Business advice

Networkinghas never been so important
December 28, 2008, 2:00 am
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With our world crashing about us, there is only one way not to feel hopeless. You need to have a better golden rolodex (virtual) than the next guy. (I understand that some folks are dong well despite the credit mess. I am addressing this article to the rest of us.)

Networking no longer means scheduling power breakfast or dinner meetings. In fact, you probably don’t have to move out of your seat in front of your computer. You would have to have been hiding in a monastery to have missed the new rage of Social Networking.

There are so many social networks that I can’t imagine the numbers. With my own networking, I get constant invitations to join others. The membership numbers on the majors: Linkedin., Ecademy and Facebook are mind blowing. That doesn’t include You Tube or My Space. The latter two deal more with social issues rather than finding your next position.

There are topics of interest when you login to Linkedin. It amounts to who is discussing what. You scratch your head. I need a job. My mortgage is about to be foreclosed. I don’t have time for this. Questions and answers on Linkedin, allows you to put your expertise out for millions to spot. You may get a job or consulting offer simply based on an answer you write. You may also create a signature line to end your answers with. A signature line (sig line) can list your website, a list of your professional skills and how to get in touch. A very nifty calling card.

The one major opportunity all three have in common is groups. Mind you many networks call them something different. Ecademy refers to them as clubs. They all serve the same purpose as forums did in the past for other online platforms. You can post messages/discussions you wish others to read and add comments to. You can, on Linkedin, post that you are looking for more work/consulting or a full time job. After joining a forum, every time there has been a new message posted, you will receive an email update.

Mass mailings are allowed on Linkedin to your contacts. The system constantly advises you to increase your network. Do you have old classmates or colleagues that may be a part of the system that you haven’t heard from in years? This is the time to connect. When signing up, send out invites to all those who may have a desire to join. The more you are active on any of the networks, the more invitations you will receive from others who are impressed by your comments. It doesn’t matter if you really know them or not. (Although Linkedin, constantly reminds you not to join with those you don’t know.) Once a need for a mass mailing comes up, you can send the same note to all of your connections, as well, of course, to the general population. You can’t think of a reason for this? How about: I need an expert to help me with my mortgage, I need some more consulting work in my expertise, I just lost my job, know any recruiters who work in my area? As you get started, you will think of others.

If you are thinking of: opening a new business, need to expand the business you have, need additional employees, need a consultant, want to just brainstorm, you will find help in one or all of the social networks. Some recruiters use this media as their preferred method of recruiting. There could be job postings out there right now that you are missing out on because you haven’t jumped aboard the social networking bandwagon.

It’s quite painless. There are free accounts on all of these networks. If you want to be very aggressive with your messaging and postings, then you will find the need to pay for more access. I haven’t had the problem of feeling limited yet. If you have thought about it or heard about it and wondered what it was all about, it’s time to jump in. I can’t imagine anyone who can’t benefit from this great networking tool.

I most add a cautionary note. When it comes to platforms on the Internet, they can be very addictive. Don’t find yourself spending hours here without reaping the rewards you were seeking when starting out Be patient and wait for those email updates.

Happy networking.

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Taking a job at lest than your rate
August 16, 2008, 7:23 pm
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Times are tough and it is even tougher trying to find jobs if you are a self-employed consultant, not matter what the field. Wages and fees for projects just keep going down.

I have many friends who consult, write and design various projects for a complex mix of vendors. No one I know can get the wages they did just a few years ago. It is indeed a big conundrum. It is the same for employees.

A friend recently considered going along with a proposed ongoing assignment because it would get her some more credit working in an area where she needed credentials. On the surface, that sounds ok, if you are not forced into making a long-term commitment.

Self-employed people have to dedicate a good portion of their time to finding new clients. Marketing is always a part of the mix. It’s even more so when the economy slows. If you hand over a big slice of your time to a job that only pays pocket change, you may lose out on the right job that comes along and the time to find the clients that will be the right fit. (Lest you think that I exaggerate about pocket change, I’m not. Some writing projects are headed just that way.)

Lately, it also seems as if the trend is the cheaper the pay, the more they want. If you are approached with such a project you might try negotiating how much you are comfortable doing in a week. Don’t agree to more work than you want just to land this job. If they like you, they will be willing to listen to a negotiation. Additionally consider asking for quick payment with such gigs. Back, when accepting such projects, I would ask those in charge for payment to FedEx me the checks. Nowadays, we have paypal to make and receive speedy payments.

There are a couple of other things to consider when taking low-paying jobs. It is very easy to allow this to effect your feeling of self-wroth. You’re reduced to working for a ridiculous amount of money. Keep in mind that this is temporary. Also, if this is a situation where you are working for a start-up or a company that hasn’t built a reputation yet, you might want to take on this project only for the money. You don’t want to add a company to your resume that down plays your other accomplishments.

Do not, despite bad economic times, allow yourself to fall into a trap of continually selling your services for a discounted rate. After once or twice to the same vendor, you can let them know that your rate had been discounted and it is now time to up to a fairer rate. If they are not willing to play along, it is time to move on.

It’s not easy. I know as I have been marketing for private clients for 30 years. You have to trust that your accomplishments and your reputation will bring in the right clients that will keep you on the profit side of your business

If you are continually finding jobs/projects below your acceptable rate, then you might need to find new locations to network. Social networking is an outlet you might not have considered. Check out Linkedin, Facebook, Marzar and

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