I decided to write this post while at the 2014 Small Business Academy last week. Why? I was listening the speakers and I realized I only wanted to meet someone from two of the organizations represented today. I don't want to hand my card to everyone. (Someone actually did this, shamelessly.)
As I have become more seasoned as an entrepreneur, I realized some things are not for me. Two of those things: coffee and massive networking events.
Here are 5 reasons why I hate networking at huge networking events:
1. Someone assumes that they know all about me and what I do. It never fails at each event someone blurts out, "I already have an accountant! " or "I prefer to use Turbo Tax.". The truth is: I am relatively new on the scene. I am here to make new connections, that's it. Keep calm... please.
2. I am handed a business card, and there is an expectation I give mine back. I only go to an event with 5 cards. And I give them out with a certain level of snootiness. I listen to the person to see if there is any genuine business interest in having my info. If there's no interest, why bother? And unofficial reason I do not give my card out is I receive enough spam and unusual newsletters already.
3. Some folks just talk too much. I admit I ask a lot of questions, so I can listen for a need for sort. But I shouldn't know your how life story after asking, "What do you do?"
4. Those sticky name tags are the worse. They never stay on! Also, people just try to read your name tag to figure out who you are. How about you just ask me what my name is? At some events, the name tags are color coded. In those situations, I always pick a random color just to screw with people. Sometimes the colored name tags identify me as prey for some sales people.
5. No one likes to follow-up except insurance agents. I always hear the" I need to meet other entrepreneurs." and a bunch other statements from those who say they want to network. I meet these folks all the time, but they don't call back or respond. WTF!
I usually stick to smaller events that based in communities throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Why? I get better leads. I meet great people every time. And I get the best word of mouth testimonials from these groups. So I am sticking to my gatherings, breakfasts, and lunches at co-working spaces, local non-franchise restaurants and coffeehouses.
If you have a strong dislike for networking events, read this article. It gives some tips to help those who absolutely hate networking. It also links to another article called 10 Tips for Successful Business Networking.
Thanks for reading my rant! Hopefully you got some useful information out of it.
Jéneen R. Perkins is a freelance accountant and consultant serving entrepreneurs, families and small businesses. She prides herself in being fluent in plain English instead of “Accountant-ese”.
Are you done being upset yet?
Unfortunately, being responsible means doing the hard stuff some times. Now you have to implement a plan that will fit your new circumstances. This is the hardest part, decide what expenses get cut and who gets paid first.
If you have been reading my blog, first of all I want to thank you. My readers have been a ear to my money concerns and triumphs. But if you remember, I started this blog as financial journal about my financial position in life. My first blog post was about the plan I put together and how I would implement it. Now you will see how I reconstructed it. I also included some tips that could help others who are not in the exact situation I was in. The numbering continues from the previous blog post.
6). Start fresh: Get some coffee (or whatever), and a computer.
After what I went through the day before, I was in no condition to create a job search agent or crunch numbers (weird huh?). So I got up at my usual time, powered up my trusty laptop and turned on my tea kettle. As the kettle warmed, I began to think of where I want to work and what I want to do there. I jotted down some notes. For some reason, actually writing my thoughts versus typing helped me crystallize my ideas. Then I pulled out that resume I updated yesterday and began to research the market. Salary.com is a great site to get background information of job you may want and also your monetary worth. Set up job searches (or agents) on some of the site I mentioned in the previous blog post. After all, that is what everyone else is going to tell you do anyway.
7). Decide to pay Paul, Peter, or no one at all.
When I began this blog, I had a very rose colored view of my financial future. I had a timeline set for my financial freedom and plan I was actually living up to everyday. Now it’s black and white, not even gray. Some stuff will have to go and I will have to make some sacrifices.
I was originally on a plan where I paid debt with the highest interest rate first. I paid balances down and had only two credit cards left. Now I have about half of the income I was accustomed to. So I have to try a new budgeting technique. I decided to try the 50-30-20 method. There are two reasons why I selected this method: 1).It seems feasible and forces one to make some sacrifices and 2). I love the work of Liz Weston! The 50-30-20 budget states that your necessities should total about 50% of your after tax income, while your wants total 30% and debt repayment and savings amount to 20%. My income is now $1,236, therefore my new budget limits are $618(50%), $371 (30%), and 247 (20%). I will have to see how this will work in the month of November 2012.
