How To Survive So You Can Thrive

This post was guest blogged by Allen Young, a real estate entrepreneur who’s living the dream.

Whatever business you are in, there will come a time you will have to do all you can to just survive. These will be anxious times for you, but if you can survive, you will likely thrive. There is a saying that “What does not kill you will make you stronger”. This applies in the business world as well. If you can survive, you will be stronger, and wealthier. So, how do you survive? Let’s look at two successful entrepreneurs as an example of how to survive so our businesses can thrive.

How to Survive: John Chow and Donald Trump

Surviving means doing whatever you need to do to get by. It may mean working longer hours, cutting expenses to a minimum, or taking on another job temporarily. Take John Chow for example. In 2001, the Dot Com boom came to an abrupt end. The tragic events of 9-11 added to a gloomy economic outlook and worldwide tension. It was not a good time to be in the Internet business. For John Chow it meant that his advertising revenue all but dried up. With his income declining, John had to make drastic changes to his lifestyle such as cutting back on his love of fine dining. John was almost desperate enough to take a regular 9-5 job. The Dot Com party was over.

In 1992 the situation was even worse for Donald Trump. The United States was headed for a recession, and the housing market was in crisis. Trump was over 900 million dollars in debt. As he passed a homeless person on the streets of New York, he remarked that the homeless person had a higher net worth than him because the homeless person had some coins in a cup, while Trump was over 900 million dollars in debt. How did these two entrepreneurs survive these tough times?

Turning Point

John Chow kept working and surviving. While many people and companies in the tech industry simply quit, John kept working and planning. By keeping his expenses low and using cash reserves he wisely accumulated during the boom times, John was able to survive and take advantage of new opportunities others could not. The turning point came in 2003 when Google Adsense was introduced. With Adsense, Google was able to bring the Internet back to life. Guess who was there to take advantage of Adsense? With net advertising rising again, John was soon able to surpass the advertising peak he reached in 2000. John was now able to thrive in his business because he was able to survive.

Likewise Donald Trump had to survive the housing crisis in 1992. Trump’s goal during this time was to survive until 1995. Trump knew that if he could survive the tough times, he would make a lot of money when the housing market rebounded. Like John Chow, Trump did all he could to survive by renegotiating terms with his lenders so he could keep his projects going. Also like John Chow, Trump remained positive and forward looking. Instead of dwelling on his current situation, Trump continued to work on planting the seeds of his future business growth by continuing to make deals even though he was already heavy in debt. By continuing to make deals, Trump accomplished two things. First, he was able to set the groundwork for future success. Secondly, making deals made him feel excited and energized. That excitement made him feel good and positive, and pushed him to keep going. Trump was able to survive until 1995, and the United States housing boom began. Guess who was there to take advantage? Like John Chow, Trump survived and now both thrive like never before.

How To Thrive

It is now 2008, and both, and John Chow and Donald Trump are both at the top of their games. John Chow now makes over $30,000 a month from his blog alone, while Trump’s real estate empire continues to grow as well as success from his reality show, The Apprentice. What do they do now when they are thriving?

The events of 2001 -2005 illustrate that nothing lasts for ever, good times or bad. What goes up will go down and vice versa. Donald Trump knows that because he also survived another real estate downturn in the 80’s. When times are good, it is time to plan for the down times that will eventually come. Here are some things to do in boom times.

  • Diversify: John Chow has diversified his blog income among many revenue sources (like TTZ Media), so he is not affected so much when one source such as Adsense dries up. Likewise, Donald Trump’s business interest is now well diversified among many industries and businesses, such as reality TV, and casinos.
  • Look for new opportunities for your business: In 2001, no one had heard of such now common phrases as Google adsense, affiliate marketing, and reality TV. Yet, both Chow and Trump were among the first to spot these trends and take advantage. Keep you eyes open as well.
  • Accumulate Cash: As I noted good times do not last forever. So, keeping a healthy supply of cash on hand to help survive the lean times is prudent. Don’t spend all your money during the boom times.

What will 2008 bring? Will there be a Dot Com Crash 2.0 or another housing crisis? I don’t know, but no doubt many will thrive in any situation, and others will need to survive. Whatever situation your business is in, follow the examples of John Chow, and Donald Trump. Stay positive and plan to thrive in the future, even as you are trying to just survive.

55 thoughts on “How To Survive So You Can Thrive”

  1. Really Inspirational Post Allen. Thumbs Up!

    Adding something more: Change is inevitable. You can never stop anything from changing. So the best way to survive is to adopt to the change. What’s that theory? Ah! Evolution. If someone has the ability to spot the change in the trend and actually take the risk to invest (time, money, effort) in it, then I don’t see why that person can’t be another John Chow.

