When I left my former company just over two months ago, I had one, maybe two, strong prospects; that was enough to give me the confidence to start The Leone Company. Why? Because I knew the rest would follow. (Okay, I hoped a whole heck of a lot and have worked really hard to push the rest to follow.) In fact, Michael Schechter hits it spot on with last week’s post, “Making Something Magical.”
Am I nuts? Well, my grandfather thought so. But here’s why I knew I could build business.
- I let everyone know what I’m doing. I was fortunate that, when I was letting my contacts know I was leaving my now-former company, my then-boss had no problem with my telling them about my exciting new adventure. (This is how one of my first clients, edible Orlando, came to me.)
- I’ve been sitting on committees and collaboration meetings for, well, a really long time. So when a project came up for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – National Philanthropy Day and for the Garden Theatre, the folks seeking help thought of me. They know my work ethic. They know my contacts. They know my follow through. They know my love for a morning bagel and schmear. (Although that last one, I’m guessing, didn’t get me the jobs.)
- I’m not afraid to speak in front of groups. It was through a course I’d signed up to teach with Centers for Animal Therapies that I’d met the founder of feline rescue group Candy’s Cats, Inc. Turns out, she loved what I had to say so much in a one-on-one session she hired me within a week.
- I have my father’s gift of gab. When I was little, my father used to talk to strangers in the supermarket. (A great way to network, perhaps, but a lousy way to please a hungry nine-year-old who’s shivering in the ice cream aisle.) But today, more than half of the contacts I’m discussing relationships with are people I’ve met at those same types of random moments. Volunteering for a kids’ camp two weeks ago. Dinner at one of our favorite German restaurants. A glass of wine with friends. I always carry business cards, and I’m always ready to tell people what I do, since what I do may just be able to help them where they need it most.