Turning Business Setbacks into a Comeback

Business Setbacks

Megan had spent three years building her online business as a graphic designer. She was earning enough to support her household, and she and her husband were working on paying down their debt. She was excited that she was able to homeschool her kids while working from home, doing something she enjoyed.

Then the economy shifted, and suddenly, she lost three of her biggest clients. Overnight, Megan’s income all but disappeared, and she was left with a sinking feeling in her stomach and the knowledge that her business might go under within a few weeks.

Unfortunately, Megan’s not alone. Many Christians experience setbacks, disappointments, and other problems in their business. While you can’t control these circumstances, you can learn how to navigate them effectively, and with some time, you can turn your business setbacks into a comeback.

How Did You Get Thrown Off Course?

There are so many ways that you can encounter business setbacks. Here are three amazing entrepreneurs who faced obstacles on the way to building their dreams…

A Natural Disaster Destroyed Her Shop

Sarah was passionate about sharing God’s creativity through her passion for floristry. She loved nothing more than studying plants and creating beautiful bouquets for the life events of those around her.

After following the Spirit’s prompting, Sarah purchased a floristry shop in her hometown. Then two weeks later, a tornado ripped through her neighborhood. It destroyed many buildings, including Sarah’s new shop. 

Fortunately, no one was in the place when the twister touched down, but Sarah was left devasted and wondering if she’d heard God’s leading clearly.

Dan’s Diagnosis Changed Everything

Dan was a successful photographer and father of three. He had a thriving marriage, ran the men’s ministry at his local church, and was well-loved in his community. When he first noticed the fatigue and muscle pain, he dismissed the symptoms as part of being too busy.

Later, his wife expressed concern that he was dropping things and seemed clumsier than usual. She insisted he make an appointment with his doctor, who would later diagnose him with Multiple Sclerosis.

Suddenly, Dan’s whole life and business changed. He could no longer keep up with the regular demands of client work and began considering what part-time hours might look like for his clients and his family.

Marcie Lost Her Book Deal

Marcie was a writer and the sole breadwinner in her family. She loved that her blog helped so many people. When a publishing house offered Marcie a book contract, she took the opportunity.

After months of hard work, Marcie’s book was released…right as the company went bankrupt. She’d spent months working on a book that would likely never make it into stores. Even if she sued the company, her lawyer warned Marcie that the odds weren’t good of winning anything substantial. 

Your life and business can change instantly through no fault of your own. Adversity can strike at any time and throw you off course. The good news is that you can overcome these circumstances and continue to build a beautiful life even after devastation.

What Will You Do Next?

Nancy thought she had a wonderful business. She and her business partner were best friends with another couple, and together, the four of them ran a successful bookstore. She loved the work, and she spent plenty of time with her two small children.

Then one day, Nancy was reviewing the books. She noticed there was a substantial amount of money missing from the shop. Worse, she couldn’t get in touch with her business partners. 

Within a few days, it became clear the other couple had skipped town with almost all the profits from the bookstore, and they’d also left a trail of financial messes for Nancy and her husband to clean up, including tax evasion.

Maybe you’ve been where Nancy is. Perhaps a business partner walked out and left you alone, or you’re facing different but equally serious business setbacks—like getting fired by a major client, being diagnosed with a serious illness, or losing your business in a natural disaster. 

In these moments, it’s hard to know what to do. If you find yourself feeling lost, here’s what to do to start finding your way back…

Take the Time to Process

The worst thing you can do during a crisis is to run from your feelings. If you try to bottle them up, these feelings will come out in other ways. Usually, these are self-destructive activities like overeating, drinking to excess, or medicating yourself.

Instead of how you feel, talk it out with God. In Psalm 62, David instructs the Israelites to tell God how they feel about their circumstances openly.

8“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8) NIV

These conversations might not be pretty. But God already knows how you feel, and you’ll never say something that will surprise Him.

Remember, your feelings aren’t good or bad. They’re just emotions, and you may feel a whole range of them. You might feel denial that this is happening, worry over the future, or anger over the situation.

Don’t Think about the Future

When business setbacks strike, it’s tempting to look at the big picture and freak out. You might wonder if you’ll lose your home. You may worry that you’ll never be able to rebuild your reputation or be happy again. These fears are normal, and they’re part of walking through business setbacks.

But as a Christian, you also have the assurance that you’re not alone. God is with you, no matter what your crisis looks like.

2“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)

Focus on the Next Thing

When you’re going through business setbacks, focus on the next thing you need to do. Perhaps you need to call your prayer group and get your name added to the list after losing several big clients. Maybe you need to call the insurance company to file a claim if you lost your building in a natural disaster.

It may seem like there’s an overwhelming number of things to do at this moment. But all you have to do is pick one. Choose one small task and get it done. Keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Practice Self-Care

During business setbacks, it’s important to take time out for yourself. This means ensuring your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met. Try to eat healthy foods that energize your body. Go for a walk in the sunshine. Color or do another calming artistic activity.

This may seem like the worst time to practice self-care, but it’s actually the best. You need to be at the top of your game during this crisis, and you can’t do that if you’re not feeling your best.

