Recession?

What are you working on this week? I'm cranking out a bunch of content for a new membership site...

Lots of marketers the past couple of months are using the economic recession as a hook to sell their stuff. "This system will help you profit in a recession..." I'm sure you're tired of it. You can't have a Unique Selling Proposition if it's not unique!

It's not just the internet marketing niche either. I got this e-mail from Experts Exchange (a programming forum) a few weeks ago:

"If you had invested in the S&P 500 just before Thanksgiving 2007, and cashed out just before Thanksgiving 2008, you would have lost 41% of your money."

Boo-frickin-hoo. I lost $30k in cash to the stock market the first month of this year. The value of my home has dropped $137,000 in the past 5 months on a city block where at least 30% of the homes were in foreclosure when I moved in.

One of my relatives was laid off this month, and you know what he immediately did? He didn't feel sorry for himself -- he started looking for another job. He has a savings account that will last him a little while and doesn't have a ton of debt that will eat him alive.

Another friend of mine just bought a brand new car and a house for his wife and kid, neither of them are college educated, they work "average" jobs and they can actually afford the payments.

For my business partner and I, 2008 was our most profitable year ever. I just made close to $5000 selling a 7-pack of PHP scripts, and another $4000 before that selling a 23-page PDF report, using minimal outside advertising. It was almost 100% in-house e-mail marketing. He is close to $100k in income for the year.

We both bought homes this year, and we're both taking our girlfriends to Hawaii for New Years at the end of December.

I don't have to tell you about how there are more cars on the road, more people in lines at stores and in the movies now than ever...

The whole point of a "recession" is to weed out the weak businesses. You can either watch the news way too often, believe the world is going to end tomorrow, and let it depress and demotivate you. OR you can realize that there are people out there giving up (just because they hear bad news) and you can get ahead of them.

You might have already read the story below. It's "The Man Who Sold Hot Dogs!"

There was a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs.

He was hard of hearing so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes so he read no newspapers. But he sold good hot dogs.

He put up signs on the highway, stood on the side of the road and cried, "Buy a hot dog, mister?" People bought. He increased his meat and bun orders. He bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade.

He finally got his son home from college to help him out. But then something happened. His son said, "Father, haven't you been listening to the radio? Reading the newspapers?

"There's a big depression. The European situation is terrible. The domestic situation is worse."

The father thought, "My son's been to college, he reads the papers and he listens to the radio, and he ought to know." He cut down on his meat and bun orders, took down his advertising signs, and no longer bothered to stand out on the highway to sell his hot dogs.

His hot dog sales fell almost overnight. "You're right, son..." The father said to the boy. "We certainly are in the middle of a great depression."

D'oh!!

Do you belong to any clubs or memberships to network and get more ideas, do you know what you want in 2009 and do you know what you have to do to get it? Heck, what can you do differently in the next three weeks that hasn't worked for you this year?

Please comment below, and let me know what you are working on for the remainder of this year. And guys, PLEASE don't turn this into a political or economic discussion. The whole point is that politics and economics won't affect your business unless you let it. Your bad attitude will KILL YOU if you let it.

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Comments (31)

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  1. Mike W says:

    Robert, I couldn’t agree with you more. I hear a lot of gloom and doom, but when i am out and about, it seems as busy as ever. There are always opportunities. You can always do something to make your situation better and even prosper in “tough times.”

    Keep your attitude up. Getting down doesn’t solve anything!

    Mike

  2. Hi Robert

    Spot on! ๐Ÿ™‚

    You are correct. Recession is more like a “normalization” from an era of ever-rampant increases in prices etc. There is no crisis, but there is a small slow-down due to people thinking about x-mas presents.

    I would, however, claim that it is very nice to have a minor break to focus our attention on getting an even better profile during the coming year. Preparations made now can benefit us greatly on a long-term basis.

    Carpe diem. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Recession says:

    Robert,

    I’m working on a report on that very topic!!

    I’ll be sure to send you a review copy ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Andrew says:

    Robert,

    I agree entirely. There are still millions of opportunities out there for people who are prepared to try new things and seek to satisfy their customers beyond their expectations.

