Posted by: danzaland | January 23, 2011

One Man’s Plan

I have dealt with the ups and downs of employment lately. I left a steady well paying graphic design job for a timberframing position. In that time I did a 13 week program about timberframing, worked for 6 months, was laid off, hired back 3 months later, only to be laid off again 8 months later. Should I have left the graphic design position? Probably not. Am I glad I did. Probably. I needed to take that leap at that time so I did. No looking back now.

In that time I have learned a lot about myself and what I want to do.

This is my advice to anybody who is laid off, thinks they are going to be laid off or just dream of moving onto something else.
Take some quiet time and just brain dump, free write, draw or what ever you do to get all those ideas out of your head. Painting the living room, starting that newsletter, walking the dog, writing that book, taking a class about some obscure topic that interested you, anything that strikes your fancy. No limits, no self censoring, get it all out and don’t worry about organization. Just get it out. You can organize it later!

Now watch this:

Now consider the idea presented in Office Space, if you had on millions dollars what would you do with it? Or even think about winning that monster lottery jackpot. Once you party it up for six months and come back to real life, what do you want to do with your time? Watch the Gary Vaynerchuk clip again!

Now realize, we have so many tools available to us now to do jobs and create our own opportunities that it will make your head spin.

As a graphic designer, I realized I needed to put my portfolio online.
I decided on a name, Silerra. I had a logo. I went to GoDaddy and looked up Silerra. It was available and only cost $11.99. I bought it. Next I went to WordPress and set up a blog for free. I also needed a place for images and video. Flickr and Youtube allow you to set up a free account with just an email address. The Youtube account is different because somebody had Silerra already, but I just added dotcom to the name and I was all set. You can go to Gmail of Yahoo for that. Just be sure to have some way to keep track of all those usernames and passwords. Don’t forget to promote this endeavor! Create a Facebook fan page and set up a twitter account, both add additional avenues to drive people to you!

So the domain name can point to the wordpress blog, and for those a little more advanced, you can mask the blog name. You can link photos and videos in the body of your blog posts for extra punch and you can even receive emails! Total cost? $11.99 and some of your time.

No matter what your endgame is, to find a job, create a web presence, or start your own business, I know that this is a low cost way to start you on your way. By using all these tools you create a presence that can sell you 24/7/365. I find it easy to put my web address on business cards and resumes and linked in to easily point people to all my portfolio pieces. To try and read off a web address with wordpress.com or youtube.com/user/name etc. etc. is clumsy and a lot of work. Silerra.com is so much easier to relay to anybody I talk with.

Being unemployed in Rochester, the State requires you to go to meet with RochesterWorks which is an arm of the NYS Department of Labor. On my second go around I was told about the NYS Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). This program allows you to collect unemployment AND create your own small business. Under regular unemployment you are not allowed to work on self employment endeavors.

The SEAP program guides you to write a business plan, work with a mentor to help guide you, and find learning opportunities to shore up weak spots in your business, learn about business in general. There are multiple dates where paperwork is due and finding some ways to fill your 20 hours training takes some creative digging, but is entirely possible. One of the local Community Colleges online course offerings was very helpful. Be sure to check with your local libraries, for there are many programs that different groups do at the libraries.

The Small Business Adminstration (SBA) has many tools and leads to help you on your way. Through the SBA, you may be directed to meet with your local SCORE or SBDC, both of which are Free to use.

SCORE or Service Corps of Retired Executives may also include currently working Executives. With SCORE you can meet with a counselor who matches what your business goals are.
SBDC or Small Business Development Center has paid counselors who can work with you to get your business off the ground. They also have access to a Research Library in Albany that can help you with researching just about any topic you could imagine that could help you and your business.

Both SCORE and the SBDC are available to you no matter what your current employment status, or business or experience in business. To make the most of any time you spend with these folks, have a game plan of what you might want to accomplish at least in your head.

I featured the Gary Vaynerchuk video because I dig his book Crush It and what he has said on his own blog, which I highly recommend you check out. But by reading up on him I found other sources of inspiration like ThisWeekIn.com that has many shows about many topics, which has led me to many other different sites. As you can see it just snowballs from there.

I hope that you too can find your passion and some satisfaction in what you want to do. I hope some of this information has been helpful. I have had two friends recently find themselves unemployed and I have given them this advice. I’m sure some of this information is more pertinent to you and you situation and only you can be the judge of that.

Good Luck and Thank You.

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