Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy

------------------ In Black and White -------------------------------

Since 2005. Market yourself. Find better work. Make a name. Survive Layoffs. Be successful.


Dear LinkedIn

Dear LinkedIn,

It has been some time since we last spoke. Well, truth be told, we have never spoken.

And that is the problem.

You see, dear LinkedIn, you don't care about me. And I don't think I can go another day feeling the way I do.

For years I have been loyal and stood by you, LinkedIn. Through thick and thin, ups and downs. I have introduced you to all of my friends and let you hang out with them. You know everything about me and I share all I am with you.

And in return, you ignore me.

When I tried to ask about it, you told me not to ask any more questions and not to invite any more of my friends over.

For months, I have been unable to send an email or answer any questions at LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, I have emailed you at customer service for 5 months now, and I have not received any replies. And it hurts.

LinkedIn, they say communication is the key to a healthy relationship. Clearly, ours is not a healthy relationship.

Do I have to break up with you to get anywhere? Do we have to finally call this quits?

I don't want it to come to this, but I just can't go on much longer feeling so worthless.

LinkedIn, please email me. Tell me you care about my account and want me to stay. Tell me you need me and love me.

You know where to find me when you are ready. I will be waiting by my Outlook waiting for your email.


The world of ex-bosses

I ran into my ex-boss the other day.

Let me preface, I hate the idea of having a boss and having a boss matter.

I work in sales. I basically work for myself. The boss's role is to pay the bills (including me), okay my expense reports and keep Operations off my back.

Back on track - I ran into my ex-boss the other day.

I was having a conversation with a friend at a networking event when he appeared out of nowhere.

"How you are you?" he butts in.

I am fine. I shake is hand and grab his opposite shoulder and shake real hard.

"What are you doing? Looking for work?" (and he is serious, too).

No, I am the director of sales at company x, doing fine, how about you...

"What do you do there? Are you actually selling anything?" (This guy is great!).

Yes, selling lots, top sales in company, great team, etc.

"Huh. Oh well.. " he mutters and wanders away to bug someone else.

Great guy and a great personality.

ex-bosses. Sheesh.


Is your job going bye bye?

Yahoo had a good post on knowing whether or not your job is in jeopardy. Most of these are painfully obvious yet often ignored.

Here are some more "about to get the boot clues".

The "less investment in you by your employer".

For instance, just prior to a downsize of which I was an * active participant * , I was told that I would not be attending a trade show two months away. Further, the employer decided that it would be best if I no longer made my own travel arrangements; rather, the head administrative assistant would be making all travel plans going forward.

Suddenly, I could not go to key sales events and could not book a ticket if I wanted to. Sure enough, my number came up.

The "borrowing" curse.

My boss suddenly needed to borrow my laptop for some software testing over the weekend (the weekend before I was offloaded). He also needed to borrow my wireless Internet card (which he had a duplicate of) because his was strangely not working and he had a sudden business trip which required mobile Internet access. Funny that he needed to travel at the same time he was borrowing my laptop.

The "ignored party line".

For instance, questions to your supervisor or boss go unanswered or go to the "I will get back to you later" recording.

The "instant resource needed" ploy.

"Say Bob, would you mind sending me a copy of your current customer list/calling list for this week? I am trying to get my arms around next quarter's forecast. Thanks!". Always a good indicator you are on the way out.

Finally, be on the lookout for the "missing meeting formation".

You show up at your normal time and a department meeting is going on without you. Most likely your coworkers are being notified of your imminent demise and are receiving their marching orders. The vultures will soon be descending upon your office supplies.

Here are some good "You know when you are about to be fire stories".

* My friend "Sheila in Sales" was making plans to attend the sales kickoff meeting at the company headquarters. When she phoned the head office for her plane ticket, she was told the VP of Sales would call her when he got out of his meeting - the sales kickoff meeting with the rest of the sales team which currently was in session! Whoops!

* My friend Steve knew he was on the way out when he received his paycheck in the mail with a request that he return his laptop ASAP if he wanted his unused vacation and personal time. Apparently, HR sent out the letter before his supervisor spoke with him. Ouch.

* A good friend told me he found out his job was ending when his parking pass no longer worked. Further, when he spoke with the parking attendant at the garage, security was summoned to take possession of his parking pass - they were told it was stolen!

