Last Friday I learned I was being laid off. I have no ill will towards the my previous employer, they are in a dire financial situation and hard decisions needed to be made. But, like everyone going through this experience, there is always thoughts of why me and why not others. After 18 years with them, I felt things might go differently.
It’s also hard to spin this as a positive. I’ve talked a lot about, as a leader, its okay to show your emotions. Its okay for things to weigh more heavily than others and to have an emotional reaction, even if later you realize it wasn’t the best way to handle the situation. We’re all human and stressful times cause stress reactions. I will never fault anyone for their honest reaction or hold it against them later.
That’s why I can’t put a positive spin on this, cause I’d be lying. In our social media age, we’re encouraged to lie. Lies get more clicks, more views, more engagement. We think its what people want to hear, that one of the worst moments in my career, I am viewing as an opportunity. I don’t see it that way… Right now. In the future, I’ll probably look back and know that things have been for the best. But, in the moment? It sucks.
However, every day I wake up and know this moment in time won’t define me. I won’t let it. I know what I’m capable of and the possibilities are there for the taking. I’ve prided myself on work ethic and perseverance my whole career. I know that no one is going to get up earlier, put in more work, drive with more effort or pursue with more tenacity.
Look out. Cause I’m coming for you.
Coming up in this weeks newsletter:
- Always be harvesting emails and how to get started.
- Local businesses should be focusing their efforts, where to start.
- How to help people who suddenly find themselves out of work.
- Leading versus just managing | Get Better Friday.
Email still rules
If you’re a small business the top two things you can do is collect email leads and focus your local SEO efforts. This guide is great for getting started with lead generation. Your email list is the life blood of your marketing efforts. Having direct contact with potential customers, without an algorithm to contend with, will lead to more bids which will increase conversions. Summed up pretty good in this quote: “Unlike SEO (which can be competitive and complex), social media (which can be wildly inconsistent), and online advertising (which can cost mucho money), email is practically made for marketers. It’s straightforward, predictable, affordable, and easy to use. And with email, you can build relationships that turn one-off customers into repeat business.”
This is true even if you’re just trying to build your personal brand. Considering the current job market, you never know what’s next. Having a list of email contacts for potential freelance work or businesses who might be interested in your skills will help you land more work, sooner.
Contact info over content marketing
Searching around for help with digital marketing as a small business, you’ll get mostly SEO, content marketing, and paid social media guides. Trouble is, being a small business, you don’t have the staff to handle a content marketing push. You could outsource, but coming up with the money in the current economy for freelancers is probably not an option. This is the same for paid social. I read a guide earlier today suggesting to get started with paid Instagram you need a budget of “a few hundred dollars” if you’re going to be successful.
I hate this kind of stuff. Being an owner/operator of a small business means your time is spread thin. Also, to suggest a local business start a blog to help them grow is ludicrous.
If you’re a local small business or contractor looking for the best ways to market your business, focus on local SEO. Spend some time on your Google business listing, making sure all the info is correct along with the right keywords for your business. Verify all the ways to contact your business are there and add pictures. Then, duplicate the work on Facebook, Yelp and any other local business search you can think of.
The main advice I will give you is don’t force all your customers to call you to get information. Phone calls are still great, but give your customers as many options as possible. Email, Facebook Messenger, SMS are all options I would consider. Then, be responsive!
- 9 Ready-to-Go Growth Marketing Spreadsheets Startups Can Use to Boost Productivity I love these kind of posts. These sheets may not make you a pro, but its a start and will help provide a starting framework for how to build and monitor marketing tasks.
- How to Use Facebook Audience Insights for Content Creation | BuzzSumo.com
- Google will now let any business list products on Google Shopping for free – The Verge
In case you missed it. If your business sells physical items, I’d jump on this ASAP.
- From the bottom to the top of the funnel, COVID-19 is flipping B2B strategies
- Overnight digital transformation: Welcome to the year 2025, 60 months early I think we know this is happening. So many businesses were slow on the transformation to digital, thinking over time it would just take care of itself. What confounds me are the companies who are undergoing this change while also laying off huge chunks of their marketing staff. I know marketing is always in the danger zone and one of the first groups to experience layoffs at most companies. But, if you’re going to change to a digital-first company and you’re dumping the only people with social/email/SEO experience?
Keeping connected through layoffs
Severe employment disruption is happening everywhere. I was impacted on Friday last week, along with hundreds of other coworkers. Plus, several people I know at other companies have felt the sting of layoffs over the last 60 days. Whether you’ve been laid off or not, there are a couple of things you can do to help.
- Write reviews and endorsements for people on LinkedIn.
This will help people find work and give a confidence boost. Its going to be hard to find a job for the next 6 months or so and people who are suddenly out of work have had their confidence shattered. Leaving a nice note or endorsing them for skills will help them feel better about what they can offer and that their previous work was recognized.
- Update your LinkedIn
Lets be honest, you let this slip. Whether you’re looking for employment or not this is a good process. There are several areas in LinkedIn you can use to optimize your profile. Linked is a thread with some basic steps to take to improve your LinkedIn profile. Need help with anything? Shoot me a message. Know someone who needs the help? Reach out.
- Find or form a support group.
Networking is vital to finding work. Stay connected with the people who recently lost their jobs. If you’ve been laid off, stay connected with others who are going through the same. Meet on Zoom, start a WhatsApp channel, build a Facebook group or whatever works for your former coworkers. If you’re looking for a group to connect with, message me and I can add you to my Slack channel just for people looking to connect with others looking for work.
Supporting each other is how we get through this.
The difference in leading versus just managing
One of the most important pieces of advice I ever received was, “You can’t manage the way people work.” This is a quote I think about a lot, both for me as I work with other people and how people interact with me. Whether you are a leader of a team, or just working with others (both at a company or just with friends on projects), its important to keep in mind that our diversity is what makes us stronger. If you manage the way someone is working, you are forcing everyone to work the same and creating a monoculture.
Here are the important things to keep in mind when collaborating with someone, instead of managing the way they work:
- Ask lots of questions, peel back the onion.
Find out what’s important and why. You can’t help until you have total clarity on the project. Ask clarifying, open questions, never leading them down the path you would go. Help them find their own path.
- Clear space for them to work.
You can’t do the work for them. Instead, clear obstacles. That could be setting up more conversations or it could be helping them manage other things happening in their lives so they can put the right amount of focus on the existing project. Sometimes you might learn that this project isn’t the most important thing happening. If so, find out how to help with the other instead of trying to leap frog your project.
- Be ready to help, whatever THEY say not what you think. As the project moves forward, be ready to help them in the way they want to be helped.
As someone who is recently unemployed, this can be done on accident by people who are close to you. People naturally want to help, but you can’t help someone by attempting to force them to respond to the situation the way you would (or at least you think you would).
- Don’t find them jobs or search through job listings. This often is fed through your own bias. Instead, help them make connections. Introduce them to more people.
- Don’t be aggressive, just be available when they need you. Its on their terms, not yours.
- Don’t talk, listen. Listen for perspective and details. This can’t be said enough. I know its cliche, but its 100% true. “Seek first to understand, before being understood.”