Don’t be afraid to set aside ten minutes to do something relaxing. Cuddle with your pet, focus on your breathing, read a short devotional, stretch, or watch a funny video.

Finding your way back after going through business setbacks takes time, so be patient with yourself. It will be a long, winding road with plenty of twists and turns. But you’ll get there, and when the journey is over, you’ll be glad you kept moving forward.

How Will You Overcome Business Setbacks?

Business Setbacks

Cynthia had struggled to get her online business going for several months. But she had difficulty with her focus and often felt overwhelmed. She was constantly tired and couldn’t seem to make her thoughts come together clearly. 

Then she was diagnosed with thyroid disease. The doctor explained that her low hormone level was likely to blame for her “brain fog” or inability to concentrate and difficulty putting her thoughts into a cohesive order. He also shared that her sluggish thyroid was why she felt tired and weepy.

Once Cynthia started treatment, she felt terrific. She was no longer felt constantly tired. She had energy each day, and she looked forward to every new morning.

But just as Cynthia was finding a new groove and starting to build her business, her husband abandoned her and her three children. Suddenly, Cynthia was at a point where her business had to make a profit immediately at the same time that she was beginning to navigate life as a single parent.

Have you ever been where Cynthia was? You felt like you were in your groove. You were on your way to achieving an important goal; then, something made the brakes screech to a halt. 

Now you’re left wondering how you’re supposed to deal with this latest setback or obstacle. The good news is there are a few things you can do to turn this obstacle into an opportunity…

Reframe It

When you encounter a setback or obstacle, you might be tempted to turn it into a catastrophe. You say things like, “I knew this would happen! Nothing goes right for me, and I can’t do this!” 

Instead of looking at this problem as the end of your journey. Challenge yourself to see it differently. For example, you might repeat to yourself the truth of this verse… 

13“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

You might also find the words God spoke to Paul in 2 Corinthians encouraging,

9“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

These verses can remind you that you’re not a helpless victim in life. You are an overcomer (Romans 8:37) who has the Spirit of the Lord working on your behalf (Romans 8:28).

Make an Action Plan

Now that you’re in a positive state of mind, it’s time to deal with your obstacle or setback. You need to start brainstorming solutions. Ask the Spirit for wisdom, then grab a sheet of paper or your favorite smart device. Try to list 20 possible ways you could deal with the situation.

Not all of your solutions have to be realistic or even ideal. The important thing is that you begin brainstorming and thinking. As you stay open to new ideas, you may just come across the perfect solution.

Ask a Mentor for Help

If you have an action plan but don’t know which option is the best, reach out to a business coach or spiritual advisor you trust. Share what you’re walking through and your top three solutions. Then ask for their advice.

Be prepared to listen—even if you don’t like the answer. Your coach or advisor may have a suggestion that you hadn’t considered before. Don’t be quick to dismiss a new idea. You never know who the Spirit might speak through!

Facing an obstacle is never easy. But you can overcome anything that life throws at you by the power of God working through you. 

Take heart from Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians,

8“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

What Could You Dream Up Now?

Facing business setbacks gives you the chance to dream a new dream. Maybe you’ll pivot in the services you offer, try selling a new product, or experiment with a marketing technique you’ve never tried before. Here are some ideas to help you as you start to dream again…

Get Clear on What You Want

Business Setbacks

It’s easy to focus on what you don’t want. For example, if you’re leaving a bad client, you may swear off all client work or working with certain types of clients.

While these blanket statements may make you feel good, they don’t help you create more of what you want in your business. This is where a vision board can be helpful. You can use one to create a positive image of the new business path God is leading you on.

The vision board you make can be physical—you can grab magazines, books, and other old media to create yours. But a vision board can also be digital, and you can use a website like Vision Board to design yours.

Set Small Goals

With your vision identified, it’s time to begin setting goals. It’s smart to keep these goals small and easily achievable. When Jackie decided to publish educational printables, the first thing she did was set a goal to let go of two clients to make room for her own projects on her schedule. 

It’s OK if your goals seem very tiny at this stage. Remember, each step is feeding into your larger goal. By creating a string of small goals, you’re setting yourself up for easy victories. As you accomplish more, you’ll start to gain momentum, and before you know it, you’ll have achieved your big goal.

Find the Support You Need

As you focus on overcoming business setbacks, surround yourself with Christian entrepreneurs and business owners who can encourage you. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

You can’t do it all, and you’ll need the support and love of others around you to accomplish your vision. Not only that, but you’ll have people to reach out to when you need advice or prayer. 

While you can certainly succeed in your business or life as a lone wolf, the truth is that approach isn’t healthy. God designed us to crave community for a reason – because He knows the body functions best together. 

18“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (1 Corinthians 12:18-20)

It's Time to Rebuild

Rebuilding your business after a setback isn’t easy. But you have the smarts (and the power of the Holy Spirit!) to do it. Embrace this season of rebirth in your brand.

Remember that simply saying you’d like to do something isn’t enough. You can’t wish for change or hope it comes together. You have to create a plan (a vision) and pursue it with courage. Consider God’s words to Joshua before he set out to become the leader God had called him to be.

9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Grace and peace,

Alicia

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