Filling Your Dance Card in Hard Economic Times

by Pepi Ronalds

18 Reader Comments

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  1. This is easily the most important factor in this list. If you think about the balance of things over time, you have to come to the conclusion that those who just work a few hours a day (because they make 3 times as much per hour) will eventually fail when times catch up, either because there is 1/3 of the work, or because there is 3 times the competition. It’s just common sense. Also, who the heck wouldn’t want to make 3 times as much now when they can?
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  2. Great insight, but I don’t entirely agree with the “Full Work Day” comment, above.  Quality of time outweighs quantity of time any day of the week.  I do agree that the strain of this economic heart attack will put onsite employees/contractors under the microscope, so if you’re in that situation you had better straighten up and fly right.  I believe freelancers and offsite employees/contractors can continue to enjoy the benefits of being scored by their results, rather than their time cards, if they keep their wits about them. The part about shutting off distractions is key: start work early with a list of tasks for the day and knock them out with as much focus and resolve as your caffeine soaked brain can muster.  It’s not about working less because you make more, it’s about working fewer hours at a higher level of output.  Get your day’s work done by lunch time and spend the rest of the day “finding the love” or mining your networks.  This works at the office too, if you spend your free time on quality points, like helping other project teams, putting on creative sessions or mentoring junior creatives.
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  3. Pepi, This is a great article for people who work for a sound company, and want to make sure they do all they can to keep it that way. I’m not sure everyone is in that position though. bq. ...ensur[e] that your every move positively affects your company and your clients. I’d add a third party you need to positively affect: yourself. Here in London I see a lot of poorly run web businesses that may not survive the crisis. Working your arse off for these guys—only to lose your job when they downsize, or go under—might not be such a good strategy. It’s important to make sure that you’re benefiting from the work, as well as the company and the client—experience, portfolio, relationships. Personal projects are good too. And ask the boss how business is going—if you’re an employee, it’s your right to know.
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  4. bq. Set a personal target: generate at least one idea per client per day. I’d find this hard to do. When I’m working on current projects, most of my attention goes towards them. I feel that the chnage of focus by thinking about clients whose projects aren’t current would result in less productivity.
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  5. Technology aside, one of the most important bellwethers in web contracting is keeping an eye on the Accounts Receivable. In these difficult economic times, it’s an unfortunate but necessary aspect of the business to make sure your clients don’t go long on your invoices. If your Net 30 accounts start turning into Net 45+ realities, you need to consider disengagement from the client and a move to a new source of income.
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  6. Thanks everyone for your comments. I agree it is hard to generate an idea a day (per John’s comment) especially when you have your mind on less abstract things - like running a business or a project.  But it’s kind of like going to the gym - you have to exercise that capacity.  At first all you’ll come up with is lame ideas - but after a while the creative process gets going and vooom!  You’re an idea’s machine ;-) Also agree with Jonathan - you always need to do what’s right for you and if a company or an employer isn’t worth it then they’re just not worth it.  Having said that, when I think back on my career and the perceptions of various people I’ve worked with on their workplaces I think the idea of a ‘worthy employer’ is dependent on your life experience.  What I’m trying to say here is before you decide your employer isn’t worth it, just make sure that they *really* aren’t worth it.  There’s nothing like the benefit of hindsight to see how good something actually was.  I think this approach is particularly important in the current economic environment. Right on for the smart work day Dustin - and yeah, if you can do more work in less time then you should be remunerated for that too. Jim you’re so right re making sure the money is coming in - afterall, that’s one of the key reasons that we’re all here.  Your advice to keep an eye on clients and move on if they appear to have trouble paying is well worth considering. OK - enough of this distraction - let’s all get back to work!
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  7. I am among the despairing underemployed and found this article very encouraging and perhaps even therapeutic.  Joblessness leads to a dark sort of self-absorption.  Hours are spent second-guessing decisions I made for former employers, which inevitably leads to doubts of my own competence: had I turned left rather than right, would I still be working? This article reminded me that I was indeed working competently, and even excellently; and that joblessness isn’t always personal.  I always believed in the “suit up and show up” philosophy—the full work day, communication, etc. are good not only for appearances, but also serve as personal yardsticks of performance.  Looking back, I know I was disciplined about these things; therefore my recent dearth of work is more likely due to the tight supply of cash than my shortcomings. Also, I agree whole-heartedly with the “spread the love” idea: my old colleagues have been life-savers by getting me work connections.  We should remember to get each others’ backs!  
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  8. This article is something that i agree with. and rewards at the workplace are undeniable and the main thing is the satisfaction you get from applying it at work. There is somthing to be said for a honest days pay for a honest days work. Its just what any employer asks of any employee.