    I’ve chosen 2009 as the year I give up my 6 figure “safe” job as a lawyer and start my internet/consultancy business.

    Andrew

  5. Alex Newell says:

    Well I don’t have a TV and don’t listen to anything depressing on the radio so I’m just carrying happily and busily on completing and launching my list building product.

    With a good quality list you can recession proof your business or shouldn’t I say that?

    ๐Ÿ™‚

    Alex

  6. Caleb says:

    Robert,

    Great post. It’s “hell or high water” or nothing at all. You can always do something even when things get “tight”… and I’m committed to doing it too.

    Congrats on all your success this year.

    Later
    Caleb

  7. Chris says:

    Robert –
    Good for you to speak up. I’ve had a similar post for a few days brewing and will finish it up.

    You saved me a lot of energy by saying exactly what needed to be said.

    Thanks again.

    Chris

  8. Mike says:

    I love the doom and gloom talk! It’s whipping everyone into a frenzy that will eat the lesser businesses.

    It’s also good to know that some people can see past it and that you steer your own ship.

    Mike

  9. Bob Stovall says:

    Recessions are the time to increase market share as your competitors cut their marketing budgets. When the economy turns around, you get to keep the increased market share. Cool!

    I’m going out for a hot dog.

  10. JP Micek says:

    Great post Robert. Agree 100%. Only challenge w this environment is the political environment is like that of Atlas Shrugged.

    The gov’t is deciding winners & losers, the market is NOT being allowed to “weed out the weak” as you so correctly point out. Sadly there will be many weak companies which are propped up by the gov’t, businesses that should fail. Even worse, the gov’t is taking over entire sectors of the economy, like the Shadow Banking System (credit card & finance co’s outside regular banks.)

    Small biz owners have the full burden of carrying this marketplace into recovery. The only ? is, will it reach a point where WE have to shrug? Only time will tell.

    Until then, we can only put our heads down like Hank Rearden, and do what it is we do — create something from nothing and perform economic alchemy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Donna Maher says:

    Hi Robert,

    Interesting post… I imagine that a few people who aren’t in your position (wealthy, healthy, wise, always creating income in spite of the economy) might disagree – the disabled, the poor, the homeless. HOWEVER, there will always be those who forget about faith, HOPE, and that nothing ever stays the same.

    There have been depressions, recessions, down times for every market, yet in spite of all of it, people continue to buy, sell, trade, work, change jobs, etc.

    The key is to add better bonuses, smarter ways to get customers, and NEVER GIVING UP no matter what happens in the world.

    I recently added a hugely valuable bonus to my new newbie product – my most prized asset – my own time… a personal telephone consultation for those who order before Christmas.

    I also agree with you about continuing to look forward instead of backward – and keep on creating new and better products and/or services.

    There will always be ‘hard times’ but if we keep our faith, keep having hope and an attitude of gratitude, everything will work to good.

    Have a wonderful trip – and Happy Holidays,

    Donna ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Joe says:

    Yep… there is a depression out there รขโ‚ฌยฆ but who really cares? NOT me… I have always had my best and most profitable times during depressions…

    I expect this one to be no different… with a few exception… I plan to be more focused and work harder then in times past…

    Why.. BECAUSE the naysayers around me expect me to fail… they just dont get it…

    Dont fall for the “wisdom” of the hot dog sellers son…
    The talking heads dont want us to do well, so they can latte say I told you times were bad…

    I have my own “hot dog selling” soriy… I buy and sell Real Estate..

    Well I have this small old house… it needed lots of work… everyone was telling JUST sell it..you’ll never make any money with it…

    I’m sort of stubborn.. I fixed this old house up… then tried to sell it that was 3 years ago… after 6 months it HADNรขโ‚ฌโ„ขT sold..

    someone asked my if I would rent it to them… I did… I rented for DOUBLE what I had rented it for in the past…before the repairs..

    those repairs.. i did, well they are paid off.. this ugly old house now is 25% of my income..

