Helpful Hanks Advice and Handy Hints, Deals and Bargians: Re-thinking our jobs Bolg Post #6
Hello all, Helpful Hank Here, Today I want to talk about Reinventing how we make our income. Here in the valley the unemployment rate has jumped to 10.3%. I understand it’s the highest it has ever been or the highest it has been in years. If you are unemployed it can seem like you will never find another job.
In this economy companies are just not bringing in new staff and are reluctant to fill needed vacant position choosing rather to train and teach employees that they have to be able to handle the jobs of the laid off, filling only positions that are necessary.
Unemployment rates seem to be cyclical. I find they change about every 4 to 8 years based on my experience. We have just come out of an eight year cycle that started us off on top, companies were hiring the economy was good. ( the pervious eight year cycle put us there) As we progressed through this last eight year cycle jobs became more and more scares, The unemployment rate jumped and continued to grow to it’s highest rate ever.
This particular eight year cycle was particularly nasty. Some people ride it out as best as they can others take the reins and decide to chart their own course. Both can be equally difficult.
Riding it out is not easy. Sure our economy is starting to pick up ( slowly) but, what have you done to make your own economic situation improve? Things will get a bit worse before the get better. That old adage that it is always darkest before the clouds lift is true.
What id those clouds could have a silver lining? They can it is up to you. You can do things to improve and make your income better. It won’t happen overnight but they seeds you sew today can grow into something wonderful.
Right now we see an increase of Work from home opportunities and it is difficult to find one that is legit or that you can actually make an income from without 1. laying out a good amount of money to start. 2. Actually make enough money to survive on.
Growing a small business is tough enough. Growing a small business in this economy is even tougher. Here are some thoughts and Ideas on how to get started based on my experiences.
When starting your own business I feel it is best to use all avenues available to you and there are many. Take a look on the internet to see who else is providing the type of services that you are looking at providing. Figure out what you can do to set yourself apart from the heard. Look at what types of social networks might be the best to use. Google search networks (Example graphic design networking.) to see if there is a networking site that pertains to what you want to do. Use all networking sites you can to market yourself.
It is important to look at what your natural abilities are. For instance if you are an office worker who has lost their job think about freelancing your services. If you are a techie do the same, freelance. You can freelance most services. You can buy a domain name for as little as 0.79 cents these days and you can even buy simple software that will allow you to set up a page for your domain name. If you can’t afford such software then use social networking sites to set up a web presence to offer your services. Right now I have a client who is using My space as a starting point. We have set up a business profile for them and they have already had several people check out their page as well as friend them. Doing this yourself will cost you nothing but time. In conjunction with this make sure that you are taking advantage of the many temporary placement agencies to help support your endeavors. Always make sure that any assignment that you choose to go out on will in someway help you to further your own goals. (I have actually turned down assignments because the pay and time involved was such that I would be losing money. I have also taken assignments that even though I might lose a bit of money the company that I performed the services for might be of some benefit to me as far as a reference for my own business. The benefit of working temp jobs is that it can help keep your skill level up. When signing up for a temp agency take every test you can that will show what your skill level is. Use this as a base line for your skill set. If your test scores are high then use that to your advantage by marketing it on the social networking sites. If like me you are in the expert range of excel then say so on these site. Leave a business card with the person(s) on the job site so the remember who you are and the work you did while there.
In this economy we have to look outside the box but, this is nothing new. Great mind have always approached life this way. We have to combine our efforts and open our options.
The one. Key thing in all of this is marketing ourselves. It is not as difficult as it seems. We have many free marketing opportunities that are available to us. Social network marketing is one of the best ways to market yourself. You can get your name out there along with the services you provide at no cost except for time, and it can be time well spent. With sites like Twitter, Face Book and others you can leave short little notes promoting your business, posting them several times a day.
It is going to take time but anything worth working for ( a stable income and career) is worth having. Cross promotion of yourself is important. Why would you color with one color in a crayon box when there are 64 colors? Use all the social networking sites you can to promote yourself. You will not use them all the same way, but use them. Again, Sites like twitter and face Book are good for short blurbs about you, what you are trying to establish and, where you want to go with it. Twitter is especially good for this. Google search the phrase Twitter Getter. This is an online source for generating a following. A bigger following means more people seeing what you have to offer. Sites like My space or The Private Membership are good sites to set up your virtual storefront. Use these sites to set up your business profile. Join or start groups on these sites that are related to what you are doing. If you are a freelance electrician then join some of the groups that are for the electrical contracting community (My Space has a few.)Then, use sites like face Book and twitter to market it and yourself.
Gone are the days of walking up and down Main Street and handing out your resume. Time is more wisely spent marketing yourself on line.
Educate yourself, learn new things. A year ago, I knew nothing about creating web graphics, today I sell my creations on sites set up for exactly that. Again, think outside of the box. Learning new things and be patient with yourself while you do this can vastly increase your potential for making an income. It might take you in a direction you never thought possible. As you learn new skills, you will find the skill that you excel at and in turn offer those services as well.
Do not be afraid to offer your services at no cost to charitable organizations. Not only can you claim the time (and any expense you cover) as a donation on your taxes but word of mouth is powerful. If you do this, ask for a letter of recommendation from the organization or even just a one or two line sentence that you can post on your different social networking profiles or web site for your business if you have one.
They key to moving forward and getting to where you want to be is in how you look at each day. For me I approach each day as if I were working a 9-5. I take time to map out and make a list of what I want to accomplish every day. I check those Items off once the task is completed for that day. My workweek though doesn’t always end at five or stop on the weekends. I know it takes more then that. Starting with a 9-5 base is just that a start. The more you but into it the more you can get from it.
Taking regular breaks helps to keep you focused. After you have been on line, on the phone calling agencies for three, four hours your eyes can get fuzzy so step away and take a break come back with clearer eyes.
Make sure that your day included some exercise even if it is just short walks a few times a day. Sitting behind a computer all day can be hard on your body so Stretching is a great way to help with that.
One Final Thought, I’m a work in progress as are we all. What works for one person may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to try different things. The fact that we keep trying to find a better way on this journey is good. If the Idea excites you, figure out how you can make it work for you
To my readers, any tips you have on this subject that you would like to share send them in I will happily pass them on and try them out myself.
Well that’s all for now
Hank’s Helpful Hint:
Make a list of agencies you are listed with and call them each Monday letting them know you are available for assignments that week this keeps you fresh in their minds. When going to agencies for your first appointment always present yourself as a professional whether you’re a dish washer or accountant dress for success (as you would for a job interview). In addition, when ever you have to stop by the agencies dress in Business casual. (As you would on a job.)
Stretch Stretch, Stretch. At the end of the day your body will thank you.
Some site to market yourself on.
Helpful Hank is written by Russell E. Bertlow © 2009 All rights reserved. No portion of this blog may be reprinted in part or whole without the express written permission from Russell E. Bertlow