I Was Laid Off Yesterday
Well, the financial crisis has finally hit close to home. Yesterday, I was laid off along with half the rest of my group. It happened just after lunch and came as a bit of a shock since there had been no indication of any trouble.
This Is What Emergency Funds Are For
It’s times like this I’m glad I’ve always been a diligent saver. After rewriting my resume, I sat down and conducted a detailed overview of my finances to make sure I was positioned to weather the unemployment storm. Including severence pay and compensation for unused PTO, I estimate I have just under 12 months’ worth of cash on-hand. If I’m able to cut expenses more than expected, I should be able to stretch things even longer; however, I’ve talked to several good recruiters and they think, given my resume, I should have no problem finding another job by Christmas. In all likelihood, it would pay better to boot. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. In the meantime, here’s the interim plan:
- Cut back expenses to the bone: no eating out, no unnecessary trips, no going out except for networking purposes, etc
- Liquidate stock mutual funds in my taxable account to shore up my cash reserves. I’ll take a loss on the transaction after the past year, but at least I can use it to offset regular income this year.
- Spend more time marketing and writing for this blog. The goal is to double this blog’s income by the end of the year and again by the end of march. It’s not nearly enough to make a living, but every little bit counts when money is tight and it will serve to lesson my dependence on The Man in the future.
- Build more mini-sites for passive income. My previous “mini-”site, Learn Spanish On Your Own, has been a moderate success. It earns between $100-150 per month, mostly through Amazon book sales and requires virtually no maintenance. The trick to building a profitable mini-site is to offer enough free, useful content to gain links from related sites and directories. For my Spanish site, that link-bait happens to be my free spanish lessons section, which I plan to use some of my free time to expand. I also intend to add a few more in-depth product reviews to drive more book sales. As for new sites, my goal is to build and market one new site per week until I find a new job. If I don’t see any progress on the job front after a few weeks, I will probably accelerate my pace. After all, mini-site income tends to be very passive once you get it set up.
- Tap into my network to try to find new job opportunities. This includes networking with former coworkers for leads and to get good references.
- Look into doing some contract or freelance work to help make ends meet in the meantime.
Overall, I feel very good about the situation. My financial position is relatively secure for now, and between my alternative income, unemployment insurance, and my new roommate, I just might be able to get the bills paid for the next few months without dipping into savings at all. I certainly won’t be able to save or invest anything, but at least I should be able to pay for the bare essentials. For the next few weeks, this blog will likely chronicle the unemployment/job search process and document my attempts to shore up my finances and develop more passive income streams while I search for a new job. If anybody has any job search tips, passive income strategies, or just words of encouragement I would appreciate the info. Wish me luck!