    I DIDNรขโ‚ฌโ„ขT listen to the naysayers who were telling the sky is going to fall in.. you better get ready…

    I’m sure glad the recession finally got here.. so we can weed out the wantta-bees…

    I guess the old saying.. when life hands you lemons.. make lemonade.. after all who doesn’t need a tall cool beverage.

    step on up!…

    Ice Cold Lemonade..

    Fresh Squeezed

    JUST $1.00

    Joe

  13. Damn, I was just starting a press release for my day job company with a “beat the recession” theme. have to rethink that strategy now!

    Nice post though. I get weary of the people that sit around and complain about their plight, especially when losing a job. I feel for them, but they should have been planning on getting laid off WHILE they were employed. Squirrels don’t start gathering nuts for the winter in November…they do it all summer long. But they have small brains I guess.

    I have a great day job, but work just as hard building outside income in case something goes south.

    By the way Robert, what exactly where those PHP scripts you had available this year?

  14. Robert, you are spot on. I just told some friends do NOT cut out your advertising, let your competition do that. This is the time that will separate the real business from the wannabe’s. I cant remember the exact quote but listening to I believe Chet Holmes who rattled off businesses that just grew during recessions of the past.

    Chris

  15. Hi Robert,

    Another nice post from you, I really think I should stop watching the news because some days it always seems like to me as if the world is coming to an end but this post has really got me thinking about some things I was not thinking about before

    Cheers

  16. Gerald S. says:

    Robert,
    Good post. I agree with most of what you said. There is an old saying that goes like this, “When your friend gets laid off, we’re in a recession. When you get laid off, we must be in a depression”. Basically, it is a matter of perception.

    The difference is what you make of your circumstances as you journey through life. I was laid off 1.5 years ago and have managed to get by working part-time and living off savings. The one good thing the extra time has given me is time to work on my web sites and write articles, which I publish on ezinearticles. So, I expect something good will come as a result. In the meantime, as resources allow, I plan to continue to build websites for particular niches.

    Happy Holidays,
    Gerald

  17. Blackberry Storm,

    The “beat the recession” hook in itself is not a bad one. It’s only bad as it relates to the market place you’re targeting.

    In internet marketing, the hook is already overplayed. A hook, by definition, draws people in. And after you see the same freaking “beat the recession” headline over and over again, it no longer draws you in. It’s old hat.

    In other markets where it isn’t being used, it works like gangbusters. However, those markets are growing smaller by the day.

    I just emailed my list the other day and for the first time ever talked about the recession. But I talked about it differently. I said, “for the last 5000 years, here’s what’s happened. Expansion. Recession. Expansion. Recession. And for the next 5000 years, it will continue this way…”

    The point is, recession is a natural part of life. And after recession ALWAYS come growth. So recession is NOT A BAD THING! It’s only how you respond to it that makes it good or bad.

    The opportunities change… that’s it. Same number of opportunities. Same potential. You just have to look for them in different places.

    On december 29th, Robert, Me and our girlfriends will be looking for them in Hawaii as we celebrate a kick-ass 2008!

    I told him we’d sip mai-tais on the beach, but then we both realized that neither one of us knew what the hell “mai-tais” were, lol.

    -Jason

  18. Recession says:

    I’m so proud of you robert!

    in your email you PROMISED a post every day this week!!

    you’d BETTER follow through.. NO EXCUSES or else I’ll never ever EVER read your blog again.

    ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. John Collins says:

    Hi Robert –

    There’s opportunity in every type of economy but if you waste your time worrying you may not see the opportunity.

    I have no plans on closing down my virtual hot dog cart. I may have to change or add to the menu to attract more customers and try different locations to find more traffic but that’s what I should be doing any way. Keep your customers coming back. Most importantly give the best customer support. Remember it’s not just the hot dog it’s the whole experience.

    It’s why I keep coming back to your hot dog cart Robert.
    You always have good hot dogs. I know I’m going to need a handful of napkins because your hot dogs are piled high with value. You constantly add to your menu. If it’s not right you fix it. I have a good overall customer experience. After I buy your hot dogs and walk away from your cart I feel good.