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  9. There is a great article located on our blog that discusses how SEO is less affected by the downturn in the economy because it is seen as economical compared to PPC or media buys.  I think there is definitely hard times on the horizon since no matter how economical a service is, if it can’t be supported by the economy and its businesses it won’t matter.
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  10. Great article—but missing one point.  It’s very important to also look at other opportunities in the market both for your company, and for you personally, especially during down times.  It’s a good time to develop new niches and take advantage of any edge you have at a time when potential competitors are hunkering down and avoiding new projects.
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  11. I think i have read a lot of thoughts and articles like this one. These are not hints, these are your own thoughts and a company has to do what it has to do; a company must not follow any rule if it wants to succeed. The only rule it must follow is: be free, get focused and keep moving.
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  12. Some of the information you provided is obvious, but it is not always obvious to many people that they have forgotten these tips and need to be reminded. I own one of the best Portland carpet cleaning companies and something I have learned, that is true to almost every business, is that people forget their customers. Many business seem to always be searching for more and more customers, without mining their gold mine. Their gold mine is all of their current and past customers. Yes, look for new customers, but do not forget to follow up with the customers in your database. Just by following up to say, “Hello” can create tons of revenue. Great information…Thank you!!
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  13. I strongly agree with the author’s points on knowing the company’s scope and vision and communication. After all you bring value to the company if are effective in achieving their goals. If the company decides to get leaner, they would highly consider keeping someone with that type of value. As far as communication is concerned while it’s vitally important you communicate well with your superiors and colleagues, you should take the extra step to communicate and develop relationships with the company clients. This goes back to my first point of bringing value to the company.
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  14. In these hard economic times the sales pitch has should take a back seat to sincerely caring for your client’s best interest.
    I work in the financial services industry and - as opposed to my co-workers - I leave the sales pitch out and focus on my client’s needs first.
    With the wealth of resources available on the Web I’m sure most of our prospective new accounts have heard a mountain of sales pitches before they find our website…why would I want to assault them with more of the same?
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  15. I think it’s important to remember that the question isn’t “Will the recession end?”, but that it’s “When will the recession end?”  Right now, it’s best just to think about how to get through hard times, really just to figure out a way to ride the recession out.  Unfortunately, some people don’t have the resources (i.e., savings, partner’s income) to get them through, and this economy can really devastate them.  I really feel for those who are losing their homes, savings, etc.  You gave a lot of great tips, and I really hope they will help get people through these difficult times.
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  16. and lots of good input in this thread. I’d say that it’s important always to pay attention to your customers, and to look at where your company is going. That said, in any case, it’s most vital to ensure that, no matter what happens, you land on your feet. If that means studying further on your own time, do it. If it means building up a little clientele of your own, so be it. If you’re the company owner, it’s vital to look at where you’re going when “what if” happens. The what-if’s are the future scenario for Plan B.
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  17. One thing that we should know early, but sometimes get knowing late, its how to manage time. How to accept the right jobs, how to refuse that ones that you can’t deliver in time, or that you can’t handle. I know, all it’s question of communication. But sometimes people expect to much on you, or they want things without argue in a very short time. And they think that internet is a work with more techinic and less creativity (which we know that its more both), so they think that we have to be faster, and faster. But I’m telling it for one reason: we can’t make mistakes, and we can’t deliver late our projects, and not knowing how to manage time, and how to tell people that time is needed, you’ll be taked to make mistakes and delay your jobs. How quickly you take control of this, you’ll be able to control your career. One of the other things that I learned recently, its that sometimes you have to review the value you give for the things. Sometimes you think that you love your job but you don’t really love your job but the idea you made on it. And loving the idea don’t make you the same. It just can make the opposite, as making you hate your job when you see that it isn’t as the idea you made for. So you have to think about what you really love, and go after that, without fear. And if you see that you don’t really love what you do, find what you love and change, its never late! But doing something that you enjoy, that you like to research about, it’s essencial for sucess.
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  18. I’ve conclusively found in my own life that the amount of hours put into any particular activity is going to yield some fruit.  Thuse the quantitative argument put forth here rings true.  On the other hand, I can be rather distracted when working on a project.  I’ll run multiple monitors at a time and it’s easy to find one of them constantly tracking my email/rss feed/facebook account.  This decreases efficiency and I end up getting a lot less done.  So the qualitative argument holds true.  A blend of both seems to be true.
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