by Lisa Barone on 04/17/2009

 Out of Work

Are we really going to spend our entire Friday talking about Oprah’s caps locked Twitter debut? Or invest more time discussing Ashton Kutcher and his one million followers publicity stunt? Seriously? Do you ever think that we’re wasting far too much time on stuff that isn’t making us any money or helping anyone? And maybe that’s why you lost your job/can’t get clients/haven’t produced anything exciting recently?

For the past few months you’ve had an excuse for when life didn’t go your way. Every time you borked something that you were maybe never qualified to do in the first place, you had THE perfect excuse just waiting to be pulled out.  It was like the economy dug its own hole just so it could bail you out in your time of need. W00t!

You couldn’t pay your mortgage and your house was foreclosed on? Don’t worry, it wasn’t you, it was the recession. You lost your job and now you’re stuck at home cruising Twitter ‘looking for a new one’ all day? Don’t fret. It wasn’t you, it’s the recession. Can’t find new clients so you’re left bitterly blogging that clients suck and the frauds in the industry are stealing your dollars? Calm down, pretty, have a cookie and take a nap. It’s the recession.

Actually, it’s probably not the recession. It’s probably you.

On January 19th I became an entrepreneur, despite the crap economy. I stopped relying on a company to support me and my cats and instead learned to hunt for myself.  And because I’m smart and I work hard and I surround myself with people who challenge (and threaten) me, I haven’t gone hungry (yet). But I’m not alone.

Entrepreneurs are ruling this recession.

Why? Because they’re hungry and they’re motivated. That means they can’t spend their whole day getting caught in the fame game or in office politics. It means when they go to a conference or a networking event, they’re not there for the booze. They’re grabbing handfuls of business cards, talking to people, and then following up. And they don’t just say they’ll email you after the show. They really do. Actually, they email you as soon as they get home. They’re nurturing leads and finding clients and creating opportunities. They’re marketing themselves. They’re not tuning in to Oprah this afternoon to get Twitter tips from Ashton Kutcher.

In fact, there’s not even time to whine about how unfair the world is and how this recession is taking away their business. Because they’re out there finding business from places you wouldn’t have even thought to look. Or maybe you would have, if you worked as hard as they do. That’s the thing, people don’t want to work. They want a job and a paycheck. And those cushy jobs with those cushy paychecks are the first to go. Because really all those people are doing is taking up space. So it’s not so much that the recession came around and took your job, it’s that you allowed yourself to become expendable.

no whining

You want to ‘survive’ this recession? Stop talking about Oprah and do the following:

  • Learn something new. Go beyond your bubble and learn how to do something that makes you stand out. Be it HTML, PHP, blogging, SEO, etc. Whatever that one thing, or that combination of things, is that makes you more competitive and stronger than the person next to you – learn it and do it. Hard.
  • Work harder than everyone else. I don’t mean longer hours or just saying you’re working, I mean really work harder. In general, the working population has done a stellar job at getting lazy and thinking that job security was no less fictional than the Easter Bunny. There’s no such thing as job security, there never was. Unless you own your own company. If ‘job security’ is your fallback plan, well, then I hope you didn’t buy a house with that.
  • Do the leg work. Follow up on everything. Every lead, every call, every email. And do it in a timely manner. Don’t make excuses for why you can’t or why it’s not worth it. Just shut up and do it. You’ll never be anything more than what you are right now if you don’t take it. The only thing more frustrating when someone drops the ball is listening to all their excuses for why they dropped it.
  • Surround yourself with fighters. Most people are lazy and a waste of your time (sorry, but it’s true). Cut them loose and seek out the other fighters. They’re easy to recognize because they’re online at 3am just “finishing up”. They’re the ones who “get it”. They’re self-starters. They’re trying things, even if those things fail, they’re still trying them.
  • Take risks. We’re in a recession, right? Technically you have nothing to lose if everything is supposed to be shit anyway, right? Create that Web site you’ve secretly been wanting to. Launch that business. Just do it. There are a million reasons why right now is a bad time, maybe even the worst time, to get involved with a new venture. Ignore them all.
  • Shut up. Yes, you. Stop whining. This has been my biggest lesson as an entrepreneur. Yes, the hours suck, and it’s scary, and sometimes all I want to do is put a blanket over my head. But that’s too bad and not going to happen, so I should just shut up.  And it’s almost working. Rae and Rhea report my whine level is down to 85 percent, with 15 percent actual intelligible conversation! W00t, growth!

And before I get flamed, I’m not saying there haven’t been people legitimately affected by the recession. I know that there have. Good people who have lost their jobs because the economy is in the tank.  However, I think A LOT of people are beside themselves to finally have an excuse for why the world is out to get them. The world is not out to get you. There are rainbows and butterflies and bunnies all around you. You can either keep complaining how about The Recession is some Blob-like creature taking away your clients or you can break open the box, see it as an opportunity and create your own success. The choice is yours.

Have a killer weekend.  And stay away from Oprah.

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Comments
  1. David Gardner says:

    Great article Mike and so true! We demonstrate this every day–hustling to find new clients–hustling to find that consultant the clients will like. It’s invigorating to be in charge of your own destiny and get paid for it.

    Dave

  2. Absolutely spot on, clients are out there just waiting for you to dig through their roadblocks and present solutions. It is not easy but persistence really pays off and the best clients appreciate your efforts and will reward you! It is a new world for those of us lucky enough to be in sales and enjoying what we do.

    • Thanks for taking the time to read this and comment, Mike. I think you’re absolutely right; I just broke into an account yesterday that I’ve been trying to penetrate for 2.5 years now. Not only did I break in; I got an exclusive! Persistence is key…someone that told you no today may change their mind down the road. Taking the right approach and recognizing the difference between persistence and stalking is monumental.

  3. Tom Chambers says:

    You nailed it Mike! Fantastic post!

    People need to wake up and realize that everything is there for the taking and all you have to do is go get it!

    I can’t stand when people throw out excuses anymore, especially the recession!

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