Recession Proof Thinking

thinkingby David Bohl

Have you been affected by the recession? I surely have, and so have most of us, right? Our economy has gone through some pretty startling changes in the last year or two.

I believe that how we react to these changes will determine whether we prosper or fail, as individuals, and as a nation. Will you wave the white flag and hope that better days are coming, or will you adapt and overcome? I choose the latter. Whether you call it a “down-turn”, “recession”, “slow-down”, or even the dreaded “DEPRESSION”, the truth is that it is up to you to use our changing economy as an opportunity to excel.

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid.

We’ve all been hearing it in the media. Every other commercial is advertising a “recession proof” this, or a “beat the slow-down” that. The television news has been falling all over themselves covering the recession ad nauseum. If you listened to all this hype you might believe the world was coming to an end. It isn’t.

It’s hard to find quality information on the news these days. What you can easily find is infinite quantities of spin and hype. Don’t focus on the gloom and doom, sensationalist reporting. Stay positive, even if times have gotten tough. You’ll be fine, but you’re probably going to have to make a few changes.

Do Something Different.

The other day, a friend was telling me about his woes. “I’m a union carpenter, and I haven’t worked in six months. I’ve never seen it this bad”, he says. I got the sense that this man was prepared to wait another six months, or more, for things to get better.

In the meantime there are other union carpenters – smarter, more industrious ones who are already making their moves. They are becoming entrepreneurial, and going into business for themselves. They aren’t going to sit and wait for the union to save them, they are going to make things happen now. These are the kinds of folks who will prosper through difficult and changing times while others shake their heads and blame “the recession”.

Diversify:

When money gets tight, we need to re-think our business model. Say, for example, your hours have been cut. You went from 40 to 30 hours per week. It is probably time to find a source of supplemental income. Pick a skill or a talent that you have and market it.

Say, for example, you play the guitar. If you’ve been at it for a while, then you probably have knowledge and information that is worth money. Put an ad on Craigslist, or something similar, and start giving guitar lessons, or start a side biz recommending acoustic guitars for children. Get yourself a few good customers and you’ll be right back where you were in terms of income, and you’ll be doing something different and presumably more enjoyable in the process.

If you’re not sure what to do, then make a list of your skills. We all have them – things like: gardening, tennis, piano, second language, computer, etc. Now put a possible way to earn money next to each skill. Go from there, and you’ll be on your way to leveraging your individual skills to earn extra cash.

Most of us believe that we have made something out of ourselves through hard work, and smart decision making. In this country we have to earn what we have. We aren’t born entitled, and there are no free rides. The economy has made some pretty tough circumstances for most of us. Nobody is denying that, but, it is important to recognize that we are dealing with exactly that – circumstances.

I will never surrender and become a victim of circumstance. We will all persevere and meet these challenges as long as we keep things in their proper perspective. Tune out the hype and negativity, get back to the basics of hard work and opportunism. Let the tough times weed out the defeatists, and we and our economy will come through this recession stronger than ever.

Taking Your Networking Online

by David Bohl

The practice of networking is one of those essential elements of life we often take for granted, since we do it naturally. Essentially, I see networking as connecting with people, exchanging ideas, and building relationships. Since early man, networking has been a practical tool for forming alliances with others to trade and share resources. Today networking can be a business marketing tool or a way for people to connect for social purposes.

I know some businesses that use networking as their exclusive marketing vehicle. It’s a highly effective way for people to build relationships for mutual benefit to either do business directly or to refer business. We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s not what you know but who you know.” Well, networking gives us an opportunity to meet those who can be influential to our business. And I’m sure you’ve also heard that people like to do business with people they “know, like, and trust.” Through networking, you can build the “know, like, and trust” factor as you meet and work with people on an ongoing basis.

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Power Networking: 6 Reasons to Always Be Networking

networkingUp until about five years ago, if you were networking for your business, you would think of attending Chamber of Commerce events, organizations like BNI and LeTip, or professional groups in your industry.

Today, however, networking encompasses not only those types of venues, but tons of online networking sites.

I believe MySpace was the first to create a vast networking website where people all over the world could connect at the click of a mouse. It was soon followed by other “social networking” or “social media” sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, FastPitch, Plaxo Pulse, Merchant Circle, Plurk, and Twitter.

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Networking? Bring Something to the Party

partyWhen you were young, do you remember your parents making a big fuss over what they’d be bringing to the party? If it was a summer picnic, Mom would maybe make a big vat of potato salad. If it was a holiday extravaganza, you can bet the host would be getting a bottle of good wine.

Now you’re grown… and, just like your parents taught you, if you’re attending a party, you bring something. The same is true for business networking – whether it’s in person at a convention hall, or online at a forum that you drop by regularly to participate in the discussions.

Did you ever notice… not everyone who networks for business remembers to “bring something to the party?” And that’s too bad, because those of us who’ve gained clients and product sales via networking know that “giving without expectation” is the real way to gain a following.

Maybe you’ve heard of the Law of Attraction. LOA states that whatever you put into circulation will grow. In other words: it’s all about investments, or what you put in.

Networking is an investment. It’s a gift of your knowledge, your time, and your attention, that comes back to you tenfold over time.

Now, of course you can’t bring a covered dish to a networking event. But there are things that you CAN contribute — gifts to give that will bring you return on investment for your effort:

You can bring your expertise – so that other people can benefit from your teachings.
You can bring your questions - so that others may share what they know.
You can bring an open mind - so that you may learn from another person’s point of view.
You can bring YOURSELF - so that people may get a genuine picture of who you are, what you stand for, and why they might want to do business with you in the future.

