In May of 2005, I packed up a Budget Rent-a-Truck and made the four hour move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. In retrospect, I have no fucking idea what I was thinking, but at the time the rationale simply boiled down to:I can afford to buy a house in Vegas and will never be able to in LA.
So I moved.
The housing market was booming. The thought of a 2000 square foot home for $300,000 was enough to make me want to lock myself in a closet and diddle myself to the Real Estate section of the Review-Journal. I started to meet new people, make friends…and a theme emerged.
They were all in real estate, in some form or fashion.
Realtors, mortgage brokers, appraisers…you could lob a frozen pea into the crowd at a crowded casino and you’d be sure shit to hit someone who was in the real estate profession. They all drove BMWs and Lexuses.
By the time early 2008 rolled around, the bottom had fallen out of one of the most overinflated real estate markets in the nation. This meant that all of those “real estate professionals” were despondent. Some (most) had to go out and get real jobs. Many left town. Quite a few went back to being blackjack dealers. And it served every damn one of them right.
They were opportunists who latched on to an booming opportunity that evaporated overnight.
So, if you’re a “social media consultant,” I hope you’re looking for a new job. Because the bottom is about to fall out of your market.
Just like real estate, social media isn’t going anywhere. But if you’re deluding yourself and your clients into thinking that you’ve got what they need, you’re no different than the hairdressers-turned-Realtor-turned-hairdressers of the Las Vegas real estate boom.
You’re hawking overpriced real estate to anyone who can make the down payment.
Social media is a component of a comprehensive marketing strategy, not a stand-alone panacea. There are no unicorns that fart glitter or fluffy pillows. Social media campaigns aren’t islands unto themselves and boats don’t race to moor on their docks. If you’re one of those laptop-and-a-lunch hucksters, I certainly hope you’re gearing up to acquire some expanded job skills, as it’s becoming damn clear that what you’re selling isn’t going to have a market for long.
Businesses are getting smarter. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are everywhere. It’s no longer novel to do what you do and sell what you sell. Your services are becoming the Chia Pet of the marketing world. And people like me thank you. Truly, we do.
- Because your short-term clients make long-term retainers for me.
- I get paid a decent living to undo the damage you’ve done.
- I get to be the asshole and tell someone that you were an asshole, which means I look like less of an asshole. (This is Asshole Math – I don’t expect you to understand it.)
- And no matter what coffee shop I’m working from, I could always use another barista behind the counter to get me a rice milk dirty chai and a lemon bar.
As it’s the new year, it’s a fine time to look for another job. Just imagine all of the people who resolved to quit that piece of shit job they hate – YOU could fill their shoes! Starbucks is always hiring and there’s no shortage of gigs on Monster.com. But if perchance looking for another job doesn’t sound like a fine idea this new year, perhaps it’s time to pull your head out of your ass and realize you need to up your game.
Webinars – they’re abundant, inexpensive (occasionally free, helloooo HubSpot) and an hour of your time. If you can’t spend an hour on making yourself look like less of an asshole, check the classifieds.
Coffee – Yeah, coffee. Don’t abuse the privilege, but find someone who’s doing it right and tell them straight-up, that you’d like to buy them coffee and pick their brain. Come in with an agenda, because failing to do so wastes that person’s time. And it’s coffee, not a private Masters Degree session. Otherwise, you can learn to make some kickass foam art during your stint as a barista.
Low-Hanging Fruit – It’s not profitable. If you actually broke-down the hours you spend doling out your low-dollar (and relatively useless) wisdom, you’d find most likely that you’re not doing much better than the barista. It’s time to revamp your business model so that you can be both useful AND profitable. Yuh?
Happy new year, yo. And if you’re like me and working on a “happy decade,” carry on smartly.