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When your back's against the wall...

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Andy Black

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When your back's against the wall...

Someone gave me this advice a few years ago and it's got me out of a bind quite a few times since. On one occasion I was 2 days away from our mortgage payment and looking at an empty warchest. This advice helped.

The advice?

Start sending hand crafted emails to all the people you've ever done work with. Make it friendly, short, and non-needy.

Example:


Hi Bob,

Hope you and your family are well.

Just thought I'd let you know some space has cleared in my calendar. If you need any help with AdWords or know anyone who does then just reach out.

We must catch up soon. It's long overdue!

Speak soon,
Andy


...

The important part is saying some space has cleared in your calendar. This isn't needy, but has them thinking how they can help you fill it.

...

What advice would you give someone who's back is against the wall?
 

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What advice would you give someone who's back is against the wall?
Don't panic.

People often craft their most brilliant solutions when their back is against the wall. When they have no other choice but to push through and come out on the other side running.

Despite what extreme stress does to a person, it's beyond critical to keep a level head and keep pushing.

It will be OK.
 

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When your back's against the wall...

Someone gave me this advice a few years ago and it's got me out of a bind quite a few times since. On one occasion I was 2 days away from our mortgage payment looking at an empty warchest. This advice helped.

The advice?

Start sending hand crafted emails to all the people you've ever done work with. Make it friendly, short, and non-needy.

Example:

Hi Bob,

Hope you and your family are well.

Just thought I'd let you know some space has cleared in my calendar. If you need any help with AdWords or know anyone who does then just reach out.

We must catch up soon. It's long overdue!

Speak soon,
Andy


...

The important part is saying some space has cleared in your calendar. This isn't needy, but has them thinking how they can help you fill it.

...

What advice would you give someone who's back is against the wall?
I am going through this right now. After working for someone else for 10 years and receiving a "promotion" two months ago, the new CFO is cutting costs and my job is getting cut. My las day is next Friday. I am against the wall. I am finding that I am coming up with so many solutions and so many ways to ride the storm. The best way I am handling it is by first asking myself what is the worst that can happen? That I lose my house, the car, my credit get ruined. What is the best things that can happen? I finally build a sustainable business and never go back to having a job, I lose the weight I put on from sitting all day and eating junk, I spend more time with my family, I take care of myself, I learn a new skill, I take a part time job to pay the necessities and use the rest of the time building, i learn to have more faith in my abilities, learn to trust my gut more, come up with better solutions to my problems. What I can lose are things that can be replaced. So long my family is ok and we are all heathy and happy, That is all that matters to me. I keep telling myself all this is temporary and I will come out of this stronger, better, happier and healthier.
 

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Thanks for the helpful post Andy - always insightful!

Hope you're doing well.

By the way, it's been a minute since we've talked! I've had some space in my calendar free up recently, so if you or anyone you know need help with AdWords you can let me know!

All the best,

Dillon

;)
 
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(Originally posted here: https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/from-2k-to-15k-a-month.62815/page-2#post-494412)

Have you reached out to people who already know you?

Can you say something like "Hi. Some time has freed up on my calendar. Do you need any help with anything?"

The last few weeks I've had to hustle up a few clients to get my revenue back up to minimum levels.

The approach of contacting people who have already done business with me has worked very well.

Also, I deal a lot with agencies rather than end clients. So when they know I am available again, they can bring a few new clients to me in one go.

The beauty of subcontracting to agencies is that they do the selling for you, because they want to sell in their whole bundle of services, and you're just supplying part of it.

Are there local agencies near to you? Can you connect with agency owners on LinkedIn and say you've just gone freelance and would like some advice on how to grow your business?

I know a guy who recently jumped from permie land to setting up his own agency and he's done this. The overwhelming majority of marketing directors or agency owners he's contacted have congratulated him on the move and congratulated him on reaching out. If they are free they have all accepted his request to meet for a coffee.

I met this guy for a coffee too.

When you meet people, be open, be honest, and listen to them. Take action, and let them know you have. Also, manners (please and thank you) go a VERY long way.

You need to specialise and have them remember you as "The XYZ Guy". For me it's "The AdWords Guy".

Maybe you specialise in skillset ("The Guy Who Does Google Shopping Ads"), or maybe you specialise in vertical ("The Guy Who Builds Websites & Campaigns For Vets").

Go into each meet with an open mind. Don't push an agenda. Let them talk and try to find out what it is they need.

Try to break the "dance" of two people talking formally. Open up and converse with them as person to person.

If they know what you do, how you do it, what results you get (preferably by telling stories they can remember and retell to others), then your actual work is likely to come from THEIR network, not necessarily them.

Ideally, they leave knowing you as "The XYZ Guy" so when one of their friends or clients says they are having problems with XYZ, your name pops into mind immediately.

A few good relationships where you've met and know them is worth way more than 100 cold calls imo.

Business is all about relationships.

Hope this helps.
 
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For some of the new members trying to get going.
 
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Let people know what you do, and that some space has cleared up in your calendar. They’ll mentally try to find who they can refer before that space gets filled.

This is different from giving them a kickback for bringing you a sale.

Say Bob told me I’d get £50 if someone I referred to them got their boiler service. Would I tell my mum to go with Bob for £150 so I get £50? I think not.

If Bob told me anyone I referred would get £50 off then I’d refer my mum to get her boiler serviced at £100 instead of £150.