So what to do if sudden job demise happens to you?

First, live in a permanent job search state. It can happen at any time and many times due to circumstances not under your control. Always be ready.

Keep a resume updated and handy - electronic and paper!

Keep your contacts current and stored off site. That is why I recommend a good PDA type phone for portable storage.

Keep your work area virtually personal free. There is nothing worse than needing 1-2 hours to clean out your desk and only be given 15 minutes. Keep your personal affects in the work area to only enough items to fill a copy paper box. That way you can get out of dodge asap.

Be prepared to walk away from unused personal time, vacation, etc. Expect a severance check and be glad to get it.

Don't be the last to go and the last to get hired. Always have backup plan.

Don't let your boss win! Keep your contacts to yourself. Your boss can do his own prospecting and mining.

Start your job search with contacts and make the first list of contacts your customers. They bought from you, they will be the first to buy into you.

You will never be shocked or stunned by a layoff or firing if you live in a state of permanent job siege. Keep at it and keep busy and always be prepared for sudden job demise.


Raising Awareness = Feel Good Laziness

"We want to raise awareness for global warming"
"Help raise awareness for juvenile diabetes"
"Help us raise awareness for...."

How many times a day do you read or hear the term "raising awareness"?

What is "raising awareness" and why the heck do some people think it actually does any good at all?

Rather than tear into the idiot who thought the idea of "raising awareness" was a better idea than actually doing something, let's have a brief history lesson.

Think back about 20 years or so. There was this guy named Bob Geldoff. He was the front man for a forgettable band called the BoomTown Rats. They had a minor hit in the late 70's called "I don't like Mondays". But that is beside the point.

In 1984, the country of Ethiopia was suffering from a massive famine brought about by a number of environmental and governmental factors. Geldoff saw the suffering of millions of starving of people on television and decided to do something about it.

He gathered together a "Who's Who" of 80's UK bands and recorded a rapidly penned hit called "Do they know its Christmas?". It sold millions of copies, spawned a host of imitators worldwide and eventually resulted in a huge multinational concert called "Live Aid".

And then there was the money. All of these recordings and concerts literally raised millions of dollars (and awareness, but with something more concrete behind it), for famine relief in Ethiopia.

Rather than rest on his laurels, Geldoff put together a first rate charitable organization of accountants, aid workers and countless volunteers who actually made sure, year after year, that the money reached the victims it was intended for.

The ordeal took its toll on Geldoff and although he was knighted for his efforts and received global fame, he did not make a personal dime off of this tremendous effort of time and will. In fact, I am almost certain he declared bankruptcy later in life.

Suppose instead, Geldoff decided just to raise "awareness"?

"Hey everyone, there's like people starving, let's all think about it, umm okay?".

That's all "raising awareness" really is - nothing.

What Geldoff did took time, commitment and strength. Geldoff had to be responsible and build trust ("Who is going to trust a washed up rock star with millions of untraceable dollars?"). What Geldoff did took heart. And a heck of a lot of work.

Geldoff knew he had the world looking over his shoulder and most wanted him to fail.

Raising awareness on the other hand, is easy. Build a web page. Take out some ads. Appear on Oprah. Make a bunch of people share a vague sense of guilt. If you can pull it together, have a concert or throw a ritzy party. Tell guests you are trying to raise awareness.

And despite all the hype, most awareness campaigns are disappointing (See:RED, ask for Bono) because the organizers don't actually ask people to DO anything except THINK about a problem.

Wow. Heavy man.

But let's identify what "raising awareness" really is. Awareness is, IN MOST CASES, a futile effort at self indulgent, self gratifying, feel good activity and not about real work towards solving a problem.

Real work means getting your hands dirty, digging a well for an impoverished village, making beds for AIDS sufferers, carrying sick babies and cleaning floors on hands and knees.

Awareness advocates want to leave the real work to "someone else".

That 14-year old suburban kid working in the soup kitchen once a month does more good than all the glitterati, hand waving, talk show whoring, global "awareness raising" idiots do in a lifetime.

Perhaps if awareness activists have some free time on their hands, they can find Bob Geldoff and ask for some pointers? I am sure he would look forward to showing them what real work is.

