Are You Prepared To Be Laid Off? 5 Things You Need To Do Right Now So You Are.


You’re going to be laid off. There’s a damn good chance of that happening. Are you prepared to deal with it?

In my daily perusing of news and entertainment, I stumbled across this article about what one particular woman wished she knew before being laid off. While it’s a relatively interesting piece about one woman’s experience with being let go after a long tenure, I couldn’t help but feel like it lacked any true call to action for people that experience this. Having been a victim of this numerous times, it sparked my desire to crawl out of my blogging cave with the motivation to write a helpful piece so you can avoid the mistakes I made.

  1. Clean Up Your Social. You think HR and recruiting folks are just looking at your cover letter and resume these days? Fat chance. They’re social stalking you, and every post you’ve put out there is fair game. If your Facebook story says anything you’re sketchy about, make sure your privacy settings are where they need to be, and I’d keep the raunchy stuff off of other channels like Twitter or Instagram that are much more public domain. Yes, you have freedom of speech, but not freedom of consequences. It matters.
  2. Up Your LinkedIn Game. I’m still amazed at how many people don’t have their profiles fully fleshed out and up to date. Recruiters are always perusing LinkedIn for candidates, so regardless of how happy or content you are with your current role, keep your profile up to date. Post interesting things. Interact in groups that are relevant to your industry. And if you can afford the extra few bucks a month, go Pro for even more visibility.
  3. Have A Blog. This is the #1 thing I ever did in my career. By starting and contributing to a blog throughout my career, it gave potential employers a deeper window into my background, knowledge, and what makes me tick. You don’t have to be a great writer, just have something entertaining or useful to say. Everyone has something they are good at or knowledgeable of. Find out what’s yours, and easily sign up for a free blog at WordPress or Medium and get crackin.
  4. Always Be Looking. You’re not safe…period. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how smart you are, or how loved you think you may be. You’re a commodity, and commodities are expendable. It can be a financial decision. It can be new management coming in and they want their own people. There are a hundred reasons you can get laid off, and most of them you won’t see coming or think of. Always be looking. That doesn’t mean you’re going to leave, or you’re being disloyal. It means you’re being prepared so that when it does happen, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it. And what’s the worst thing that could happen otherwise? You find an even better opportunity?
  5. Diversify Your Income. This one is a bit trickier, but if you have a hobby, or a manageable side business, a great way to lesson the blow is to have some sort of income stream outside your normal job. This way when the hammer comes down, you have something to help bridge the gap. We live in a world where starting a business is easier than ever, especially with the tools available to you online.

Be prepared for the worst. Shit happens, and if you do any combination of the above, you’ll be much more prepared than I ever was to deal with it.

The Time Is Now For Small Businesses To Grab More Customers


This post brought to you by Bing Network. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Jason Yormark.

To succeed at building small business marketing strategies, you have to find a reliable way to bring in low-cost leads. As an SMB, your budgets are tight, your time is limited, and ROI is a matter of life or death when it comes to modern marketing campaigns. Online marketing strategies are an excellent avenue for small businesses because they’re cost-effective and easy to measure. Creating a strong, scalable online marketing strategy helps you to:

  • Attract new customers through targeted paid search campaigns
  • Engage and nurture leads with marketing materials that actually speak to customers in a niche market
  • Develop high-impact search strategies with limited budget, time and resources

By optimizing your process of marketing, advertising and promoting your small business products or services online, you’ll be able to set up a recurring stream of leads so you can attract and retain customers and improve your bottom line. There are several advantages to incorporating pay-per-click marketing into your small business online marketing strategy:

  • It’s more cost-effective than the alternative: PPC is known as “inbound marketing” because the leads come to you. Outbound marketing techniques (like display advertising, email campaigns, and cold calling) are much more costly on a per-lead basis.
  • It’s measurable and data-driven: Online marketing techniques such as PPC are much easier to measure than other forms of advertising. You’ll know exactly which keywords bring in qualified traffic and how much you’re paying per click and per lead.
  • It’s repeatable and scalable: Once you know which keywords are most profitable, you can iterate on those campaigns, finding related long-tail keywords and optimizing those ads and landing pages to bring in even stronger results.

