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Online Business Blog

News and information about online business, marketing and sales. Published by Chuck Vosburgh at Pro Techniques.

What the new Digg Site Means to Your Business

Chuck Vosburgh - Thursday, August 26, 2010
The popular web site, has launched its redesigned site this week with one new feature that is important to business owners - RSS Auto-Submit. Getting an article on Digg is a great way to get a major increase in your traffic and helps your search engine ranking. The problem was that it was a good bit of work to submit your articles. Now it can be automatic. Here's how:
First, you'll need a free account, then in your settings you can add the address of your feed into the import feeds section. That's it. Of course you'll need an RSS feed and compelling content. You do have those, right? If not, e-mail me or call and I can help you get set up and get you help with the content too.
Time will tell how beneficial this will be, but I am convinced that it will be big.

A plan for extended unemployment

Chuck Vosburgh - Thursday, July 22, 2010
The New York Times reported today that Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke projected the unemployment rate would remain well above 7 percent through the end of 2012. If you're among the unemployed, that is very bad news. Although another extension for unemployment benefits has been approved, the question remains; what if I don't get a job soon? It's been said that unemployment is the mother of entrepreneurship and that might be the answer.

About ten years ago, I heard a presentation on the topic of the future of jobs in America. He predicted that eventually there would be no permanent, full-time jobs. He went on to say that we all should get prepared to become our own salesmen. Although I didn't dismiss the idea altogether, it did seem very unlikely. Now here we are. If you're unemployed, you need a plan. Self-employment may be your best hope.

I know entrepreneurship isn't for everyone, and if you're like most people, the thought of being self-employed induces immediate stomach pain. I'm not saying you should or shouldn't be self-employed, this is just food for thought. I live in Florida where the maximum unemployment benefit is $297 per week, which is a little more than $15,000 a year. Not enough. Here are some general thoughts to consider:

  1. Have you cut your expenses as far as possible? If you still have cable and a lawn service you haven't.
  2. Do you have a written plan? You need one now.
  3. Do you know when you will run out of money?
  4. Do you have a plan if that happens?
  5. Can you do any kind of freelance work in your field?
  6. Is there some kind of marketable skill that you can promote?
  7. Are you leaving no stone un-turned?

The best part about trying to get freelance work is that you can do it at every interview. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Ask for freelance opportunities as well as employment.
  2. Ask for referrals to others who may need your skills.
  3. Get some business cards. I recommend
  4. Report any income to your unemployment office.
  5. Set aside about 25% of your freelance income for taxes.
  6. Get up and go to work every day. You job is to get work for yourself.
  7. Talk with your spouse.
  8. Talk with a trusted friend.
  9. Stay away from negative talk.
  10. Remember that anyone can be a prospect.
  11. Make sure everyone you know knows what you are looking for.
  12. Network.
Finally, do your best to stay positive. Join Toastmasters, trust me on this one.

If you're among the unemployed, I wish you well in your search. Let's help each other with ideas in the comments below.

PS: Remember the saying that unemployment is the mother of entrepreneurship? It was for me in July of 1986. Self-employment is hard work, but it's the most stable job I've ever had.

Does it seem like you see the same thing over and over?

Chuck Vosburgh - Thursday, July 08, 2010
Take a look at these home pages. They all have something in common:

All five of these businesses seem to have the same staff.

You probably recognized these as a stock photo right away. Stock photos are ubiquitous on the web for good reason, they're fast and cheap. In fact this image came from a popular stock image site and probably cost about $3. The problem is, most everyone else recognizes them as stock images too. So what do you think that does to your credibility? I know, times are tough, and sometimes it makes sense to use stock images. But on a home page implying that these are your people? Come on.

Your image has value. It amazes me how many marketers who would cringe at the thought of wearing a suit that was fast and cheap will do this to their business without realizing it. I say there is no savings of money when your reputation is harmed. In fact, just the opposite. First impressions do count and it's a well known fact that people usually form an opinion about your business before they read a single word. I'm not saying never use stock images, they do have a place. Just don't risk your reputation for a few dollars.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments :)