Assortments Personal Passions

5 Things to Do if You Just Got Laid Off

These are unprecedented times. Over the past few weeks, unemployment claims have skyrocketed and we have entered an immediate recession. The possibility of a global depression could soon be a reality.

Many of us–myself included–have found ourselves redundant, laid off, or in some form or fashion unemployed.

As we enter this new economic phase thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic, here are five recommendations for what you should be doing right now if you are out of work.

It always helps to make a list, come up with a plan, and set goals. Technically, those could be the first three recommendations. But I’ll be a little more abstract. Here’s are five to get you started:

1. Take Steps to Further Your Career

If you are unemployed, your new full time job is to get a new one. Period. Treat your job search like a job. It takes work and dedication.

First and foremost, that means applying for jobs.

But there is more you can do. Use this newfound free time to take steps to further your career.

I’m currently working my way through my first HubSpot Certification course through HubSpot Academy. Other certification and learning programs I’m interested in completing include Facebook Blueprint Certification and Google AdWords.

Regardless of your career, there is likely a certification program, online class, or even a side-hustle you can learn more about in your free time.

My goal is to knock out at least one certification every few weeks.

Get to it!

2. Expand Your Personal Passions

Everyone should have at least one hobby. Why not exploit it now that you have a little extra time on your hands?

For me, it’s music. In particular, vinyl records.

While at home, I’m making sure to enjoy my hobbies.

This includes writing. I have written and published four new blog posts on FensePost in the past ten days, and another four here on my personal blog (this post included).

So far, I’m outpacing my goal of publishing a new article on one of these locations every other day.

I’m also striving to try new things and expand other areas of interest, like cooking.

For example, this morning I took a recipe for Tortilla Española and modified it to fit ingredients I had in my kitchen (OK, it was really just substituting Russet Potatoes for Sweet Potatoes and adding some bacon).

Turned out quite nicely.

3. Stay on Top of Industry Trends

Just because you aren’t currently working, doesn’t mean you should slack off. Make sure to continue reading your trade publications, and stay on top of industry news and trends.

In fact, now might be the time to seek out additional resources and find your next favorite.

As I packed up my home in Mount Vernon, WA and relocated to Plano, TX a week before everything came to a halt, I did just that: researched and began following digital marketing and e-commerce podcasts.

Some of my current favorite discoveries include: Future Commerce Podcast, The Modern Retail Podcast, and Behind the Numbers: eMarketer Podcast.

Additionally, I’m rediscovering a few favorite blogs, like Copyblogger.

4. Employ Plenty of Self-Care

Self care looks different for everyone, and for many it may overlap with Personal Passions.

Make sure to do the work to know what energizes and recharges you, what helps you maintain balance and reduce stress, and what keeps you focused and motivated.

One method of self care for me is physical activity. And my preferred method is cycling.

If physical activity resonates with you, don’t just stay at home. Or, if you have to due to the current pandemic, do something active to better yourself.

Being physically active is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, stay in shape, and build self-confidence.

My goal here is to go on a ride every other day. So far, so good!

5. Reconnect (And Commit to It!)

In times like this, our network means a lot. Unemployment can be scary, especially if you aren’t used to volatility and uncertainty.

And with COVID-19, these appear to be unprecedented times.

If you’re an introvert–even an extroverted-presenting one like myself–you may have lapsed on your network upkeep. Now’s the time to re-engage these folks!

But don’t just re-engage them. Commit to staying in contact.

If that means scheduling a check in using Google Calendar, make it happen! Heck, load your important contacts into HubSpot’s CRM and develop an outreach plan if you want to be super nerdy about it.

Furthermore, extend it beyond your professional network of people you haven’t communicated with in a while. Add four or five friends from college, the same from high school to the list, and throw in a few family members as well.

And do the same with this group of friends and family–commit to staying in touch!

What’s Missing?

Five things is not much. I’m sure, given more time, it would be super easy to double the size of this list.

Are you in the same boat? What are you taking on with your newfound time to better yourself? How are you coping?

Share your story or let me know what I missed in the comments below.