    Also, what doesn’t kill you, makes you strong – and also, tells you how to not get killed just in case the same thing comes back again. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to survive, if you just can’t learn from your mistakes and exploit the opportunities.

    We hardly ‘live’ in this world – it’s all about ‘survival’. And with the theory of evolution in mind, ‘Survival of the fittest’.

  2. Mike Huang says:

    Wow! This is my read of the day 🙂 Keep up the good work!


  3. CatherineL says:

    Great post – I like your comparison between Chow and Trump.
    It often amazes me when commenters on here ask John why he doesn’t drive a sports car etc etc. They need to understand that true wealth is built by accumulating money, not spending it.

    1. The true wealth is about beeing cheap :))

    2. RacerX says:

      You are exactly right. It is about letting the Power of Compounding increase your net worth every day!

      Let others drive a Porsche and be broke at 60!

    3. Will says:

      yea. I hate how rich people spend as much as they earn… why risk it all for a few luxuries?

  4. John Guanzon says:

    Not so sure about the coming of another Dot Com Bust, but you never know. Although another housing crisis seems eminent. Great post John, it is true in life that you get what you put in and those few who survive the struggle deserve the fruits of their labor.

  5. I got the point of the post and I know how true this post can become. I did and still doing whatever it takes to survive. Just felt like myself while I was reading.

  6. Terry Tay says:

    Great Post! The formula to success is = Whenever you are hit, you fall… Get back up, Hit and fall…. Get back up again! Never quit attidute is one key attribute any one need to cultivate is they want to be successful. This give me an idea for a new post!
    (Writing this from my military camp, yes its quite high tech now, at least I get to check on some of my stuff when Im free here)

  7. Jim Karter says:

    Really good read I would say.

  8. This is a one heck of a nice combination between lesson and history. Great post, the read of my day (and it just started)

  9. Tom Beaton says:

    Great post. As a John Chow and Donald Trump fan this really caught my eye. They are both hard working and not scared to put their neck on the line in order to achieve their goals. We can all be inspired by that.

  10. Asela says:

    Great post Allen. Very inspirational! 😎

  11. Simon Lau says:

    Great post here! With what others fear as another recession coming, it’s a good idea to make what you can now, save what you make and always have a plan B in mind.

  12. Some great tips there, interesting read.

  13. caredog says:

    What a great post, both Trump and Chow are inspiration to all of us. Good advice, thanks Allen.

  14. Awesome Post, an Actual good read. Thanks!

  15. Great article and so true. I’ve been in situations where I hit hard times and was forced to quit for survival. Looking back knowing what I know now, had I found a way to survive for slightly longer, I would be wealthy today. Online businesses are no exception. They take time to grow so the goal for me is to survive the next year and if I am successful at doing that, I’m sure it will pay off. I created a website for a business that I started a few years back. I had to quit early because I could not survive (because I needed money to pay for debts related to a business before that) and now that same website is consistently at the top of Google searches within it’s market. I sold it for next to nothing and it likely has the potential today to earn a six figure income. Live and learn I guess!

    1. RacerX says:

      Great reason to try to run any business cash positive, even if it means throttling growth! If you are shackled with debt you cannot take advantage of the opportunities you could otherwise.

  16. shy guy says:

    It is such a good example how to success..
    There’s aint easy way to achieve your goals..
    Survive is common .. and failed is must…
    I love to read this post coz it will give me more motivation ..

  17. swamy says:

    Ofcourse, you said it right john. I can clearly visualize the satisfaction you had in surviving and now thriving big time. Spotting the good time and taking the bad time needs a good amount of faith in ourselves and you should have really come up a long way in that.

    This post that relates to Donald Trump is a beautiful comparison. I believe the success you have is mainly from the thought process in connecting the right people and right sources. Well, you truly are a dot com mogul. Me and so many millions around have stepped to follow your path and as you said, we all hope to first survive before we can even thrive. Wish us good luck and keep lifting our spirits Mr.Mogul Chow (sorry a new name given by me 🙂

  18. “So, keeping a healthy supply of cash on hand to help survive the lean times is prudent. Don’t spend all your money during the boom times.”

    That’s one of the all-time wisest pieces of personal financial advice there is–the trick is actually doing it. I’m trying.

  19. Katie says:

    Great Post! I agree that it is very smart to save money and not put all your eggs into one basket. To sign up with many different Affiliate networks and companies such as Google Adsense and TTZ Media.

    Another thing that is important that allot of people don’t know about or take for granted is that the US Dollar is worth nothing. There is no gold backing it up and the Economy is getting worse. It’s going down big time.

