unboxed marketing

group therapy for marketers and business owners

what’s your plan b

Posted by Steve Buchholz on March 14, 2009

we all need to create a plan b when plan a is still working

we all need to create a plan b when plan a is still working

I think we all have a similar Plan A: Do something we enjoy, make a living, and provide for our families.

It’s unfortunate that the first part of that plan doesn’t usually work out, and I admire people who perform jobs they don’t like to fulfill the latter (and more important) two parts of the plan.

As we are seeing right now, Plan A is crumbling below our collective feet. Thousands of folks are losing their jobs across the country, and who know when the recession will bottom out. During the past few weeks, I’ve talked to a bunch of people who have lost their livelihoods. Many of them are now lost themselves, unsure what’s next after 15, 20, or 35 years at the same job.

Many of these good people don’t have a Plan B and they are scrambling to put one together. For some, the new plan might be retraining for a skilled job such as plumbing. For others, it might mean pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree or a teaching certification. For others, it might mean tapping into their passion for yard sales and opening an Ebay store.

All of those choices are noble. However, I think when we wait for a crisis to create action, it’s much less likely we’ll end up doing something we truly enjoy. Instead, we do what we can to pay the bills and keep our chins above the waves.

Instead of waiting, create your Plan B while Plan A is in effect. Can you take night plumbing classes now and work plumbing jobs on the side? Can you earn that degree online, studying after the kids go to sleep? How about starting a small Ebay store now, learning what sells and what doesn’t so you’re ready to roll if you actually need to make a living at it?

So, what does this have to do with marketing? Everything. It’s about You, the Product. We can’t rely on our employers to keep up employed, to keep us providing for our family. It’s up to us to create markets for ourselves so we’re prepared when things fall apart.

None of this is easy. But it’s better than the alternative.


4 Responses to “what’s your plan b”

  1. AdMan said

    A friend once told me that you get paid for what you do based on how many people can do your job. Digging holes with a shovel for a living? Well, you are probably not going to make much since there are quite a few people that could dig the same hole. If you happen to be a brain surgeon, well, you get the picture.

    Most people train themselves to be nothing more than a commodity, easily replaced. They learn a job, get complacent,stop investing in themselves and then scream to the high heavens when they can’t find a decent job after being let go. I hear the usual “such and such is all I know” refrain time and time again.

    Here is the key to making sure your plan “B” is a rousing success: Learn to be a great Salesperson. I don’t mean in the literal sense of going out and trying to sell cars for a living. Learn how to sell YOURSELF. I have seen far too many people that didn’t land good paying jobs because they where “outsold” by someone else. Someone else that many times didn’t even have their qualifications.

    I have a 10th grade education but earn more than most people because of my ability to sell MYSELF. I don’t say this to impress you, but to impress UPON you how important this skill can be. Don’t for a second think that just because you were not born with “the gift of gab” that you can’t compete with that other guy with the quick wit and bear-hug personality.

    Learning to sell yourself is a process just like any other. Take it one step at a time and practice, practice, practice.

    Step ONE: Read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. It is the absolute bedrock of personal development.

    Step TWO: Start applying what you read EVERY DAY!! You WILL see results immediately! Trust me on this.

    Again, I am living proof. I was working in a go-nowhere retail job 15 years ago trying to sell a VCR to a well-to-do real estate agent when he told me about the book and what it taught him. I couldn’t even afford to buy it so I checked it out of the library. I read it and started practicing my new skills. In a very short time I was able to DOUBLE my income, not by more formal schooling, but by learning to influence others.

    The wisest investment is ALWAYS an investment in yourself!


    • Adman: Thanks for the great insights. You are correct. It is our responsibility to make sure we are marketable. I second your sugestion on Carnegie’s book. It’s a fantastic how-to guide.

      Steve Buchholz

  2. […] show matched nicely with some of the You the Product thoughts this blog has written about in recent days. I don’t think you can be too worried […]

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