Guest post by Gigi Stetler
You don’t have to look far to see that these are tough times all over the world for just about everybody. Whether it is a personal financial crisis due to unemployment or the need to secure financing to get a business off the ground or keep it operational, the current economic environment calls for what I like to call “SurThrival” mode. What do I mean by that? Let me use my story as an example.
Not Just Surviving, but Thriving
I can tell you that my life story is perseverance personified and illustrates that, whatever strife you are facing in your life (sans a life threatening illness or similar) not only will you survive it, but you can thrive and live a happy, satisfying life. But, it’s all about your attitude.
- I’ve gone from a $4 million dollar debt courtesy of an industry that conspired against me to a successful and thriving multimillion dollar RV business in a male-dominated industry.
- I started as a high school dropout, but now I’m a successful entrepreneur with a business grossing in the multi-millions despite a male dominated industry that literally conspired against me.
- I went from being stabbed 21 times and left for dead to alive and vibrant.
I consider myself a modern-day phoenix that has risen from the ashes every time I have had a crisis. That’s because I have maintained a positive attitude, fortitude, and resilience to keep going no matter who or what has tried to break me down and stop me in my tracks.
I knew early on that I had an entrepreneurial spirit. I struck out on my own as an RV industry entrepreneur in 1986 and ended up with four dealerships of my very own. But, in 2008, my business, and, let’s face it the RV industry at large and the economy for that matter, completely collapsed amid the recession. Banks tightened their lending practices and the trickle down effect that had on the RV trade and the baby boomer target market it largely served was nothing short of devastating. Suddenly, I went from grossing $18 million per year to ZERO.
Having been financially pronounced dead, my inventory and all assets – both business and personal - were seized and distributed my competitor who had conspired to destroy my company and take over my territories. Rather than succumbing to these hardships, I regarded it as just a new chapter to be dealt with head-on.
Rather than declaring bankruptcy to clear the $4+ million debt I owed at that time, I put my nose to the grindstone and re-established a successful RV dealership business by reinventing it and expanding into new profit centers. Today, despite the economic recession’s enduring impact on the RV industry, my company is growing yet again thanks to my tenacity…and sheer refusal to give up. After all, these are the quintessential character traits of an entrepreneur, are they not?
I realized that being an unstoppable entrepreneur was about doing things differently and finding those untapped areas of opportunity. This has enabled me to not just sustain, but also grow my business while competitors are shutting their doors amid the recession. Instead of solely relying on RV sales, I started to examine ancillary revenue sources. This included pursuing an RV rental business, creating an in-house interior design team, and offering customized RVs for every industry, including mobile hair salons and spas, boutiques, and even chiropractor’s offices. These corporate clients have kept her business thriving in a depressed economy.
Your Entrepreneurial Attitude
As a female entrepreneur reading this blog and thinking about what you can do to SurThrive, just remember that you have to be a warrior, not a victim, no matter how bad things get. It also means having a steadfast, forward-looking belief that, no matter how bad today is, tomorrow is a chance to start anew – and with that new day comes promise. It is looking at how those challenges can actually be turned into opportunities to make something better, bigger, and more profitable than you previously thought.
Survival is about having the will to live and courage to succeed despite the odds, which requires a fierce determination. With steel resolve, I’m nearly done digging my way out of a $4 million debt, am the sole female CEO of a promising RV enterprise in a male dominated industry, and I overcame a litany of unrelenting character attacks by others in my field hell bent on hurting me. The bottom line is to never, ever give up or give in.
Post comments below to let me know what odds you are facing and how you intend to SurThrive.
About: Gigi Stetler’s story reads like a best-seller, replete with plot twists, shady characters, and a heroine with many layers. In every instance Stetler was knocked down throughout life, she stood up, brushed herself off, and came back stronger than ever. But there are many sides to this tough-as-nails businesswoman: This SurThriver is also a single mom, an accomplished equestrian, and a woman of such immeasurable grace that she made daily visits to the deathbed of the mentor who had tried to destroy her. Through her motivational speeches, coaching programs and her book UNSTOPPABLE, Stetler is helping to motivate and inspire others to persevere…no matter what challenges present! Learn more about Gigi Stetler at www.gigistetler.com.