took the strategy that I learned, one of the strategies that I learned in the book Multiple Streams of Coaching Income by Andrea J. Lee, and that strategy was to do a group coaching program.
And so, I launched a group coaching program at $97 a month for two– I think it was one-hour calls a month. And I started by signing on five clients. So, basically, I got $500 a month, just shy, 97 times five, $500 a month from five different people instead of one but for the same amount of time because I normally would do two one-hour calls, my coaching clients. Well, now I’m doing two one-hour calls with these five people.
And then what did I do? I asked all of them for referrals. I sent out an email saying, hey, do you know anyone else that would benefit from this coaching for $97 a month, whatever. I think I got 30 referrals from those five people, six each on average. By the way, and I asked for like, do you know like– I think I asked for a high number so they would come in somewhere, like ask for a 10-plus.
But anyway, within a matter of months, I had signed on 70 people because here’s what happened. I reached out to those 30 people, I texted them, I asked, and again, get the wheels turning for how you could apply getting creative in your industry, in your career, in your business. So, I combined these strategies. So I asked for referrals. I emailed those people. I said, “Hey, these five folks are in this group coaching program. It’s been really helpful. And they thought it would benefit you too, that you could really use this.” And I explained how it could help them.
And I remember I went from 5 to 11, and then eventually, to 20, to 30. And within a matter of months, I had 70 clients because what I would do is whenever a new person would sign on, when they first signed on after their first call, I’d say, “How was your first call?” They said, “Oh, it was great. I learned a lot.” I go, “Hey.” And I sent them the same email that I sent those initial five. I said, “Who else do you know that might benefit from this coaching?” And I would average like five, six, seven referrals from every single person that I emailed.
And within a couple of months, I had 70 clients at $97 a month, so $7,000 a month, roughly. But here’s the cool part, I still only did two calls a month. So, I wasn’t having to do really any more work. The only extra work was I created this template to be able to text new people that signed on to the program, ask them how they like their first call, and ask if they could get referrals. And I would send that as a text and then send it as an email.
And within a matter of, I don’t know, probably a year of running the group coaching program, I had 220 paying members. So, I was earning $22,000 a month and I was only doing two calls a month. It was the same two calls. And there was attrition, meaning that every month, I’d lose five people or whatever and I would ask for referrals and I would sign up more. I kept growing and growing and growing the program.
And at the top, I got to with 220 people, and that’s when I wrote the Miracle Morning. And I started focusing, taking my energy off of– I don’t want to grow that program anymore, I just want to sustain it. And so, I just kept doing two calls a month, two calls a month for like a year. And then eventually, I ended that program.
But that fourth strategy was, and again, in a declining economy, I got creative. I asked myself, how can I serve more people at a reduced cost to them? I mentioned that I’m asking myself that question again now because if we are going into a recession, I want to figure out how I can serve more people and do it in a way that they can afford it, right? So, it’s a win-win.
And so, the way that I’m looking at doing it now is, you know about the Miracle Morning app, and this isn’t a promo for the app, I’m just letting you know. We have been working on launching a membership program through the app, so it’ll be a subscription model. And of course, it’s optional, but for anyone that wants to, it will be $5 a month. We were going to do $10, but again, I was like, let’s start at $5, work out any kinks, get feedback because yeah, I feel like anybody, I mean, almost anybody, if you’re at least employed, but just almost anybody could afford $5 a month, even in a tough economy. I thought, how can we make it so inexpensive that almost anybody could afford it but delivers so much value that it really helps people?
So, also, there’s going to be an ongoing library of content. There are going to be live videos every month. We’ll do live calls. We’ll do all sorts of stuff. So, I don’t want to give way too much because it’s not finished, but that’s how I’m answering that question now. So, I’m taking my own advice. The advice I’m giving you, I’m saying, “How can I serve more people for less money so that I can help as many people as I can at a way that does not break the bank?” Because I’ve had people say, oh, you should launch a $2,000 a month mastermind or something like this, high level, in person. I go, that’s going to only help a very small amount of people. And so, that’s the answer to the question now.
So, number four, the fourth tip is to get creative. Ask yourself, how can you serve more people for less money or reduced cost to those people? That’s only one way to ask the question. If you’re an architect, you’re looking for a career, it’s hey, how can I bring more value to the table so that hiring me is irresistible. That might be one way, but getting creative, getting outside the box.
So, I want to go over those four steps again, then I’m going to give you one bonus tip. Strategy number one, to thrive in a recession is to optimize your mindset daily. Strategy number two is to learn new strategies, learn new ways. For me, it was reading those two books that I shared earlier. Number three, ask for help. Get out of your comfort zone. Ask for help with whatever you need help with. And number four, get creative. Think outside the box. Get creative.
And bonus tip, prepare now as best you can in terms of financially. If this is something you can do, reduce your expenses now and save as much money as possible. Something that I did when I left Cutco to be a coach, I mentioned that I saved four or five months of expenses so that I had a buffer, I had an emergency fund, I had a $20,000 emergency fund which, with inflation and stuff, it probably needs to be more than that now, I don’t know. But any amount is better than nothing. But saving money to cover any hard times that are ahead.
So, if that’s something that you can do, I just didn’t want to leave that unsaid, but reduce your expenses. That’s the easiest way, is reduce expenses. What can you cut out now that is not an absolute necessity? And I will tell you, I’m implementing this in my own life. My wife and I had this conversation about a week ago. I said, “Sweetie, we’ve been living in a want– as the economy has thrived and we’ve done well over the last few years, we’ve been buying things that we want.” I said, “I want us to move from want to needs.” And she’s totally on board. I said, “I want us to be more frugal. Let’s look at where we can cut expenses.” And so, certain subscriptions that I had, eating out, just certain things we were doing that were more expensive. Now, we have a thing. Do we want it? Or do we need it?
And if it’s we want it, then we do a real assessment, a real reality check of whether or not we need it. And if we don’t need it, we typically aren’t buying it right now. So, we’re cutting back expenses wherever we can, canceling monthly subscriptions. We literally went through our credit card and we’re like, “What the heck is this $50 a month subscription?” It’s amazing, by the way, when you go through your credit card, finding stuff that you’re like, we’re paying for stuff that we’re not even using. What are we doing?
So, I hope that’s helpful for you. There is a recession that– I mean, the economy goes through cycles. So, no matter what, there’s a recession in the future, whether it’s this year, next year, or further ahead, but all indicators would say it’s coming sooner rather than later. You can’t print the amount of money we’ve printed without consequences.
So, I hope this is helpful for you and know that I will be here through the podcast. I’ll be here as much as I possibly can supporting you as we go through this together, as we go through the recession together, as we go through the challenges that we’re faced, logistical challenges, mental and emotional challenges. I will keep doing my best to help and support you while I try to figure things out myself and then share with you what’s working for me.
So, our goal achievers, members of the Miracle Morning Community, I love you, I appreciate you. Let’s not just survive this recession. Let’s optimize our mindset. Let’s learn new strategies. Let’s ask for help. Let’s get creative so that we can thrive in the next recession. I love you. I’ll talk to you next week.
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