Stumbling around the Internet

If you have been under a rock, were just rescued from a desert island or have been nappin for the past 20, you have not heard about Stumble!

Stumble is the equivalent of a remote control channel changer for the Internet.

Install the Stumble Widget in Firefox (you do use Firefox, right?)and click away on the Stumble bar.

Whoo hoo! One new random website after another!

OK, so how does it work? (Or maybe you need some more information before you are convinced to try it?).

First, when you create an account on Stumble, it asks for topics of websites you like to visit. I chose Marketing, Business, Web Development and a few other obvious choices.

Some of the other choices Stumble lists are bit more esoterical. Witchcraft, Anarchy, and so on. I think as Stumble grows they will find some cool niches based upon Stumble tracking which will really help them determine their audience.

So you have the widget and your profile setup. Done, right? Wrong! With Stumble, that's not all!

Because you have website preferences, Stumble wants to match you up with other Stumblers and have your own social network! Add you picture and personal facts to your profile and you can make some new online friends.

But wait! There's more! Where does Stumble get all of those great sites?

Stumblers can submit them! Using your Stumbler tool bar, you can add sites and vote on sites others have submitted. It brings a whole new meaning to the web.

What more could Stumbler have?

Stumbler recently started allowing companies to advertise their websites using the Stumbler tool. No, Stumbler won't take over your browser. Rather, when you click on the Stumbler widget, you may come across some sites which were paid for placement rather than placed organically by a fellow Stumbler. (Hey, at least Stumbler isn't AGLOCO or some other get paid to surf nonsense!).

Try Stumbler out and have fun stumbling around the Internet!


Eat at Amazon!

You can indeed buy anything at Amazon! When I was a kid, it was "Sears Has Everything". My sisters and I would laugh and say "Oh yeah? Can you buy a pig? A space ship? Another person?" Ha ha ha.

What dorks.

But now I have seen everything.

A Swanson Hungry Man Classic Fried Chicken Dinner delivered to your door! I love the Internet! What's funny, is this is listed under Gourmet Food. That's a stretch, but I guess it is gourmet in some places.

Hey how about this? A case of Campbell Soup? Amazon has it!

And finish off the whole this with some fine Twinkies!

Amazon is indeed Amazing. Yes, I checked. No, you cannot buy beer at Amazon.

But you can buy root beer! Yes, that's Frosties. The one with that strange Santa Clause looking character on it.


The US auto industry is broken and only I can fix it

The U.S. owned auto industry is dominated by the Big Three - Chrysler, Ford and GM. All three are losing money and watching their market share either shrink or flatline.

The U.S. auto manufacturing industry (cars built in the United States, but not necessary owned by U.S. companies) is thriving in some sectors. Toyota continues to build car plants across the U.S. and hire thousands of workers.

But lets look at the U.S. owned auto industry.

We know what the problem is, and here is how I can single handed fix the whole industry!

1. Instead of the Big Three, it's time for the Small to Medium Three Hundred. Break up Chrysler, Ford and GM into smaller regional operating companies which focus on specific market segments and geographical regions only.
Big companies eventually sink under their own weight and temporarily fix their earnings problems by freezing hires and laying off huge numbers of workers.
Rather than let the horse out of the barn, I would have every auto company no larger than a few thousand employees total. If it gets too large, split it up and make it smaller - and more competitive.

2. All vehicles are built upon a limited series of chassis and motor displacements. All parts are interchangeable and available for each vehicle. No longer will there be 400 different filters, belts or tires, but rather 40 or fewer.
Emphasis will be placed upon using environmentally friendly, low cost, easy to produce parts whenever possible.

With number 2 in mind, we can now build the models for number 3...

3. Create separate businesses based upon make and model. Here are my suggestions:

(Chrysler/Ford/GM) Classic - Famous named cars from successful models redesigned for today. For instance, the Mustang, Imperial, and Bronco and other famous makes now available for limited runs of three years. Like Disney markets select classic cartoons, the vehicle is out for three years and then pulled to build interest and avoid becoming stale.
Using the standard chassis and engine with varying exterior designs this model quickly becomes cost affective.

(Chrysler/Ford/GM) Green - Environmentally friendly vehicles for the twenty first century. Hybrids, electric and new fuel options.