  20. Janis Miller says:

    Hi, Robert ~

    At the risk of being redundant–Great Post–and I couldn’t agree more.

    Seek to make your own life not what others tell you it is. If you do that you will be inspired to find the path that will lead you to success.

    The right attitude really is everything, because it can lead you in the right direction.

    Live with gratitude and joy!

    Janis Miller

  21. Ann Stewart says:

    So well said, Robert and I love the hot dog salesman analogy. The general public believes everything it hears and complains instead of being proactive. If they hear it’s ‘flu season, sure enough they get it, instead of taking extra Vitamin C to prevent it. Same goes for business. Take your “vitamin” of recession proof benefits!

    Bless you,

    Ann

  22. Gren Bingham says:

    Hi Robert,

    I like the hot dog story.

    Regards,

    Gren.

  23. Chris harris says:

    Hi Robert,

    Wot recession? As Robert already knows, the only recession I’ve had is my boot hard drive packing up on me (2nd one in the last 12 months!).

    Please remember to back up, not only your data (Robert and I keep ours on a separate hard drive) but also all those little things you save to your ‘C’ drive then forget about! If you don’t, and its info you need, you WILL find out what recession is!

    Thanks for another good post (and the software!)

    Regards

    Chris (Kent, UK)

  24. Rod Tyler says:

    Hi Robert,

    I read an article the other day about how David Letterman, of all people, commented on this.

    Apparently, a Newsweek poll showed that 67% of Americans were unhappy about the direction the country was going. Really? What exactly were they unhappy about?

    That 94.6% of us have a job?
    That we have air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter?
    That we can walk into a grocery store and see more food in 5 minutes that some people see in a year?
    That most people have a roof over their head and a car in the driveway?

    I won’t bore with the whole thing, but it goes on.

    Basically, they are unhappy because the media says that we should be. If we had no access to the media and only knew what we could see, what would they have to be unhappy about?

    We are only as happy as we want to be and personally, I’m thrilled.

    Rod

  25. dotcompals says:

    Leave the economy alone and do your work as perfectly as you can. Rest all will be good.

  26. Robert,

    Took your Article from EZA yeaterday and made a WSO out of it!

    Check it out @ http://www.BowlofCereal.com

    ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. DonGraff says:

    …Gee wiz…
    (Since we’re in a recession, should I refund all my Buyers?)
    “Ethel, come quick! People are saying there’s a Recession!”…

  28. John says:

    “The whole point of a “recession” is to weed out the weak businesses”

    Really? I thought the point of a recession was to identify the companies that need government bailouts to stay in business so they can continue to sell sub-par product and provide sub-par service.

    I guess I’ll have to rethink my next project…

  29. Jim says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more! I’ve been hit hard by this whole thing but have started bouncing back as I’ve shifted my mindset. My Grandfather told me that if wasn’t for the great depression, he and his brother wouldn’t have made the money that they did over the years.

    Your hot dog story was right on. Better to be half deaf and blind while still making a living than to have your eyes and ears open to the bad news that surrounds us all.

  30. Liz Nichols says:

    I see my friend, Donna Maher has commented that it is important never to give up. I agree that persistence is important if your business is going to survive these difficult times.

    However, it is also important to know when to say when. If you’re not in a business you like, or are good at, it is just as well to give up, reassess what you should be doing based on your strengths, and start over again.

    Recessions are useful in helping us to move toward our strengths. Among the weak businesses weeded out will be the ones run by people who are only doing something half-heartedly or doing a half-assed job of satisfying clients.

    Liz Nichols
    http://liznichols.blogspot.com

  31. Max says:

    I was at lunch yesterday with 6 friends. My December was the most profitable ever. My 2008 was in the top two or three years for income ever. Three of my friends were out of work in their self employed businesses and had to take or want to take another job on. One is back to delivering pizza. One realtor hasn’t had a sale in over 6 months she would take a job if she could get one.

    Weeding out the weak models or stressing the masses might be another name for recession.

    Max

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