Minimizing my weaknesses amplify my strengths: my strong partner network, quality professional connections, and my ability to produce despite my medical issues. (Are you thinking about SWOT, too?)
I still have weaknesses to work on, but I climbed high enough on the hill to look at the business landscape. I focus on three areas in that landscape:
- Web design
- Online marketing
- Technical documentation
Many of my potential clients reside on Main Street.
Websites and Online Marketing
Business owners know they need a website for 2020, not 2005. Their customers use mobile devices most often. And old websites, especially ones that store user data, are not secure. Business owners resist paying for a modern website because of the cost. When they’re ready to go, they’re ready to go now.
Online marketing is a secondary concern. A business owner (or a relative) can create social media profiles and post to them for free. So, paying for a website comes first. Once business owners see that the website and social media produces some results, then they want to talk about creating an online marketing strategy.
I write computing books, and 2019 has been a good year.
- I wrote two Dummies books — one about using Instagram and the other about programmer job interviews. Wiley will publish both books in October.
- I wrote an introduction for an Internet password logbook. Barnes and Noble will publish that book this fall.
- Now I’m co-authoring Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing with the 360 Marketing Squad. Entrepreneur Press will publish that book in mid-2020.
However, my knowledge of the tech writing market was stale. My last tech writing contract job ended in 2011.
Andrew noted he’s in the San Francisco Bay Area and every market is different. That said, he sees companies advertising many tech writing jobs that companies don’t fund. Here’s how it happens:
- Hiring managers advertise for tech writing jobs.
- Senior managers see no need to fund jobs for tech writers. Engineers can write technical documents.
- Senior managers usually don’t talk with their hiring managers.
The Tech Economy
Andrew said the technology sector today looks as it did in 1999. The next year, the dot-com bomb dropped and the tech economy crashed. Today, he said venture capitalists’ 10-year funding cycle for many tech companies will end soon. Then venture capital money will only go to fast-growing companies that make attractive buyout targets.
In sum, Andrew expects another tech economy crash no later than early 2021. Expect trouble in sectors that benefit from the tech economy including restaurants and tourism.
A second tech sector crash presents me with a threat. I live in a tourist town. When tourism drops, businesses that survive won’t buy my services. I also live near Sacramento, an area with many small businesses — and big ones including Intel and Apple. If those big companies lay off people, small businesses will cut their marketing budgets.
A downturn also presents me with opportunities. I can use the time to promote myself whenever I go out. When the crash comes, I know people who lose their jobs focus on their education. They go to school. They buy books.