(Chrysler/Ford/GM) X - Experimental and concept cars available for limited production runs. Want a gull wing, turbine or bubble car? We can build it!

(Chrysler/Ford/GM) Commercial - Fleet and commercial vehicles for the delivery, livery and service industry.

4. Manufacturing plants will be built in Sun Belt states along the periphery of the United States from California to Florida. This geographical placement means easy access to international markets, lower labor costs and fewer work interuptions due to weather.
Plants will be located in cities using reclaimed distressed property leased from the cities for substantial tax breaks.

5. Employment will be based upon individual contract only.
Great individuals make great companies. If each business unit is run as a separate business as defined in number 1, then open positions can be determined and filled in a more economical means. The goal is not to hire thousands of employees in a short amount of time and then lay them off when the market changes. The goal is to hire great contributors long term.

Employment for the new Chrysler/Ford/GM will look more like Google and less like U.S. Steel and other old line industries.
Employment will be a mix of full time, part time, contract and consulting.
There will be a greater emphasis on flex time and self management rather than top down centralized control.
Employees are rewarded by sales results, market share, returns, service and revenues rather than tenure or title.

Full time employees will receive salaries and will be eligible for profit sharing after one year of employment. All employees will be co-owners of the business in which they work. Regular meetings will be held which show the company's financial position, market share and projected sales and how the company can increase sales and revenues.

Every employee is a salesperson - Full time employees will receive a car free of charge for personal use after one year of employment. Using the "eat their own dog food" mentality, the only cars available to an employee will be the ones produced by their business unit.

The terms "management" and "labor" will not be used or allowed - all employees are described as co-owners.

All plant positions are open to any employee who wishes to apply for them.

6. Vehicle design, functions and features will be built upon market demand. Designs and features will be routinely co opted from competitors and improved.
Often, design work will routinely be farmed out to non-auto design firms and even over the Internet in open competition.
The emphasis on design will be collaboration by highly motivated users rather than with centrally established norms and culture.

7.Marketing will be done primarily on the Internet.
Vehicles can be ordered and viewed online and built to buyer specifications.

Marketing of products can be tested and measured on an ongoing basis.

Certain models will be pulled within weeks or months rather than years if sales are flat.

Dealerships are distributors and receive pricing based upon volume commitments, customer support and sales revenues.

Extended warranties will no longer be a sales line item - they will be standard value added services as part of the commitment by the manufacturer to the product they produce.

8. Chrysler/Ford/GM Small to Medium 300 will bid on and complete piece work for other auto manufacturers such as the Toyotas, Nissans and others of the world. This can include component manufacture to complete vehicle assembly.

9. The U.S. auto industry will build vehicles. It will no longer run finance companies, pension plans, non-profit organizations or any other operation not directly related to building cars and trucks.
All other functions will be outsourced to third party companies.

The U.S. auto industry can be repaired and run successfully like so many other industries in the United States today. We need only to put the emphasis on small, fast moving and creative work with plenty of individual contribution rather than on the large, plodding old industry waste and replication of yesterday.

Detroit - I am available for consulting work. I have this Friday afternoon free if that works with your schedule. This should only take about 30 minutes.



Why I hate Disney

I have young children. As such, I have viewed nearly everything in the Disney catalogue over the past few years.

Please note, this entry is not about parenting. How you raise your children (or your imaginary future children, or how you feel others need to raise theirs) is your business.

I hate Disney movies.

I hate the new Disney movies, not the classics like Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, etc. But the new cartoons which appear once every two years or so. (To be fair, most of the episodes on the Disney Channel television network follow this same annoying game plan I am about to describe).

Each Disney story is essentially the same. Title character has to overcome a challenge or disadvantage and in doing so, accomplishes a great task.

And eventually, no matter what the Disney story, the title character or another key story character will make the following statements - "You have to follow your heart/dreams" and "Sometimes you have to break the rules and follow your heart".

In the Disney world, heart and dreams are often interchanged. However, the basic premise remains the same; all of us must follow our inner voice but beware, there are dark and insidious forces at play which will attempt to thwart our every move!

Who writes this nonsense at Disney? (My theory is that nobody writes for Disney any longer; a computer takes past scripts and cranks out a new script with slight modifications to names and places).

Who is the authority that determined that dreams cannot be realized unless rules were broken?