    Something that is very important is investing into Gold, Silver and Diamonds! Gold is going up allot! This is a smart thing to do.
    Believe me. You will be glad you invested into Gold.

    Don’t be foolish and just save your cash in the banks. This will not protect you when the Economy gets worse and worse. Or Falls!

    Just remember..Invest in Gold,Silver and Diamonds and put them somewhere safe other than the Bank! Just my opinion. 😉

    Investing into things is a smart thing to do. Saving money is good too. And budgeting your money is very smart. Don’t spend more then you can afford and put extra money aside each week for bad times. But I encourage you to invest that savings money into Gold too not just save it as US dollars. 😉

    Thanks again for this great Post.

    ~Katie 😀

    1. Jim Karter says:

      Thanks for the tips Katie.

  20. Sincerly, I don’t think that 9-11 event had such a big effect on internet business.

  21. dcr says:

    I wish politicians would read posts like this. During boom periods, when tax revenues are high, they tend to spend everything in the public coffers and not set aside anything for the bust periods that eventually come.

  22. I think 9-11 had alot to do with the internet, really bad for the 3 to 4 moths after 9-11 people were just in a very scared mod so it did have an inpack on the internet.


  23. wpjoy says:

    more guest posts, no loser’s whining here about their best! 🙂

  24. Most important point here is to stash the money away when you are making it. Not go on a spending spree.

    Very basic advice. But, do we do it?

    No good times last forever. This will allow us to weather the storm until it is over.

  25. Feed Flare says:

    Great post, loved reading it.

  26. Moulinneuf says:

    The question is now does John need a toupet to become as rich as Donald Trump ? 😉


  27. Wonderful post! I think a lot of people get discouraged when the economy brings hard times, but the truth is that we CAN make our way through it, and sometimes there may even be a bit of an advantage in the end (besides the knowledge, of course).

    Great stuff!

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  28. Interesting post. Kinda weird John’s life story is coming from someone.

  29. Hans Muster says:

    “what doesn’t kill you, makes you strong” is a sentence, that keeps me always looking forward.
    PS: really interesting post! ❗

  30. I’d love to hear what you think the downturn in the economy is going to do to real estate & these kinds of business opportunities.

  31. Andrew says:

    I’m no John Chow or Donald Trump, but I know from experience that you are right. When the company I worked for went bust almost 5 years ago, we would have sunk into debt and despair had my wife and I not started our own small catering business. Even though it was a small business, it was OURS and it kept the family afloat during tough times. Working harder than we ever have in our lives, our business now more than provides for all our family needs.

  32. Will says:

    comparing yourself to donald trump already eh? will you have a tv show too? :mrgreen:

  33. It’s posts like these that really inspire me! Thanks!

  34. Allen young described it well, survival is personal, because it is according to the activities we done and the grace of God. Yesterday I was going throguh the review of an interview with the world’s second richest man. He has his own way to victory and survival.

  35. Johnny Cash says:

    Recession is coming. It is good to remind everyone that boom time won’t last forever. Even Google misses its earning target.

    1. Jim Karter says:

      So start collecting some money.:)

  36. Some good strategies and reminder that a little bit of stick-to-it-iveness can go a long way. Seems like the old fashioned principles are still some of the best even in a world that is pretty far removed from the old fashioned.

  37. Saim Baig says:

    Ok.I will be waiting for the time When Microsoft is Aquired by John Chow. 😆

  38. Al Young says:

    Thank for all the positive feedback on my guest post. In my field of real estate, I think it will get worse before it gets better in the United States. However, there are still different areas and niches in real estate investing that an investor can do well in to survive. For those who can survive for the long haul, they will do very well. I will go into more details soon on my blog so please visit.

  39. Nikii says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! It’s because of your free guide that I got my own site (after blogging on myspace for about a year). It’s one of the best decisions I ever made!

    1. Meanna Blog says:

      Hi Kikii, how are you getting on with your blog? Also more importantly, while being inspired by John Chow, what targets do you have for 2008?

  40. Robert says:

    Absolutely great post. There is certainly a housing recession and a credit crunch on the way. But the way to survive isn’t to pull back and hide in a cave. Instead, we have to keep going. Keep striving. If you’re an investor, buy property and rent it out. The housing market may be collapsing, but the rental market is booming because people have less money to buy property and, thus, are forced to rest. The dollar is falling, so buy lots of silver and buy stockin oil companies–all commodities that retain their value when inflation increases. We have to be aggressive if we’re going to survive.

  41. Syed Balkhi says:

    wow interesting part i didn’t know about john. My motto is not giving up without trying so i guess i am on the right path 🙂

  42. Michael Zhao says:

    One thing I need to have on my site is diversification with other ad networks…

    Michael Zhao’s last blog post: End of Second Week.

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