Deep Breath Time – Surviving The Recession

main1.jpgIt’s 9:00 a.m. on Monday morning. You have your cup of coffee and you sit down at your computer; time to check the email. And it’s it’s warming up, it’s logging on, and it’s checking, checking… checking an-n-n-n-n-n-d, there’s nothing. You decide to check again because there’s probably something wrong with the server. ——- Still nothing.

You take a deep breath- no email isn’t that big of a deal.   You’ll spend a few moments checking job boards. Board #1-nothing. Board #2-nothing. Board #3-nothing; in fact-there’s been nothing new on this board for two months.

You begin to hyperventilate.

This has been the same scenario for two weeks now. You’re wondering if you can get your old job back. Yes, you called your boss a balding, stupid, lazy idiot-but that was a while ago, maybe he’s forgotten. Your friend is quitting her job, maybe you can leap into her space.

Stop. Take another deep breath and begin to think clearly. No one ever said working for yourself was going to be easy. All businesses face tough times but you have to be a survivor. Remember all the advice that you’ve given your clients and remember all the great work that you’ve created. It’s time to put all of your talent into yourself.

First, don’t take the set back personally. Everyone is experiencing pains right now and the lack of work has nothing to do with your capabilities.

Secondly, keep working. Whatever you do, do not give up. Do work on commissions, reduced rates or even volunteer. Anything is better than nothing. Your mind will stay active and who knows what other great leads or ideas you may stumble across.

Start reading. Read every trade magazine/journal for your expertise. You’ll ensure that you have only the most up-to-date information and these publications can be an incredible source for business leads. You’ll know who’s expanding, who’s shrinking and what new projects are on the horizon.

Touch Base with all of your old clients. Make sure they remember you and the fantastic work that you performed for them. You might hit at just the right time when they could use a little help.

Start cold-calling-become the salesman that you never wanted to be. Selling yourself can be the most daunting task but you have to become a superstar. Remember, the worst that can happen is you can be told no. We’ve all heard that word before and it’s not that bad.

Expand your skills. Use this time effectively, if you’ve never built a website, try. If you’ve never submitted to search engines, do it. If you’ve never designed a database, give it a shot. The more skills you have the more marketable you become.

Remember, this too shall pass. The economy is based on peaks and valleys and what goes down will come up. Be ready for the next upswing.

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Ebay – saying one thing, meaning another – Will the Fee changes backfire?

Ebay gathered up all their top buyers today to hand out the good news – they’re lowering fees. This is where all the Ebay sellers are supposed to jump up and down, praise the Ebay overlords, and head home to start listing everything in their house, because this is such a fantastic opportunity.

What they’re not supposed to do is actually sit down and figure out what all the new changes are actually going to mean. Ebay and Beyond, (along with various other sources) actually did sit down and do the math, and fees are actually going up in the 40-50% range. Because while Ebay did throw the dog a bone, by giving free gallery images, and lowering insertion fees, they also have raised commissions. So it may be a little cheaper to put your item up, it will cost you more when you sell it.

Of course, none of this touches on the fact that sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers, which leaves the entire Ebay system open to anarchy. Ebay sellers live and die by their feedback ratings, now buyers have all the cards. I think we can all agree that there are criminals all over Ebay, I can only imagine how they’ll utilize this to their advantage, and how many honest sellers are going to get burned.

I realize that Ebay is a juggernaut, and a lifeline for thousands of small businesses. However, I never thought that the sales opportunities offered by using Ebay, ever outweighed the fees, hassles and utter nonsense that often comes along with it.

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The Recession is Coming – Now What?

main.jpg“I’ve Not Failed – I’ve Just Found 10,000 Ways That Won’t Work” – Thomas Alva Edison

I stumbled across this quote, at the bottom of a chain letter actually, and as soon as I read it all I could think was: “That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it.” 

The economic news gets worst every day,  over 2 million people are going to lose their homes to foreclosure,  and Wall Street is in full skid, with the Dow losing over 4%, the S&P dropping 5.4 % and Nasdaq dropping 4.1%, just last week. 

We’re all reading the news with knots in our stomach, but inevitably, what are you going to do, roll over or roll with it? Do you give up or get smart? 

The news isn’t all bad.  Reuters is reporting that 1 in 4 small/medium sized business in the U.S. have at least 1 position that they can’t fill.   That’s alot of jobs.  Yahoo Finance reminds us that there was a 6 year high of $29.4 billion in VC investment in 2007.  That’s alot of money. 

I’m not suggesting that we throw on the rose coloured glasses and pretend that the Emperor has clothes, but the sky isn’t falling either.   This is the time for preparation, not panic.  If you’re employed, figure out what you’d do if you lost your job – could happen – have a back up plan – you always have to have a back up plan. You could start a whole new career, you could start a new business, the back up plan could actually become the best thing that ever happened to you.

If you already own your own business, this is just the time to play hardball.  Find new markets for your products/services, and sell like you’ve never sold before.  Let your market know you’re the best and never back away from it.  Keep your competition in mind, but envision them as small dots behind you in the race.  Ask for help when you need it, learn to say no when you have to, and make your suppliers treat you as well as you treat your clients. 

This isn’t the first recession, it won’t be the last.  Our grandparents survived, our parents surived, we’ll survive.  But there’s no reason for this to be a time of just survival, handled properly, this can be a time of change and transformation.