And consequently, who is the writer who decided that following your heart automatically meant breaking rules?

My open letter to Disney.

Dear Disney,

- There are no "rules" or "system" which each of us has to overcome in order to follow our "dreams". The only rules which hold us back are generally those of our own invention. Individual situations like lack of self esteem, poor direction and discipline.

- Not all authority figures are out to undermine our goals or plans. In fact, most authority figures, such as family, friends and *gasp* even employers actually want us to succeed.

- Breaking the rules or fighting the system is not the optimal course of action for all parties. I am delighted that my accountant, banker and insurance representative all follow the rules impeccably and are embedded well into the system.

- To Disney's credit, the philosophy of breaking the rules in order to fulfil one's dreams apparently have had some success in the business world - see Enron and Tyco.

What happened Disney? Pinocchio fought the system/rules and he became a donkey. Once he learned to be a good son to his poor father, he became a real boy. Does Disney no longer show Pinocchio at Disney Cartoon Training Camp?

Rather than sound like a full time complainer, I have some suggestions which may help freshen up your otherwise stale scripts. Please consider the following messages!

- Believe in yourself and you can do anything.
- Stand out from the crowd and others will notice you.
- Be kind and respectful to others.
- Many believe in you, don't let them down by not believing in yourself.
- Be enthusiastic in everything you do.
- Always do what is right, even if doing wrong is easier.

There you go, Disney. Now go follow those dreams and break your own rules!

Marketing open positions and separating work from life

Seth Godin points out (from an older post) how to market open job positions with your company.

It's tough filling jobs with "good" people. We all want them, but how to go best about it?

One trend mentioned is the Internet based video for the job position. I checked Monster and Dice and did not see a "Video Resume" or "Video Job Opening" on either site. That does not mean such a feature is not buried somewhere on their site.

Seth suggests a video not about the job, but about the workplace. An interesting suggestion which would probably be useful in the hip, dot-com workplace (complete with game tables, dog beds, earth friendly coffee service and a huge poster of Obama for Pres), but not useful in most places I visit.

I see many successful companies with white walls, institutional furniture, temp receptionsists, and business park locations.

What makes these companies successful are highly targeted niches, enthusiastic, low maitenance employees, a clear business plan, financial stability and a defined separation between work and leisure.

These companies and their employees know work is work.

Google can build kitchens and dorms and hold hockey games, but most employees want to work and then leave. People need a clear deliniation between work and offtime.

Many companies don't think that line should exist and do everything to make work part of life. I see burn out as a real problem in this type of environment.

Hire great people who want to do great things and then leave them alone.


I have been playing with MyBlogLog all weekend.

I signed up right around the the time of the buyout by Yahoo which makes me dated I guess. But I have not seen anyone with a login older than summer 2006. Which means all the MBL "old timers" have vacated the premises or there simply were not that many users to begin with.

MBL is huge now. Everyone has that little window of visitors on their blog.

Great idea.

Internet Access on the road - redux

My previous post elicited a response from one Marketing Me member - What about Boingo?

Good point.

Boingo is the brain child of Sky Dayton, the mastermind behind early internet acccess provider, Earthlink.

With Internet on the brain, Dayton put together an affiliate program for WiFi network providers. "Put your open bandwidth to work for you - I handle the authentication and billing, you get a piece of the action" was the propositon.

It was ground breaking at the time (around 2002 or so), but now has to compete against the big boys with bigger pockets who I mentioned in my original post.

Good option where available. I have not seen a Boingo hotspot lateley, but I know they are out there.


Internet access on the road

Have you ever found yourself staring at your computer when there is no available Internet access?

"What is this thing for?" you wonder aloud.

[Oh the programming junkies of the world lament at that comment!].

That's me. Sure, I keep plenty of "work" on my box - customer quotations, account information, pdf's to keep up on. But my computer is primarily used for Internet. That is where all of my data is kept and where my work takes place.

When I am at the office or at home, no problems. I hook into the network and work away. In both cases, I have wired and wireless access available.

However, when I am away from home is where I run into trouble.

Here are my work arounds for Internet access.

T-Mobile Hotspot - T-Mobile came up with this idea years ago and from what I understand, it has become a cash cow for the company.
Using your 802.x wireless card in your laptop or PDA, one can surf the web unlimited from any location which has T-Mobile HotSpot service. The most popular locations are Starbucks and airports.

