The worst news as an immigration lawyer, and navigating a recession

Got some crappy news yesterday from our immigration firm.

For the most part I like(d) being an immigration lawyer, but there’s one thing that really sucks to have to deal with. I say “like(d)” because as most of you know, I don’t spend much time practicing anymore, and instead spend my time building tech for Visto.

But I still have a small immigration law firm that handles our files (I just don’t do the work myself).

Maybe that’s a topic for another blog post?

Anyway, yesterday we received a rejection letter from Immigration Canada.

Meaning, we submitted an application for a client, and while most of them get accepted, once in a while you get a rejection.

And like most rejections in life – business, personal, relationships, etc. – it sucks.

It sucks because you feel bad for your client (even if you did as good a job as possible), and in this case, it sucks because we think Immigration Canada made the wrong decision.

Unfortunately, when dealing with government bodies, that isn’t all that rare.

For any rejection, we always make sure to be as proactive as we can:

  • get to the bottom of why we think it happened
  • inform the client asap
  • outline the reasons for refusal, the steps to overcome it and next steps if they want to continue working with us (ie. to re-apply)

But it’s never fun, even if you’re pretty confident the government just made a bad decision.

And over the years of entrepreneurship, I find that you slowly get better at dealing with the highs and lows.

For the first few years, any rejections crushed me and usually caused a loss of sleep for a night. But after it happens a few times, you realize that 1) sometimes things are out of your control, and 2) working yourself up and getting too emotional isn’t solving anything.

If anything, losing sleep is hurting your performance and can just lead to mistakes down the road.

It’s one of many reasons why things like meditation, exercise, etc. are so key – because a healthy body and mind are invaluable.

Along the same lines, I learned some interesting things at an event I attended last week.

As many of you know, I love attending in-person events, especially to grow my network, meet cool people and build relationships for business.

This event was in downtown Toronto and included a panel discussion with 3 big names in the Toronto tech scene.

Really big names.

I don’t normally love panel discussions, but when the people on the panel are smart (they were) and the host asks good questions (he did), it can be really insightful.

In this case, the focus was around tech companies in the midst of a bad economy and how to overcome the challenges that come with it.

2 key takeaways I had:

1. Understand the economy, market and customer really well right now

The reality is the market is down and we may have/be in a recession. But that doesn’t mean your startup or solopreneur business can’t grow or thrive.

Make sure you really understand your market, customer and realize that in these kinds of environments, many people/businesses are not in growth mode – they’re in cost cutting mode.

So maybe instead of focusing on services related to growth, focus on ways you can save those same customers money.

Adapt to the environment.

2. Investors are still out there, they’re just thinking differently

A big concern for many tech founders right now is raising more money, because it’s harder in a recession – there’s less money to go around (not to mention interest rates are up too).

But what they explained is that recessions are also when big companies are started, so investors are still on the lookout. They still have funds they must deploy.

The difference is that they’re looking for startups with a more strategic approach to growth and profitability, as opposed to the “grow at all costs” mentality that we’ve seen for the last 5+ years.

Have a great day, don’t miss my daily updates here and keep grinding.

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