8). Turn some skills into cash flow
While you are looking for a new gig, why not create a new part-time job for yourself. Everyone on the planet possesses a skill or talent that is beneficial to someone else. Why not get paid for that talent? Are you great with kids? Maybe you should look into nanny positions. Are you a math whiz? Consider becoming a tutor. Athletic and love sports? Coach a sports team in your community.
I am good with creating budgets and scheduling bill payments, etc. So, I added a new service for my business: money management. I priced the service to be affordable for low and moderate income individuals and families. I also love telling people what they should do with their money LOL!
9). Attend a Professional Networking Event
Even though you do not have a job, it does not mean you cannot mingle with other professionals. You represent yourself now. Get some business cards printed for about $10 at Vistaprint.com. In Milwaukee, there a few organizations that offer some FREE networking events. My favorite one is FUEL Milwaukee. But others I am going to check out this month are Translator and Northwoods Software’s Fall Business Kickoff.
10). Do Something Fun!
If you are not ready to face the world yet, stay in and have a movie night (preferably a funny one!). But if you are suffering from cabin fever, take $50 and go out and have some fun. After all, you deserve it!
It has happened to some of us: being fired or laid off. I wanted to include some statistics about how the average adult experiences this so many times in a lifetime. Then I thought about it and realized it wouldn’t help. Who cares about how you are becoming another statistic! Who needs a speech or a quote about how “everything’s going to be ok.”! Reality has slapped you in the face and now you want to swing back, right? You need a plan for you to keep moving forward.
So after you clear out your desk, what do you next? Obviously, you leave the premises. But what do you do when you get home? Having a strategy is essential to any change, improvement, or progress, especially in dealing with unemployment. The purpose of the strategy is forcing you to evaluate the circumstances from all aspects, the most important being finances. This a moment when being fired can force you to be financially fit.
I have some tips created based on what I did after I was laid off in October 2012. I know that my outlook may be different than others. However, I believe my experience is teachable moment. But here is an outline what I did the same day I was let go.
1). Get everything you have coming to you!
If you have not kept track, find how much paid-time off benefits have left. This includes unused vacation and sick days. Also find out if you will receive a severance package. Some employers offer severance pay if you have been laid off. Also, now would be the time to find out when your health benefits expire (if applicable). Be sure to ask about any retirement options in which you are enrolled. Leaving or moving retirement accounts and benefits is a critical decision to make in regards to your financial future. Finally, mark on a calendar or set a reminder in your email or phone of the day that you will get your last paycheck.
2). Let it all hang out!
Get all emotions and thoughts about what just happened out of your system. Do not hold it inside. Get it out so the dust can settle before your next move. The first person you should tell is someone who is the most important in your life. After all, you are going to need them now, more so than ever!
3). Brush yourself off, build your network and use your resources.
As soon as you can, update your resume! If you do not have one, use this template or build one on job board sites like Careerbuilder.com or Monster.com. LinkedIn and Facebook are also good places to start a resume. A good book in times like this is The Resume and Cover Letter Phrase Book by Nancy Schuman (ISBN-13: 978-1-4405-0981-0).
Ask for a letter of recommendations from previous supervisors, direct reports, and anyone who was in a position to mentor you. These letters will give you insight to how others value you and what you can ask for in the job market. Granted, I am not a career columnist or expert. Yet, I do know the power of a well written resume and cover letter and a list of contacts who can verify my “awesomeness”.
4). File for Unemployment.
Most states have made it convenient for former employees to file their initial claim. In some states you can submit these claims online. When your are calm enough, get your most recent paystub and last year’s tax return out and file your unemployment claim. Having this financial information will prepare you for any questions you make have to answer. It also prepares you for the next day.
5). Don’t do anything else, just be YOU.
After you ranted and raved, gathered information, updated information, and submitted information: RELAX. Just for a little while. Give yourself time to pull it all together so you can be more effective the next day. TAKE THE REST OF THE DAY OFF!
"Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is" is a journal about real life experiences and answers to tough tax questions posed to Jéneen R. Perkins, Owner of Eclat Enterprises, LLC