If you think you can be recession-proof you’re an idiot and should immediately unsubscribe from this newsletter or feed. Months ago when the ‘credit crunch’ began there was a flurry of teleseminars and newsletters talking about how it wouldn’t affecting anything or anyone and we should all keep clapping until Tinkerbell comes back to life. Then when the commercial paper markets and credit default swap markets collapsed everyone seemed to wake up a bit more. The abundance mentality of always more, pay it off later, leverage it to the future generation has brought us a whiplash. Dark humor pervades the blogosphere with sites like brokers with hands on their faces. And to write it off as just bad vibes and buzz-kills is to be completely wreckless with your future success.
Highly recommended: National Public Radio’s This American Life did a show on the financial crisis that left me feeling much more informed about what is going on: The Giant Pool of Money (transcript). There’s a few parts in there that might make you dry heave. They had such a response from these two shows that they’ve started a free podcast specifically about educating the rest of us on the day-to-day events as they unfold: Planet Money Podcast. I also want to highly highly highly recommend you watch Elizabeth Warren’s analysis of economic trends of household spending and income in last several decades. If you do business with customers in the US you need to be aware of these trends and how they are affecting families. Also useful is WaPo’s analysis and if you need a laugh read about a visit to Robert Allen’s ‘No Money Down’ seminars.
My biggest concern for bloggers is that the recession-depression-downturn is going to cause a pull-back in online advertising spending. The marketing blogs are battling this argument out right now, some saying that overall ad-spending will decrease and others countering that print and TV will decline but online ad spends will stay strong since they are easier to deploy. But problogging has always hinged on compelling writing, an enthusiastic audience and advertisers willing to pay for access to that audience. This has always been a hitch with focusing directly on the ad-based type of blog income. If click-through rates go down or spending goes down there will be a flood of inventory and no one around to buy it. Some say that an economic downturn will bring more people to blogging as they focus on their next careers and invest in themselves or simply need a way to blow off steam.
But here in Silicon Valley there has been a rash of layoffs (Dell, eBay, TicketMaster, Yahoo, AdBrite, Heavy, Glam, Zillow, Mahalo, Rev3, Seesmic, Lulu, Gawker and the list goes on) as companies tighten their (seat)belts for a lean winter of discontent. This has brought back the old ‘blogging is dead’ meme that seems to be on a 9 month boomerang.
Blogging isn’t dead or dying – just different. When I’m doing a seminar, usually towards the end someone asks about the future of blogging and is it just a fad and I’ve always maintained that it will merge into greater trends. These trends include social media and consumer-generated content – stuff made by ‘real people’ (what we used to call ‘folk art’). The money to be made may be shifting but the trends of anytime, anywhere, always-on, always-archived instant global self-expression is here to stay.
And the tenuous political situation here in the US isn’t helping any either. I can’t stop watching the news, can you? Each day it is ‘oh look, there’s a bit more on the bottom of the barrel, scrape scrape!’ I feel like the world is holding it’s breath to see what happens. I told Ron if they back the trucks up while he’s flying back to divert to Canada and I’ll try and get through the Underground Railroad.
Time to Cultivate
So if sales are down, leads are disinterested and everyone is being a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer what do you do? Start working on the Next Thing.
Now is the time to start developing your new intellectual property. I’ve had some ideas buzzing in my cortex for several months now and am going to start entertaining them on my blog and here in the newsletter. I need to refresh my courses and seminars and re-align them to the current landscape and get cooking on some new book deals. Focus less on the desperation of making the sale and more on the inspiration. Go back to what inspires you. I’ve missed my seminars and classes and educating people on how all this techie-stuff can improve their lives and businesses. I’m entranced by this stuff. What turns you on? You only have so much control of the chaos swirling around you – how can you batten down the hatches and still lay the groundwork for something new?
The best slogan for networking I’ve ever heard is, ‘Dig your well before you’re thirsty.’ Hopefully you’ve excavated a little bit but by building out your network and contacts now you’ll be priming the pump for when things pick up again. Things will get better. But when they will get better remains to be seen.
Your turn: How are you dealing with the election waiting game, the global financial meltdown and other signs of the End of Days? Leave a comment…