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Will the Sluggish Economy Drive You Back to the 9-5?

I was reading an article from about a week and a half ago on the NY Time site: Economy to Entrepreneurs – Turn Back. The article shares a story about one entrepreneur whose business started to fade when clients started opting to do things for themselves – she made the jump back to the 9-5 lifestyle, and apparently others are too – for the security of it.

Maybe it’s just my “never say die” attitude, but I really don’t think these kinds of folks were worthy of a story to begin with – in my eyes, they’re nothing but entrepreneurial slackers.

Why?

Any good entrepreneur knows that when the needs of your market change, so must your business (and your marketing strategy).

In the primary example in the article, we’re talking about an event management / planning company which seemed to have highly specialized interests. Clients started feeling like it was more cost-effective to deal with things internally.

Oddly, that’s usually not the case – contractors are far more often the cost-effective option over having salaried employees devote time to specialized projects. That’s a selling point I don’t think enough entrepreneurs either understand or know how to convey well to prospective clients.

Rather than work through the tough times and learn how to adapt (by altering her specialty, reaching out to new client bases, or developing a stronger USP), this entrepreneur (and others) called it quits.

So tell me again… why was this a story worthy of being picked up by the NY Times? As far as I’m concerned, it’s not – just people who couldn’t cut it in their game, and the Times is letting the economy serve as scapegoat in an example that’s entirely illogical. Bravo.

What do you think? Am I being too hard on them? Would you quit if things got tough, or do you have the entrepreneurial balls to keep on going, adapting to our everchanging markets rather than expecting your tried and true methods to work indefinitely? I’m sure you can guess which camp I’m in.

2 Comments

  1. Debbie Whiting

    Jennifer,
    I am behind you on this one! In fact, I couldn’t agree more…

    I have worked in International firms as a PR & Advertising Manager and Sales & Marketing Director. I most recently worked for a private Country Club in North Atlanta and was released due to budgetary cut-backs. Rather than keeping my destiny in the hands of folks who don’t have the twenty-five plus years experience that I bring to the table, I re-opened by freelance marketing boutique & am not looking back.

    In my mind, the special event “entrepreneur” was not. 🙂 When times get tough, the first expenses that get cut are advertising & marketing expenses- for any firm. Whether that means an individual loses their job, or whether the projects get red-lined, it always opens up opportunities for freelance marketers.

    In my world, if a company has been doing a lot of print advertising or direct mail, it’s a great opportunity to convert them to online tools- eMail newsletters, online PR, and targeted landing pages. I’m looking forward to a GREAT year!

    Just downloaded your PR Writing eBook revision & look forward to reading it. Best of luck in completing your full revision.

    From my desk to yours…
    Debbie Whiting
    DigiMedia Solutions
    Atlanta, GA

  2. Jennifer Mattern

    At this point I don’t even do the PR consulting and such anymore – strictly writing. But with both lines of work, the slowing economy was actually a positive thing from a freelance / small business perspective. It’s simply cheaper to outsource for companies trying to cut costs.

    I mean, I know the entrepreneurial lifestyle isn’t for everyone – certainly not for those who need the comfort of security or for those who don’t know how to ride the waves. So I can’t say the “news” of this was surprising in any way. It’s just the fact that anyone considered it worthy of a news story in the first place that gets under my skin. It’s almost like a scare story, and frankly I hope most entrepreneurs are smart enough to think for themselves on this one – after all, it isn’t the small business sector collapsing and needing government bail-outs these days. Security? What’s that?

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