I live and die by my HotSpot account. Just yesterday at John Wayne in Orange County, I popped up my laptop to confirm an appointment, log a sale and check my next flight - five minutes after I stepped off the plane.

Since I have T-Mobile phone service, a HotSpot account only costs $19.95 a month on my cellular bill. The only drawback is only one computer login can use it at a time.

FreedomLink - FL is part of the new ATT monolith which seems to be everywhere these days. Like HotSpot from T-Mobile, FL is WiFi 802.x Internet access using your WiFi enabled laptop or PDA.

The cost is enticing as well; only $1.99 a month if you have an ATT account. Unbeatable.

The locations for service are interesting too. Most McDonalds have FreedomLink as do UPS stores.
Now, Mickey D's does not have the hipness of Starbucks, but one can find a McD's about everywhere. Great for the "pull in the parking lot" Internet access fix without having to purchase the four dollar cup a'joe.

DialUp - Since I have DSL through ATT, I poked around and found I had a dialup account with my service. That means x2 dialup speeds (if you have to ask what x2 is, please Google US Robotics and get back to me) wherever I can find a landline.
Now that means a willing accomplice like my Mom's house for that sort of access. But it works (albeit slowly) when Internet is needed in a pinch.

Mr Frugal asks, "What about free Internet access?".

Good question MF. I am sure you know about library access, but that usually is not convenient when one is on a business trip.

I find that most conventions usually have some sort of Internet kiosk available - but remember good convention etiquette says limit Internet station usage to five minutes at one sitting if others are waiting.

Also, some conventions also often have WiFi available for attendees in certain parts of the show floor.

Many times WiFi networks are left open by unconscious companies. And many of my compatriots swear by 802 finger Internet access discounts.

Use this option sparingly and with a word of extreme caution.

First, you are trespassing on some one's network. This is thievery and if caught can get you in all sorts of legal hooha.
Secondly, you are exposing your private data over someone else's network. If that network is being sniffed or monitored by the owner or another sneaky surfer, your passwords and accounts could be jeopardized.

Avoid the free surfing as much as possible.

Bear in mind that free WiFi networks are often only a question away.

For instance, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, NV has free WiFi access in the baggage terminal. I make it a point to stop off and check my mail before catching a shuttle to the strip.

Also, I have found free access at San Jose International Airport in the Valley. Worth looking for (if you don't have your T-Mobile hotspot account).

Finally, I found this great link for Internet access at different airports around the country. I cannot vouch for the reliability, (networks come and go!), but it is a good list to have on the old hard drive when road warrioring.

Like what you read? Tag it! Ping it! And spread the word!


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Goofy Plaxo, CTIA, and travelling on the cheap!

Extreme blurbage this morning...

Plaxo -

I use Plaxo to manage my contacts. It works well with Outlook or at least sometimes.

To start, I had a phone meeting with a new contact last week.

As always, I ended the call by emailing my contact information to them.

The contact then responded with a Plaxo invite which included a form for me to fill out. Why?

I already belong to Plaxo. Why can't a search discover this? My data is current and Plaxo should have known this by my email address.

I don't blame the sender, but the messenger. What up with that?


I will be attending the CTIA Wireless 2007 show in a few weeks. Read about it here.

CTIA will feature a whole segment on wireless social networking which has me jazzed.

I will try and do some mobile blogging while on the floor.


And since we are travelling, my friend, Mr. Frugal, offers up these tips for inexpensive business travel...

Frugal Business Travel -

Most companies pay for the employees to travel. However, most provide for expenses afterwards, not before. Thus, the employee bears the burden of the hotel, flight, meals, etc. until the company pays them back.

Right? Sometimes. Here is my way to get around it.

Flight and hotel -

Look, in most companies, the CEO or President rarely books his own flights or hotel. His assistant does this for him. Most likely, there are probably several assistants at any company who do this same thing for the other officers of the company.

Find out who handles travel arrangements in your department. Make friends with that person. Go to them when you have to arrange a trip. Ask them to find you the best deal on a room or flight. See if they will book it and save the company (not you), some money.

