This past Saturday I had the opportunity to speak on “Turning Contacts into Cash” at the Spark and Hustle Conference here in NYC. My five main points are below–hope they help you, too:
- Look for angels wearing overalls: Thomas Edison said, “Too often we miss opportunity because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like hard work.” My fastest, best way to break into any field has been to begin by volunteering to work for free. Is this fun/glamorous/easy? No. Does it work? Yes.
- Barter your brain: If you’re not up for working for free, look around for what you might want or need, and consider how you might barter for that with a service you provide. Ask yourself, “Who has what I want?” Then ask them, “Do I have anything that you need?”
- Don’t ask people to lunch: I know this seems counter-intuitive– after all, we’ve been told to “never eat alone.” The trouble is that people are busy, they don’t have time for lunch. If you’d like to meet with them, offer to come into their office for 15 minutes at the beginning or end of their day. Making it easy for them helps them make it easy for you.
- Don’t stint on the “thank you’s”: Anytime anyone recommends me to a new client, I send that person a thank you note thanking them for the referral. This inevitably sparks them to refer me yet again.
- Sign up for HARO: There is a great site called HARO (which stands for Help a Reporter Out) where you can pitch yourself as an expert — for free– to hundreds of reporters daily. I’ve done this for the past two years and the result has been a big boost in my online presence.