Let’s say you’re an electrician, and in your networking travels you come across a person who’s purchased an older home. They want to know if they should upgrade to a higher voltage system.

Your choices are, a. Share with them the truth about what you know, and include details – basically giving away your “trade secrets.” Or, b: Pass them a “virtual business card” and tell them to call you for a quote.

Now, many people would likely choose option b., which is pass the card. But that’s the wrong way to go about it. Why? You’ve brought something, right?

Wrong. Bringing your card is not an investment of your time, knowledge, or expertise. Granted, it’s better than nothing… but a business card alone is not going to help you get known. First, the gesture is self-serving, not other-people serving, which is what you should strive for if you want to become known in your field. Second, while your card may look professional… it doesn’t differentiate you from every other electrician in the crowd.

In a gathering of 50 people, the electrician who takes the time to explain what he knows, point by point, may get 20 people who miss what he said, 20 people who understand what he said but don’t do anything, 8 people who attempt to do what he said on their own, and 2 people who decide to do business with him.

But the thing is: the one who makes the effort will be the one who is REMEMBERED in the crowd. And those two people will tell two people. And so on… and so on. Sure, the electician may not get a swarm of new prospects overnight. But the truth is that people remember other people who share with them, listen to them, and treat them well.

Unfortunately, most networking I’ve been exposed to is all about “What’s in it for me?” And that kind of networking just doesn’t fly in the Information Age!

Whether it’s a bottle of wine for the host and hostess, a dish to pass at a company party, or spending the time to get to know others at a networking event… Bring something! It’s especially important to bring YOURSELF.

Find out what people do/need so that you can be of real service to them instead of forcing yourself and your services on them.

One of the greatest gifts we can give others is our undivided attention. Take a genuine interest in others. Listen. See if there’s a way you can help.

NEWSFLASH: I’ve added another chapter to my life by joining C.A.S.T. Recovery, a Los Angeles based outpatient drug rehab program which specializes in designing highly individualized recovery plans with appropriate professionals to support a client’s health, accountability, and success.

Beyond the Resume: Ideas for Building Wealth in a Bad Economy

istock_000003269650xsmallIt seems like every time you turn on the TV these days, the stock market has sunk even lower and the housing market isn’t looking so hot either. People are getting laid off from their jobs almost on a daily basis and with it being an election year, everyone in America is looking for some kind of a change (no matter who wins the election).

Well, go ahead and take a big sigh of relief because I have some good news to share with you. Even though we’re going through a bit of a rough spot doesn’t mean you just have to throw up your hands and deal with it. Learn how to build your own wealth in a bad economy–and realize that it’s about more than what shows on your resume. Take matters into your own hands and take action now.

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Five Myths about Life and How You Should Be Living It

joy.jpgEvery day, we’re bombarded by television commercials, celebrity spokespeople, and advertisements telling us the “right” way to live.

We are told to strive for unattainable lifestyles and to model ourselves after unrealistic, airbrushed models.

Sometimes you need to step back from this virtual reality and ponder what life is really about. Will that Mercedes or those anti-anxiety medications really make you happier, or are they only temporary solutions to deeper issues? Examine these five myths about how you should be living your life and start living the way you want to live.

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Transparency vs Authenticity in Professional Social Networks

According to Wikipedia, transparency used within the context of business and behavior is defined as: a metaphor—implying visibility in contexts related to the behavior of individuals or groups. Likewise authentic is described as a particular way of dealing with the external world, being faithful to internal rather than external ideas.

With the onset of Blogging and Social Networks such as MySpace and Facebook, the word “transparency” has become akin to revealing all in public. Sometimes casually referred to as “over sharing,” early bloggers talked about everything including their deepest, most private feelings. Photos were being posted on social web sites that revealed drunkenness, partial nudity, or people depicted in violent situations.  Now we have “tagging,” where information can be randomly added to someone’s photo, with or without his or her knowledge.

All is done in the name of being and remaining “transparent.”

How does “transparency” come back to haunt you as an entrepreneur or new college grad looking for a good position at a worthwhile company? (more…)

6 Tips for Streamlining a Project

project.jpgWhether you’re a full time corporate employee or a solopreneur, there have been times when clients or bosses drop large projects into your lap.

Suppose someone hands you a five-pound box of paper and tells you that it’s part of a project that’s due next week!

Or what about if you’re creating a business model for your own company – that’s a pretty voluminous project.

Here are some must-have tips for streamlining the work so that things get done right and move forward according to schedule. (more…)

6 People to Avoid in the Professional World

Let’s face it, the workplace can be like a battlefield. It’s hard enough that you have to huddle in a little cubicle, slagging away every day to support yourself and your family, but you also have a bunch of workplace drama that you usually have to deal with, too.

While this is not true of all work environments, there are some people in your professional crowd that you definitely want to avoid. Learn the traits of these professional piranhas, and stay out of their treacherous pond at work, so you don’t get eaten alive and watch your career go down in flames.

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How to Be Memorable

How many times have you read a quotable quote by a famous person and thought, “I wish I could have such great insight”?

One-liners are often meaningful and memorable, but what about the context they were taken from? While it’s great to be remembered for snippets of brilliant conversation, it’s better to be memorable for being a great conversationalist as a whole.

If you’d like to heighten the value of your conversations, here are some tips to consider. (more…)