September 15th, 2017

Networking in a Down Economy

What is networking?

GothEagle: The word is a joining of the words "net" and "work", both stemming from European stock during the period of about 1200 to 1500. The earliest known printed usage of "network" [net-wurk] seems to have come from Biblical scholars in the late 1500's. At that time it was simply used to describe something that was "net-like," or the arrangement of threads, wires, etc.

Since then there have been several definitive layers added to the meaning:

Present day use of the word "network" and its derivatives can sometimes be associated with situations where professionals are forced to think of new ways to network in a down economy. Recent changes in our economy stem from progressive movements in a direction that is not always good, thus creating the need for citizens to band together in different ways. Networking, whether in a verb or a noun form, can be used to describe:

  • affiliations (network affiliates)
  • meet and greet
  • reseller programs
  • social networking
  • job fairs
  • expos
  • seminars
  • work functions
  • referral agencies
  • community networking
  • affiliate marketing
  • forums
  • emergency meet-up locations
  • speed dating
  • community gardens
  • town-hall meetings

A Day To Remember

Do you remember what you were doing when you heard the news on September 11, 2001? Most do, but some may have forgotten what happened soon after that horrific day. The stock market closed for four trading days after the attacks, the first time since the Great Depression. The Dow quickly fell 7.13 percent, closing at 8,920.70. The 617.78 point loss was the Dow's worst one-day drop at that time.

Moreover, the 9/11 attacks aggravated the 2001 recession, which had already started in March 2001. But let's go back to the early 80's when that recession started, and since then we have had wars, terrorist attacks, the Y2K scare, a housing bubble, the .com bubble and other anomoly events that have created a roller coaster of economic turmoil.

2008 Recession

The 2008 Recession was unique in a way because very few trusted analysts made the right prediction, and in fact told everyone just the opposite - that there was nothing to worry about,. the economy is booming! Laughable debates sometimes took place on TV and radio shows, with some very popular financial forecasters laughing it up and teaming up against the ones who had it right. Sadly, none of our elected officials in Washington sounded the alarm bells either, componding the problem by making bad decisions in the aftermath for the American consumer. A few politicians who did in fact warn us actually warned us after they had already left office, making them look more like outcasts. Among the ranks of well-known financial whiz-bangs who DID get it right were Peter Schiff and Steve Keen.

Peter Schiff, a financial strategist for EPC, participated in several debates in 2006 that were nationally syndicated and was ridiculed on air by his constituents for saying:

"The United States is like the Titanic and I am here with the lifeboat trying to get people to leave the ship ... I see a real financial crisis coming for the United States."

He later predicted the housing crash in 2007 and a looming credit crunch.

Steve Keen is widely regarded as one of the first economists to make the call on an impending financial crisis. Keen was head of the School of Economics, Kingston University, and later won the Revere Award for Economics for his accurate forecast.

"This is how bubbles grow and burst and ignoring debt in this way is one of the great fallacies of modern economics."

Read about who got it right and why we might want to consider what they have to say from now on.

When the 2008 recession hit (December 2007), business owners and customers alike lost confidence in the nature of how business was conducted, as well as the way politicians were conducting themselves in Washington. Because of the extreme conditions, many businesses made bad decisions that impacted customers in a negative way, which in turn impacted where people were willing to spend their money. Leaders on Capitol Hill decided to deal with the problems in the U.S. economy by printing more money and infusing that money into banks and financial institutions. And what did these institutions do with the stimulus money?.. they raised customer fees and paid themselves huge bonuses!

Our economy works like a living entity that seems to live and breathe on it's own, reacting to flashpoints and stimulus around it. Flashpoints are things that happen suddenly or expectantly, such as wars, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and bubbles, and they can have a negative impact on our spending power. Robert Kiyosaki says that in the first 10 years of this Century we have had 3 major crashes. In 2000 was the .com crash, followed by the 2006 real estate subprime crash, and in 2008 the banking crash.

Since 1945, there have been 11 recessions as officially defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The S&P 500 -- the index of widely held stocks used as a barometer for the overall market -- generally has hit bottom six months into the typical 10-month-long recession, according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor's.

And since nobody can tell what the future will bring, all we can do to get ready for sudden downturns is to use our good sense and prepare for the unexpected. The message here - be ready and be ready for anything. Networking is like laying a solid foundation of security with other like-minded individuals in an economic downturn.

Networking in today's economy..

Most people like meeting in person, but our economic system today is global and networking with someone in a far-off location has become so easy that many people are opting for it anyway. The are many solutions for this such as email, text messaging, fax, video-conferencing, and most are free to use.

People living in small rural towns that don't have the digital amenities that big-city dwellers have are practicing the art of "community networking" more and more these days, and it has become so common that it is part of a national movement. Small isolated communities are bridging the gap by putting their businesses and local governments on-line. "Community networking," is a wave that is known by bringing the Internet to people in way-out locations.

"American businesses and local governments in remote areas are now becoming known as the heavy-hitters on the World Wide Web, and some have even become leaders for the innovative ways that rural communities should operate in cyberspace."

