On Sunday 29th September I had just made the call that I wasn't going to start the business I was supposed to the next day. I had declined the last of the leads I had been working on. I had no opportunities on the horizon, I had to start again. I have been blown away by the number and quality of the opportunities I have created in the last few months. The response I've had from people I've met and discussed ideas with has made me realise I can chose what work I do, who I work with and the terms of the agreements.
I've never felt like this before!
From a blank canvas, here's what I achieved in 1o days:
- 18 new LinkedIn connections
- Increased weekly LinkedIn views from 30 to 125
- 120 new followers on Twitter
- Achieved 225 unique visitors in one day (highest ever) with this post
- 90% success rate from emails to meetings/phone calls
- Been offered more than 1 paid consulting contracts
- Signed a new (and very, very exciting) sponsor for Challenge Sophie
- Had many wonderful conversations with people like Chris Randall and even made a few new friends
My background is in business development so it may come more naturally for me to engage with people, open doors and build connections but it all comes down to hard work. I want to share my secret sauce with you.
1: Believe in Yourself
3 people who have mentored me throughout my career whom I admire greatly, have all asked me to join forces with them and start new ventures. (The reason I haven't pursued these is because I realised I would be working for their dreams and I wanted to find out what mine are). When I started speaking to each of them I didn't have the faith in myself I have now, they helped me find it. I was looking for people and businesses that I thought were doing great things and asking if there was any way for us to work together. Now I am able to approach each new opportunity on my own terms and get what I want out of it.
If you can think it you can achieve it but first you need to believe.
2: Fight For Your Needs
Often we put our own needs on the back-burner. We mould ourselves to our jobs and our lives into the demands of the companies we work for. I don't think this is right! Every one of us adds value and deserves to be appreciated and valued for what we do in the way that we want. If you don't want to work long days and miss out on quality time with your family, to exercise, or pursue a passion, should you have to? It may be money, security, job satisfaction or job flexibility that we want. Whatever it is, you deserve it, but you are going to have to fight for it.
It's by standing up for what you believe in and showing the world that you are prepared to take risks to achieve your goals, that you will achieve them. Look around and learn from the most successful people you know. The ones I know have all taken risks. You have to physically put yourself in the situation where you can generate new opportunities and then you have to get to work on making them happen.
3: Create Your Luck
A lot of people talk about how lucky they are when referring to their achievements. Frankly I think attributing your success to luck is b******t. You create your own luck. Yes, there are situations where luck may come into it but it's your hard work, who you are and your drive to achieve your goals, that enables you to identify the luck and make the most of it when it comes your way. Don't wait for luck or opportunity to knock on your door, it won't.
4: Open Those Doors
When you connect with people make it personal. Give them a good reason to listen to you. There's no point in selling you, your business or product if you haven't found a common ground. When you connect with someone on LinkedIn add a personalised message, connect with them on twitter, find out what's important to them and talk about how you can help.
No one likes to feel like they are being sold to! Make it a conversation about mutual goals.
5: Jump On It
This one is so important for me. Time and time again I see people not following up leads for whatever reason and I find it frustrating seeing people let opportunities slip away. Perhaps they are scared, perhaps they don't know what they want, where it will lead or what value they can bring. All of these are completely normal, but those aren't the things that matter. No-one knows the answers to those questions all the time, but you've got to try and find out. When I connect with people it's about opening doors that hopefully will stay open forever. If you speak to someone, get introduced to someone, see an interesting article, company... anything, make sure you follow it up immediately. Leads go cold very quickly.
Number 6: Get Comfortable with Self Promotion
You need to be able to walk up to someone and be comfortable with promoting yourself, ideas or business. It doesn't matter if you don't know exactly what you want to do (although it does help), you want people to walk away remembering you for your energy and passion. Learn from the way people you admire/follow on twitter engage with others and promote themselves. Practise their techniques but make sure you are always authentic to who you are.
7: Use Twitter
I apologise in advance to anyone who has or will listen to me evangelising about Twitter. A year ago I wasn't on it, having dubbed it as a total waste of time. In the last few months I've realised the enormous potential. On LinkedIn you have a criteria about how to use it. With Twitter, there are no rules. It's simply a tool for expressing yourself and the things that are most important to you. Individuals and businesses alike use it as a tool to promote the aspects of their life and work they are most proud of. It makes it very easy for you to find ways to connect with others. Find out what they are tweeting about and actively engage with and support them. Make them feel good about it and you will instantly create a bond and open a door.
8: No Rules, No Right Answers
Remember there are no rules in life. Do it your way, create your own goals, mix it up and have fun. Don't be fooled thinking everyone else has it nailed. Don't let yourself think their ideas are better than yours, that they know what they are doing. Yes, people have varying levels of expertise, but what this means is that they have had more practise than you. You need to start now, whatever it is you want to do, just start it. Everything takes a while to build. Start work on projects now as it may be years before they evolve into where you want them to be. Be proud of who you are and what you have achieved. Our only expectations come from ourselves. You can do more, of course, we all can. But we should aim for that only if it's what we want, what's going to make us happy.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you, get the right people on the bus.
Good luck and let me know what you are shooting for!