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  • Diana Schneidman

Why bother?

Lately I’ve been working with someone who is a tad pessimistic.

Actually, he calls himself a “realist.”

He follows the stock market and the political scene and he says there are no solopro (freelance and consulting) assignments out there. Every business is contracting, not expanding. No one is hiring. No one has any money to spend. And if they are hiring and spending money, they can get it done cheaper overseas.

Yes!! That’s what I love to hear!!!

It’s officially hopeless.

Now I can go back to doing what I do best: watching TV. Now’s the time to watch all the recorded TV shows collecting e-dust. Then I’ll wile away a few hours on Bravo, home of inane reality TV.

And to make a good day even better, I’ll munch on chips and dip.

I love bad economic indicators. They save me more time than computer upgrades and carry-out dinners combined. Because if I didn’t know in advance that nothing will work, I’d have to waste time marketing.

Now for the negative side: Unfortunately, marketing effort still succeeds.

I’ve written previously about the miracle of making 1,000 calls. Phone 1,000 individuals who are valid prospects for your services, and freelance / consulting gigs will magically appear. It’s like some kind of David Copperfield trick.

Even when “the big picture” implies that marketing is futile, that simply isn’t the case.

Marketing is not without risk. Even after 1,000 calls it is theoretically possible you will have no assignments. (OK, maybe the 1,001th call will be the lucky one.)

Or you risk proving that your theory of life’s futility will prove wrong. (I hate being wrong, even when I’m making money. Sulking is so much fun.)

And even if somehow you don’t get work now, you risk that by putting out the fish hooks, you will eventually catch the big ones that are still upstream. You’ll have a tested list of contacts, and better yet, people will remember you when they have work to be done in the future. (Unless you believe the economy will never pick up.)

The other day I was talking to a friend who offers virtual assistant services to the realtor market. Now that’s an industry we all know is in the crapper.

But surprisingly, her business is growing and she’s not slashing her rates to grow it.

No matter what we think we know, every industry has people who haven’t thrown in the towel. They continue to compete and they continue to spend money on their business in order to compete more effectively.

We tend to think the marketplace is flooded with talent, but when we ourselves look for talent to hire, it doesn’t seem to be true.

Take website developers. It seems like a lot of people are in this field, but when you talk to marketers, it’s amazing how many people are waiting for their web person to finally do the work they’ve promised.

In short, talented people who meet deadlines are in demand, no matter what the headlines imply.

Originally posted 11-3-09

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