One day, the phone just stopped ringing. At first, you may not have noticed it. You were busy serving your clients, keeping up in your field, and getting the bills paid, like all good professionals do. But then a project ended or a client quit, and you didn’t have a replacement waiting in the pipeline. Suddenly you realized that it had been quite some time since any new prospects were referred to you. Yikes, what’s going on? Read more
I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort zones lately, mostly because I can’t seem to see mine very clearly anymore. Or more accurately stated, I can see it, I just haven’t spent that much time there recently. Read more
“I don’t have enough clients,” one of my students told me. “I’d love to put more effort into marketing, but I’m so busy, I don’t have the time.” This independent professional’s dilemma might seem humorous, but it’s no joke. I’ve heard this complaint repeatedly from professionals and small business owners. Read more
Have you ever stopped to notice what habits you’ve gotten into, especially around work? Habits have been on my mind lately, in particular how to develop good habits. My fascination began when I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, and I recently learned more about habits when a colleague introduced me to the work of B.J. Fogg, a teacher at Stanford and an expert in business innovation and habit formation. Read more
If you’re answering calls, replying to emails and notes, responding to invitations, and receiving referrals and leads, it probably feels like you’re taking a lot of action to market your business. But it may be that a good deal of what you’re engaged in is actually RE-action. Read more
What’s all the fuss about work? You scheme about it, dream about it, suffer through it, suffer for it, lie about it, cry about it, hope for it, act like it’s gonna save you, hide in it, hide from it, blame it for things you don’t want to take responsibility for, wrap your identity up in it, use it for status. Why is it such a big deal? I mean, really, seriously, who cares? A full-time employee spends 2000+ hours a year working; if you’re gonna spend that amount of time and energy on your business, don’t you think you oughta darn well like it? Read more
In my early years as an entrepreneur, a wise mentor taught me about the “just enough” principle. “An entrepreneur’s to-do list is endless,” she said. “If you ever want to be able to work less than 60 hours a week, you need to figure out how much of anything is just enough.” Read more
Do you ever have days when you just don’t want to? First you don’t want to make your bed or eat the right food. Then it ratchets up to not wanting to be nice, call people back, or do what you know needs to be done to keep your business running and thriving. Maybe it escalates to the point where you just don’t want to do anything except maybe sit on the couch, eat Cheetos, and watch Law & Order reruns. Read more
The classic approach to placing follow-up calls comes with some challenges. The usual image of a follow-up call is to pick up the phone and ask your prospects, “Are you ready to hire me?” When you’re calling potential referral sources, the question may become, “Got any referrals for me? For most independent professionals, this process isn’t much fun. In fact, it’s disagreeable enough that we may avoid it entirely. Read more
The best way to get your business to grow is to plant seeds — seems obvious, right? Seeds of ideas in prospective clients’ minds, seeds of opportunity with institutions that could use your services, seeds of relationship with like-minded souls that could grow into something good for you, personally and professionally. You may be thinking, “Yes, of course, I know that,” and I know you do. And yet, I see really great business people not planting consistent seeds and suffering the consequences. Read more
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