But please don’t tell me the only thing on your list right now is to binge watch Tiger King on repeat while obsessively hitting refresh on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Map.

Digital & Social

Content Marketing in 2014


First: A Career Move

The cat’s out of the bag. I am leaving my current employer and will be joining Vaughan Premier, parent of Lights for All Occasions and several other e-commerce sites, as Marketing Manager in just over a week’s time.

While I’m sad to trade a 1.5 mile bike/walk commute for a thirty-mile drive one, I am looking forward to spending my time focusing on strategic marketing initiatives and heading up an in-house marketing team. Things I won’t miss: time entries and sorting through 100+ emails per day.

What will I be doing?

Big picture marketing strategy. However, one area I am truly excited to focus my efforts is developing and implementing integrated content marketing strategies. And, to throw another buzz word in the mix, working with the CFO (who’s an analytics guru) to use big data to target these strategies.

Earlier in the week, iMediaConnection posted an article about social media and online marketing trends for 2014.

The first one, content marketing, caught my attention:

…top B2B content marketing strategies are articles on a company’s website, social media, e-newsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites. Marketing to the masses is becoming passé – it’s more effective to produce engaging content designed for specific audiences.

I must say, I’m a bit passionate about content marketing. That’s to say I’m a bit passionate about CREATING strategic, targeted content with a purpose: achieving an end goal, something qualitative or quantitative, that impacts the bottom line for a business.

This is an area I am sure will dominate my time at Vaughan. Blog posts, e-mail marketing, YouTube videos, social media. Maybe even some blogger outreach. And I can’t wait to join the team and get started.

On to 2014 and Content Marketing

Jayson DeMers, SEO and online marketing guru and Forbes contributor, is the author of Forbes article “The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014”.

In at number one, he notes “Content Marketing Will be Bigger Than Ever.”

Content marketing is a great way to demonstrate expertise in a field, relay knowledge about a subject, develop an audience and/or fan-base, and spread the word about your company. This is achieved through strategically generated and targeted content development.

Alright, that sounds a lot more technical and difficult than it should.

Think of it as crafting and spreading a core message across many channels. Essentially, it’s integrated marketing and communication, focused on the online world.

Let’s use a real world example. Say your goal is to increase sales of a group of products (in this case we’ll call them “Halloween Units”) by x percent this year. What do you do? Something like this:

Website Content & Blog Posts

Create a blog post (or posts) highlighting the product. This could be in the form of a list of hot-selling Halloween Units, an instructional post on how Halloween Units can make the day special for family, or something else that’s catchy, targeted, and interesting to the target audience. Above all, make the content useful and engaging to the target audience.


Film videos showing off Halloween Units and post them to YouTube. Again, the strategy is in the idea behind the videos: make them interesting, make them funny, and just as important as the content… use appropriate keywords and titles! If you’re new to this arena, making videos for videos sake may be alright to get your feet wet. But you’ll want to quickly move on to making strategic, useful videos that people will actually want to watch, and better yet share!


Take a few eye-catching photos, post ’em on Instagram and pin ’em on Pinterest. Number three on DeMers list is “Image-Centric Content Will Rule.” This is a no-brainer as photos have dominated social media for well over a year now. It’s what made Pinterest huge and led Facebook to purchase Instagram. Use striking photography to your advantage. And, again, title and tag it appropriately!

Blogger Outreach

Reach out to bloggers that may be interested in reviewing one of the products. Thanks to FensePost, I am on the receiving end of blogger outreach. Bloggers love free things; it’s one reason we blog. And getting through to the right blogger can help grow your audience by reaching theirs. This one is a bit trickier as it’s more a publicity/PR role, and therefore must be managed as such.

Social Media

Share all of the above across your other social media presences. That’s what integrated marketing is all about: a consistent message dispersed across multiple communication channels. If you’re already in multiple areas, why not take advantage of it!? And, of course, the opportunities extend beyond sharing from contests and coupons to strategically developed themed posts.

You’ll want to develop a social media calendar to manage all of this (that’s a post for another day).

For now, the above can act as a launching point to get your creative content juices flowing.