For many small businesses, the barrier to entry is cost. Rather than just assume Google AdWords is the way to go, there are other alternatives. In February of this year, the Microsoft Bing search engine inched up to claim approximately 21 percent of US search market share up 1% from last year. While the volume may still be lower, it’s on the rise, and many small businesses are finding the cost/revenue to be quite advantageous. Check out the screenshot below from an actual client using a variety of ad platforms big and small including an ad spend of $200 on Bing that they were able to generate $4,317 in revenue with.

Regardless of your time or budget, their are always alternatives to the obvious when it comes to marketing your business. Learn more about Bing Network and how you can take advantage of affordable marketing strategies for your business.

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What’s Your What If?


Last night I drove a lot of miles away from the hustle and bustle I normally fight through on a daily basis to coach my son at his baseball game, a little town called Granite Falls. It’s about 50 miles north and east of Seattle and off the beaten path. I arrived with my son, and as they warmed up on one baseball field, I watched as the high school team wrapped up their practice on an adjacent field. It was classic small town America. They had some rock-n-roll playing as they finished up their hitting drills, and I peered up to the scoreboard to see a sign that said “2006 State Champs”. I thought about how cool it must have been for this small town to celebrate such a thing. I thought about what it must be like to live in this town away from everything…knowing everyone, a simpler life. And how much I wanted someday to have that.

22 years ago I was at a crossroads in my life at college. I was going through motions, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I was blindly taking college courses without a true sense of what career I wanted. But the fact was, I did know. I wanted to make movies. My whole life was defined by the art of movies. Watching them, studying them, the dialogue, the music, all of it. I loved writing, I was pretty good at it. I knew that was what I was born for, but it seemed so celebrity to me. So out of reach. But on whim, I applied to a fairly significant film school in Chicago just for the hell of it. My grades were terrible, so I had no shot there, but I poured my heart into an essay and sent it away. I didn’t think it had any chance of getting past anyone, nor did I imagine I could even afford to make it work.

I was shocked to find that it did get past someone. Not only that, but I got in. My memories of that day are a little faded, but I remember being quite surprised. I remember taking a week or two to mull it over. I remember allowing the fear of such a monumental shift cloud my judgement. I remember the comfort of staying the course wash over me. 22 years later, just about every year, I wonder what would have happened had I found the courage to go for it.

Life can’t be about what ifs, I’ve learned that. I have a good life now, 2 amazing boys, kick ass wifey, great job, and I live in an amazing place. But I can’t help thinking about that particular what if. Seeing this small town last night triggered a vision that I hope is still within my grasp later in life. I want to live in a small town. I want to coach a small town high school baseball team. I want our neighbor Mrs. Simmons to stop by and drop off one of her killer apple pies just because.

And I want to write. So many concepts and ideas I’ve sat on, fearful of writing due to the sheer commitment and dedication it takes to see something like that through. I know I have it within me to actually write something that could sell. I may not get behind a camera anytime soon at this point in my life, but I’ve got killer stories to tell, and they are desperate to get on paper.

And what better time to pull the trigger than now? Countless screenwriting events and venues to submit work to, and more importantly, the rise of content providers like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Studios…the world is opening up to give more people the opportunity to submit their work.

I normally write about topics with calls to action, or lists to help people with marketing, etc. But today, I just wrote. Maybe the first step in holding myself accountable to actually kick my ass in gear to get writing more. Maybe because there’s others that might read and can relate.

Or maybe Red said it best:

The Humanization of Search & Why Business Owners & Marketers Should Care


This post brought to you by Bing Network . The content and opinions expressed below are that of Jason Yormark.

The speed at which technology is evolving is at breakneck speeds. We’re living in an unprecedented era of technical evolution, and it shapes practically every facet of our daily lives. It was only a few years ago that people only owned one or two connected devices, but now that has evolved into people owning an entire ecosystem of connected devices…phones, laptops, tablets, TVs, even our cars. And at the center of all this technology is a concept that even pre-dates any of this tech; the ability to search and find information.