Nonetheless, small rural communities still have their fair share of problems. From a business point-of-view, there have been good reasons to do more than just connect small communities to the Internet. For a buisness or government entity to prosper out in the middle of nowhere, logging onto the Internet may now be the easy part, but finding people who are able to use, maintain and fix problems remain to be far more daunting problems.

Why is networking a good idea?

There are many reasons why professionals, job seekers and freelancers should want to network, so let's consider the following:

Looking For A Job?.. Try Networking With Friends & Family - Just blasting out your resume in response to every visible job post isn't always that effective. The reason is that most jobs aren't posted or advertised to the public. The large majority of jobs are kept as internal opportunities within the four walls of a company, only being offered to friends and family of its own ranks.

While most job seekers are spending time uploading their resumes to online services, or sending them out in response to Craigslist ads, they should spending time networking with friends and family where most job connections happen anyway. As far as the rest of the time, well, it should be spent on getting out into the real world and just talking to people and prospective employers. Don't be afraid to simply walk through the front door of a business with your resume in hand and apply for a job.

Wanting to start your own network of freelancers - If you have a particular skill and you want to connect with others that have similar skills, then starting your own freelance network agency is the way to go. Combining your skills with others to create skillsets will facilitate an easier way to get started. Rather than doing it on your own, hooking up with other motivated freelancers will not only bring more technical skills to the table but can contribute with their inspiration.

Expenses are another reason to consider freelance networking. Companies with big budgets can easily compete just by out-spending their competitors, but freelancers have always had a reputation of competing by providing exceptional work. Finding someone who is willing to split expenses and even contribute start-up capital is more than a 'nice-to-have,' it's more like a blessing. It may take some networking sweat as far as research and marketing to find the right candidate, but just know that they're out there, and you'll find them by putting in a good effort. Once you've succeeded in finding the right people, the big dogs on the block are now being given a run for their money.

"A common method used by scammers on Craigslist is to disguise a job description as a 'partnership,' when it's really a multi-level marketing job or closely related scheme!"

If you are advertising a job or partnership opportunity, it's important to accurately define the partnership details. Networking has become wildly popular in recent decades, and it has opened the door to all kinds of opportunity, including opportunities that are realy just scammers hard at work. If you're creating your own network and looking for qualified candidates on Craigslist and job forums, make sure to be honest about your intentions and desires, providing potential candidates accurate descriptions of your requirements. Don't embellish any of the details as far as the job duties, wages and qualifications.

Make sure to also give potential applicants an easy way to contact you, providing your primary phone, email, and possibly your physical address. If you're networking with people in remote locations, take advantage of software technologies such are video conferencing, Skype, Join.me or TeamViewer. You might also consider setting up a camera on your computer enabling potential networkers to see you while conversing. This will make the connection stronger by instilling a genuine sense of trust in yor partners, which in turn may increase the chances of a longer-lasting connection. These solutions are all cheap and easy to implement.

Networking with neighbors in case of disasters (always be ready to network) - Do you have an expertise or hobby that you're good at? Before really tough times show up, it's a good idea to network with a few people in your neighborhood and let them know what resources and skills you have to offer. During the Houston floods, private residents were helping their friends and family by using boats, rafts and other floatation devices which became a critical survival tool. Emergency responders and residents were also working together and were using them for rescue and transportation of people, possessions and animals to dry land on a regular basis.

Put in place a definitive method of communication that will enable friends and family to easily and quickly get in touch with you. This method should be seamless, as with no gaps in the process that make up the lines of communication.

Create a family emergency plan and make sure that your kids understand the plan completely. Rehearse the procedures so that when a real emergency strikes, they will automatically know what to do. In times of emergencies and disasters, time is vitally important, and just wasting a few seconds can result in confusion or worse.

Remote businesses and governments networking to bridge the gap of isolation - Because we are presently living in a volatile society, and a society built around economic speculation where just the act of speculation can cause negative consequences. With the birth of the giant corporation in the early 20th Century came the rise of the stock market, creating a new way to define how our economy works. The stock market left behind its traditional roots of conducting business and became the very reason for the creation of business itself, consequently creating widespread distribution of intrinsic speculation that was embedded into the capital structures of most large American corporations.

During this time, people who specialized in raising and expending public money would collect companies and combine them together into huge new corporations, and for the main purpose of manufacturing stock and dumping it on the market. Businessmen started to make lots of money from manipulation rather than from practical business processes like inventing things, creating new technology, managing a family store or marketing and distributing regular goods.

Terminology

Today, you can add to the complexity phrases like CDO's, OTC's, investment stocks, trading options, bull markets, penny stocks, mergers/acquisitions, Nasdaq and so on.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking site that is used by professionals and freelancers. It is free to use and allows you to build a profile that includes pictures, links, descriptions and more. LinkedIn is indexable by the search engines which means your LinkedIn profile will show up on a SERP when certain keywords are used.

When LinkedIn was introduced in 2003, it came right out of the gates with a more serious approach to social networking. Rather than being a place where people can establish their online social status, LinkedIn became a networking headquarters for business-minded individuals who desired to connect with other professionals. LinkedIn claims to be the world's largest professional network with more than 500 million users in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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