Before COVID-19 caused the world to shut down in March 2020, Judy Sahay, owner of Crowd Media, “a digital agency with a focus on media, tech, and big data,” was at the end of her rope. She had hit rock bottom both emotionally and financially after her company, which had been relatively successful at its outset, had hemorrhaged most of its clients. At her lowest, Sahay struggled to both pay her employees and put fuel in the tank of her car. She had seemingly bent right to the point of breaking, but then bounced back by choosing to alter her mindset and strengthen her work ethic.
Sahay began putting in 14-hour days and put aside her ego, making hundreds of cold-calls daily in an effort to rebuild her clientele. And just as she was hitting her stride, along came COVID-19 and the subsequent shutdowns. These shutdowns prompted businesses to rely more heavily on digital marketing and support. By that point, Sahay had turned Crowd Media into a well-oiled machine that was standing at the ready to provide such services. Now, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crowd Media is a multimillion-dollar company.
So what did she learn from her experience? According to Sahay, success happens when one’s mind, body, and spirit are aligned. In other words, Sahay recommends that everyone, entrepreneurs or not, remain focused and work to meet their goals, that they meditate and pray, and that they physically nourish themselves and sleep well. Success early on in an endeavor can cause people to become complacent and unfocused, much like it did Sahay. Such a trend is playing out with those who entered the market in 2020-2021, who have seen relatively effortless returns on their initial investments mostly thanks to the money the Fed pumped into the economy. A similar trend can also be seen with those who left their jobs to start their own businesses.
What will happen to these new startup founders when cheap credit dries up? Will they do the work like Sahay did when the going gets tough, or will they fold and retreat to more reliable ways of earning an income? Time will tell, but judging by the tremors in the market and the hawkish tone from Fed chair Jerome Powell in the first month of 2022, it seems that only the strong will survive.