The landscape in the search game is changing. What once was dominated by traditional keyboard/desktop based search is being replaced by natural language. While desktop searching is averaging a -1% decline, smartphone and table search growth have grown 17% and 28% respectively (Year-over-year search growth, by device. From comScore’s “2015 U.S. Digital Future in Focus” white paper. Q4 2014). Voice powered search is the future as more and more people get comfortable and are beginning to trust the technology. Look no further then Cortana, Microsoft’s voice powered virtual assistant where over 2.5 billion questions have already been asked.

In addition, it’s not just the technology we use to search that is changing, but also the way we use it. Natural language is becoming more and more common when it comes to voice powered search which demands that the technology keeps up. Terse, keyword based searches are no longer the norm as people become more comfortable with asking more common language styled questions in their voice powered searches. Searches such as, “Who is the best hitter on the Chicago Cubs?” or “Show me the best prices for hotels in Seattle.” are queries that are much more common these days.

So what does this mean as a business owner and why should I care about this shift in the Humanization of Search?

  • Ensure you are always re-evaluating your digital content strategy around natural language as more and more users are searching for information in this way. Always think about how a user would ask a question about your products and services, and use that as a guide.
  • Continue to familiarize yourself with emerging technology as users leverage multiple platforms in their digital lives. Technology such as virtual reality is a good example of an emerging tech that is sure to become more of a driving force in consumer engagement.
  • If you sell products online, always be thinking about how to help search engines better match relevant queries to products in your data feeds. Optimizing these feeds ensures the right people find your right products.

Like any small to medium sized business owner, you have to manage your time and money wisely. So anytime you can take advantage of an opportunity to maximize both, you jump on it. The combination of the Bing Network’s reach and technology advances is unmatched. Windows, Xbox and Office, all backed with Cortana are delivering industry leading technology in voice powered search, and all the data that comes with that usage. Syndication partners such as Yahoo, AOL and the Wall Street journal add to their reach of 170 million searchers of which 56 million are exclusive to the Bing Network. The breadth of high quality data the Bing Network drives ensures your investments reach the right people at the most affordable cost.

Learn more about Bing Network 

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Decision Fatigue. Yep, it’s a thing.

Difficult choices of a businessman due to crisis

Wifey: “What do you want for dinner?”
Me: “I don’t know, whatever you want.”


Me: “What do you want to watch?”
Wifey: “Whatever. You decide.”

The above are fairly common occurrences in our household, and I would imagine in many others. There’s been plenty of instances where we’d frustrate each other because neither of us could make a decision for such seemingly simple decisions. So why is it that I can’t just make a decision around what I want to eat or watch at any given time?

Because by the time I get home from work, I don’t want to make any more damn decisions. I’m decisioned out. And it wasn’t until a few months ago that I learned that decision fatigue was actually a “thing”. Decision fatigue is officially described as:

In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making.

Just think for a second how many choices are available to you in this day and age when it comes to anything in life. Food, medicine, technology, it’s massive. We’re forced to make a tremendous amount of decisions in quantity and quality every day. It takes it’s toll.

In my case (and many others), decision fatigue can actually lead to decision avoidance. All day at work I make decision after decision, and by the time I get home, I just want to turn my brain off when it comes to having to make any sort of decision no matter how simple it may be. Not only that, but the quality of the decisions made can deteriorate over the course of a day. Case in point is this crazy study about how prisoners who were scheduled earlier had a higher percentage chance of early release.

It all can seem easy to just write off as bullshit, but I actually think there is a lot of truth to how this all works out. Once I learned about psychology and research behind how decision making effects our lives, I immediately began to think of what I could do to better handle it all. Everyone will tell you rest, eat well, exercise, etc. All the things we should be doing anyway. I’ve taken it a step further at work be better delegating decision making. You have to trust your team, and the people you work with and extend decision making power as much as you can. I’ve found by doing so, it lessons the amount of decisions I have to make in any given day and increases the quality of decisions I make.

Below is a great TED talk called The Paradox of Choice that dives a bit deeper into all of this in an interesting way and is worth the watch.