Unemployed? Got the Recession Blues? Jump Start Your Career Today!

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I recently quit my job at a large cable company after working there for 2.
5 years due to political issues on the job.
My boss thought I was nuts when I told him that I was going back out on my own (in the recession) and my wife was ready to kill me.
But, I have owned businesses for over 25 years and been through multiple recessions and bad times.
Some things were my fault (call it ignorance, or bliss!) and some things weren't.
The point is - I have learned what needs to be done to make it in business (and in recessions) and I am going to share what I have learned with you: The important part was that I went in with a plan.
I knew my computer repair services are in demand, even though many people are doing it (some not that well, mind you).
The interesting part is that although many people need help with their computers, they may not know anyone (or don't like their current IT support), AND they don't know who to turn to.
Enter opportunity! I knew all I had to do was get myself out there and become known to many people.
So I promised myself that when I was not working on someone's computer, I was going to promote my business.
After all, failure is NOT an option when you have a family, kids, and a mortgage, right? That was my plan - and I followed through with it.
I literally started over again after quitting my job.
After 4 months of following my plan, I had enough business to keep me busy pretty much all the time, and I continue my efforts at marketing myself whenever I am not busy with other people's computers.
I always look for additional opportunities to add to my income streams (NOTE: this is a key to making it in the recession!!).
Do not rely on just one product or service - get involved with at least two or three.
How do you market yourself on a shoestring (no money)? Make sure you have a product or service that people need or want (and can afford).
Don't rely on what YOU think - ask other people.
Don't let people shoot you down, but it is not smart to market a product or service that has absolutely no chance, either.
Remember the four P's of marketing - the right Product (or Service) for the right Price with the right Promotion at the right Place.
If any of them are missing you are shooting yourself in the foot.
Decide who your market is - do you sell to 30-45 year old women? Men? Teenagers? Senior Citizens? Get a business name - try to have what you do in the name of the business.
McDonalds sells burgers and is one of the largest companies in the world.
We know what they sell because we are familiar with the company.
Our small businesses do not have that luxury - we must start from scratch.
One of my business names is "Find My Website" and the other is "Mobile Tech Computer Repair" - pretty straightforward, right? Get a phone number.
You can use a market expansion line from your landline provider for about $35 a month (forwards to a current phone number - nice because it can go in the phone book yellow and white pages from your phone book company(s)), or just add another line to your cell phone plan for $10 a month and get a free phone while you are at it (stay away from data plans for now - you don't need them to succeed - it's a want to have, not a must have).
Get some business cards from Vistaprint - they are cheap and have some great looking templates for business cards.
As tempting as it is, don't print out your own cards.
They do not look as professional and people can tell the difference.
It also is not worth the effort or the cost considering for a couple dollars more (literally) you can have them printed professionally.
After your cards arrive, go to a networking web site based in your area (like networkingphoenix dot com) and join that - go to as many networking events as possible.
The website I mentioned sells passports for $10 for 30 days - many of the paid events are free with the paid passport.
As you start making money, join organized networking organizations like BNI, your local Chamber of Commerce, etc.
Use your memberships in those groups, especially the Chamber, to get to know other people and businesses.
Go to their events whenever you can - no excuses.
Become an advocate for the business people you get to know - give them referrals and/or use them yourself.
They will reciprocate, but it may not be right away.
These things take time.
If you help others, others will help you.
Find a power-partner - someone whose business you can promote regularly and they can promote yours.
This is a "natural" partner, not just a partner because you are friends with the guy - for example: a contractor and an electrician, or a plumber and an electrician, etc.
Find a business that would be a natural promotional relationship and cultivate it.
Become community minded - help out where you can.
Join the Lions Club, Rotary, or other worthwhile organization or volunteer at the local soup kitchen once a week.
You will meet new people, start new relationships and open new opportunities.
You never know what or who you will find.
Here are some other low-cost advertising ideas: 1) Take out a classified in your local newspaper or shopper.
Make the wording attractive but get to the point.
The first sentence (or title) has to hit home or the reader will skip your ad.
What are they looking for, and why? 2) Make up some flyers and hand them out to businesses (go cold calling).
The flyers must have a special or coupon or offer of some sort or you won't get a response.
3) Go to every single directory on the Internet you can possibly think of and list your business - both in industry specific directories and general directories.
Most offer a free listing with upgrades to paid listings.
4) After you are starting to see some success, get a website.
Go back to all those directories you listed with in number 3 and add a link to your website.
Then get your website optimized (Google "SEO definition" for more information).
No sense having a website if no one can find it, right? It can cost a lot in the beginning but the payoff can be huge after just a few short months.
Talk up your business to everyone you know.
Everyone you meet is a business opportunity.
It is okay if you don't feel right about it or don't do it "right" the first time or even the hundredth time - each opportunity is also an opportunity to practice your networking and marketing skills.
Listen to your potential and current customers - make changes if necessary but not just because one person said to (unless it was one of those DUH moments!).
Good luck, and don't give up.
Never sail on depression because the money isn't coming in (I am good at that, trust me).
Make yourself keep going.
Money is out there to be made.
Make those tough decisions and get yourself and your products/services out there so people will know to do business with you.
DISCLAIMER: The legal hurdles to cross when starting a business are beyond the scope of this article.
Please consult the proper authorities (banker, accountant, tax agencies, etc) to help you.
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