If the assistant books the trip, he/she will most likely use the company credit card to guarantee the reservation. This means that the room will be on the company card. You only need show up and place your card or cash for incidentals.

It is even better with the airfare because the flight is charged before you arrive. No out of pocket for you!

This may not work everywhere, but it is worth trying.

Make sure you get a receipt for your stay and present it for your expense report.

Trade Shows -

So you have a trade show to go to? Is it in a big convention town like Vegas or Orlando? All the better.

How does one get from the airport to the trade show gratis or on the cheap?

Look, most trade shows have a shuttle service to and from the show from the airport. Check the trade show web site and make your reservations to be picked up at the airport.

The cost to you is a two or three dollar tip for the driver. (Tipping is the difference between ethical frugal travellers and cheapskates).

Also, the trade shows usually have a similar service which runs from the show to area hotels. Check that out and save on the taxi rides!

If there is not a shuttle service listed on the trade show website, contact the trade show and ask.

If the trade show does not have a shuttle service, they may offer to provide a car and driver if you sound like a big wig.

It is worth a try.

However, and if you arrive and still do not have a ride, find one or two other travellers who look like they are going to the same show you are. (The best place to look is in front of the airport by the taxi stand). Offer to split the cab fare.

You can stop there and pay your fair share of the fare OR

Engage your co-taxi riders in clever banter and offer contacts and introductions. When you arrive, they may spring for the whole ride! In this case you are trading networking for a ride. No harm done there.

Note - Be fair, however, and offer to meet up later for drinks or coffee - with you paying!

So you need a pass to get in the show?

First, check the exhibitor list and see if there are any companies you know (i.e. you know someone who works there). Contact them and ask for a guest pass.

No luck there?

Contact a company who sells things your company might want to buy. Call them and offer to meet them at the show for a demo. Tell them you do not have a pass. They might offer you one. (Ethics alert! - Really look at the product and consider whether or not your company would really buy what they are selling. Take their literature and pass it over to the party responsible for purchasing with a fair review of the product. Frugal does not mean being dishonest!).

If you have a business partner who is attending the show, all the better. Ask if they would share the badge with you on the days they won't be at the show. It happens all the time and it is worth a shot.

Also ask business partner companies if they have any unused badges or passes. Many do.

Meals -

Always a tough one, but doable.

First check for any cocktail receptions or parties you can wrangle an invite too. If so, there will be free munchies available; sometimes something more substantial, you never know. Don't feel bad if you do this. This service comes from the marketing budget and you will get the squeeze for being there!

Sometimes a trade show will offer an opening day cocktail and appetizer party. Attend and help yourself. Watch what you eat because sometimes the food is junk. Also, be aware of how much, if any alcoholic bevarages you partake in. (I avoid alcohol mixing with business).

Keep on the lookout for free coffee, snacks and other enticements handed out by vendors at a show. You can really fill up on these things!

Avoid hotel dining rooms (over priced) and above all room service! Fast food at the show is also a punch in the wallet (as well as being unhealthy).

Ask Information at the show or the front desk at your hotel about inexpensive restaurants within walking distance. I always manage to find a good ethnic restaurant nearby - good food and a good tourist story!

Never, ever, ever try to get a free meal out of a nice sales person or contact. That is unethical and the lowest form of "cheapskatedness" in the world.

With money no longer on your mind 24/7, you can concentrate on doing business, making new contacts and checking out new products and services. That is what a business trip is all about!


Great advice from Mr Frugal worth considering. I would also recommend that whatever your plan, drink lots of water when travelling.

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Just returned from somewhat of a vacation.

Despite my best efforts, I spent more than half of my time working rather than resting, relaxing and spending time with my family.

I set up an autoresponder on my work email "I am out of the office until March 1. I will respond to email when I return or as time allows".

I changed my voice mail greeting "I am out of the office until March 1. I will not be checking messages during this time, but will do so and return your call by March 2".

Neither was effective. My customers called my cellular frequently. And being trained as a modern twenty first century person that I am, I picked up each call without hesitation. After all, that is why we are connected, right?

Wrong. All in all, out of four days of non-drive time vacation, I spent about one and half days working. My bad and my fault.

My wife and kids had a swell time, but they missed me and I missed out.

I will not do that again.

I still have this weekend left, but I know how much work I have to catch up on. So we will see how that goes.

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