Do you love April Fool’s Day?
Have you been planning for weeks exactly when to drop the plastic spider from the ceiling above the toilet and phone-record a family member screaming half-pantsed down the hallway?
That’s some Tik Tok gold right there!
(forced segue alert…)
But, ya know…
One place it’s ALWAYS UNCOOL to try fooling people is when you’re making connections with people in business.
Look no further than your FB and IG messages for endless examples of forced cut and paste sincerity about how “awesome” you are… and just as you start to feel warm and mushy inside…
… BLAM! They hit you with the pitch.
I was private chatting with a freelancer I coach today named Tom…
… he was updating me about a call he had with a big name designer in our industry, and how generous and enthusiastic she was about not only working with him…
… but HELPING him connect with more people.
I asked his permission to share our exchange because it’s instructive to see how a good attitude carries so much of the load when you’re entering a new industry…
I just wanted to send you a quick update regarding my call with (removed for privacy).
First, it went incredibly well. I’d say it was the high point of my copy career so far. Actually, the high point of the whole past year!
I credit the preparation in EV. After our call, I whipped up that proposal so fast, had no issues with pricing and got the job done. I’ll tell ya, I literally felt high afterwards.
You mentioned on my Accelerator hot seat to bring up that I’m looking for a full-time position to her, so I did.
Great suggestion on your part because she was incredibly helpful about it and excited about my decision. She told me how she knows so many people looking for writers and to keep reaching out to her with any questions. Then she hit me with “oh yeah and there’s another project I might need you for”.
So overall, things went as well as they could’ve.
Thanks for the continual help with everything.
I’m excited to share some of the adventures this brings.
To which I said:
That’s fantastic, Tom! Great job showing up full on like you did.
It’s all about connections. Those one or two early career relationships can fuel business for years ahead.
Consider that as part of the “reach out” prospecting you do, as well. Sometimes sending a “love letter from a friend of a friend” with zero agenda other than to connect and say “hey” can be a game changer.
Quick example. I got this from a dude on FB the other day…
That was it. No outcome pending, but it opened a window, right? Now it’s about timing. IF someone had just asked me about an E5 coach, I’d spend 5 minutes making sure this guy was legit and likely pass him the lead.
Or if E5 was on my mind for some other reason I may’ve engaged more with his post. Asked how he goes about it, etc.
The reason it worked is because he appears to have no other agenda than saying “hey man… we get each other. Good to meet you.”
Point is, don’t hesitate to connect with ppl, short and sweet, to let them know you see them and you have something (a person, a passion, a system, a belief) in common.
Relationship capital is the highest value currency there is.
To which he said:
The “love letter from a friend of a friend” is a great idea. I’m definitely going to implement that one too. That way, it’s not ice-cold outreach.
And what you said about “no outcome pending” has been such a game-changer in my life.
I have found, especially with people in this industry, is that they are friendly and willing to talk to you. It’s a massive leap from working in the restaurant industry where everyone hates their job and couldn’t give a damn about you.
What’s most amazing to me is my whole life I heard “connections are everything” and I simply brushed it off not caring. Then, when it came to starting my own business, and having NO connections, I thought “I need connections, I have no idea how to make them”.
So the whole “relationship capital is the highest currency” has been the biggest revelation to me in my business and my whole life. It’s wild.
Several big takeaways there…
One you can put into action right away:
Look for ways to make connections with peers and influencers in your industry- with “no outcome pending” other than saying a genuine hello – just like you would in “real life” – and seeing what happens after that.
The biggest factor for me though, is Tom’s mindframe.
Notice how he’s appreciating how this industry compares to his old job in restaurants, where everyone is essentially just miserable all the time.
They’re not thinking about how to “get ahead” or “provide value” to their peers. The concept of over-delivering is equated with being taken advantage of, instead of giving yourself one.
I have no doubt that Tom was the same person in that industry he is in this one. Yet, he saw very little chance to advance his career.
Now, the sky really is the limit for him.
Yes, he’s got talent, and that certainly helps.
But, I can rattle off a string of genius-level freelancers who stay broke and bitter because their attitude sucks.
So, when you’re looking around for people to admire in the industry, pay as much attention to their attitude, their integrity, their generosity… over their perceived intelligence, skill level, or even experience.
Freelancing is a relationship business.
Getting good at those might be the most valuable skill of all.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are a few other ways we can help…
- Join Copy Chief. It’s your one-stop-shop for improving your copy chops, growing your freelance business, and keeping your finger “on the pulse” of what’s working now – all with working pro’s at your back to help you do it. Learn more and join here.
- Take your freelance business to the next “phase”
Get personal coaching from Kevin and his team to help you get better clients faster, attract higher quality clients to you everyday, and crisis-proof your business. Go here to learn about The Freelancer’s Journey and check out the programs.
- Get the truth about marketing on the Copy Chief Radio podcast. Find out what the top producers and change-makers in the world of marketing, copywriting, and business are doing to stay on top – listen here.