Don’t make me feel like your salesman. Make me feel like I’m passing on a gift.

Got space in your calendar to help someone? Let people know before it gets filled up. That’s your gift that they can pass on.

Who doesn’t like giving gifts?


(@UnrealCreative ... we spoke about this. And then we spoke about the extra twist of documenting or making other use of something you do anyway.)
 
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Anyone have their back against the wall?
 

LittleWolfie

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When your back's against the wall...

The advice?

Start sending hand crafted emails to all the people you've ever done work with. Make it friendly, short, and non-needy.
Why would I even be collecting emails from people at work? Are you adding value to them? Or are you colleting them in case they can help you? That seems to go against the tenets of networking. Would you ask them on the first day you meet them? Sometimes I might never see someone again after the first day.

As my boss would say during the reprimand I would review for asking people about their emails/phone numbers "This is a workplace, NOT a social club!"

As for breaks, well different shifts start and finish and have breaks at different times, so you could quite easily never have an opportunity.

I suppose this could work for a contractor or someone in a job with a bit more discretion as to how they go about it.

Anyone have their back against the wall?
My back was against the wall, (I kept posting about it) , it is coming away now and emailing people I know was absolutely no use whatsoever. In fact possibly even a negative value since it takes time away from more productive activity (keeping in touch with friends was good for my mental health though)
 

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Why would I even be collecting emails from people at work? Are you adding value to them? Or are you colleting them in case they can help you? That seems to go against the tenets of networking. Would you ask them on the first day you meet them? Sometimes I might never see someone again after the first day.

As my boss would say during the reprimand I would review for asking people about their emails/phone numbers "This is a workplace, NOT a social club!"

As for breaks, well different shifts start and finish and have breaks at different times, so you could quite easily never have an opportunity.

I suppose this could work for a contractor or someone in a job with a bit more discretion as to how they go about it.



My back was against the wall, (I kept posting about it) , it is coming away now and emailing people I know was absolutely no use whatsoever. In fact possibly even a negative value since it takes time away from more productive activity (keeping in touch with friends was good for my mental health though)
The OP didn't say email people you work with. He said email people you have done work with. It's a different kind of relationship.
 

LittleWolfie

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The OP didn't say email people you work with. He said email people you have done work with. It's a different kind of relationship.
What's the difference?

I'm not thinking about people in the same building. People whom you are working on the same task. Too worn out from the physical work to chat anyway.
 

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Anyone have their back against the wall?
Mine is. Again. But this time it's about improving my existing work process. I'd love to give everyone a ferrari at Datsun prices but it's no bueno long term.

Last time I was really up against it I sent pretty much that exact msg to an old coldcall prospect I had a meeting with years ago, that passed, but had a good relationship with. Saved my butt!
 

LittleWolfie

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Mine is. Again. But this time it's about improving my existing work process.
Have you considered automation? Or outsourcing? Which tasks have the highest cost in time per income generated? What is the biggest thorn of your work process? Are there any repatable tasks you find yourself doing a lot?
 

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Have you considered automation? Or outsourcing? Which tasks have the highest cost in time per income generated? What is the biggest thorn of your work process? Are there any repatable tasks you find yourself doing a lot?

Last time I was really up against it I sent pretty much that exact msg to an old coldcall prospect I had a meeting with years ago, that passed, but had a good relationship with. Saved my butt!
Yep. In this case have had to go with automation. Burned too many times with outsourcing in this area.
 

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Mine is. Again. But this time it's about improving my existing work process. I'd love to give everyone a ferrari at Datsun prices but it's no bueno long term.
Yep. In this case have had to go with automation. Burned too many times with outsourcing in this area.
If you had to go with automation,then your solving the problem and the back isin't against the wall, on the other hand if it isin't then you might be looking at automation, but theen why are you using the past tense?

Or did you solve it last time and still have the back agaist the wall for another reason?
 

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If you had to go with automation,then your solving the problem and the back isin't against the wall, on the other hand if it isin't then you might be looking at automation, but theen why are you using the past tense?

Or did you solve it last time and still have the back agaist the wall for another reason?
It's all kind of off topic for this thread but automation can also mean a decrease in quality. I could go on for a lot about it but it's been a tough decision I only just came to. Like 12 hours ago. It's not as simple as it sounds.
 

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What's the difference?

I'm not thinking about people in the same building. People whom you are working on the same task. Too worn out from the physical work to chat anyway.
The difference is that you're speaking from the context of an employee whereas Andy is speaking from the context of a business owner and service provider. Employees don't have people they've done work with, they have people they've done work for. CEO's don't work together as equals on things like Adwords with employees. They just tell you what to do and you do it.

If your back is against the wall as an employee, it won't help to email your co-workers to ask if they need help with adwords because they are also employees. They don't need, and won't pay for services like that. It won't help to email the CEO to ask if he needs help with Adwords either, because if he does, he'll just tell you to do it and will pay you the same amount you already earn.

As an employee, you would need to reach out to people you've helped with Adwords outside of the context of your employee relationship.

If you helped a business owner from your church set up Adwords on the side (even if it wasn't for pay) then you could email that business owner to see if he needs more help (for pay). That would be working with him. However, if you had provided that same guy Adwords services as part of your daily tasks in your job, then that would be you working for your company and for that client. Therefore, you could not reach out to him as a possible solution for your back against the wall situation, because it creates a conflict of interest with your job.

tl;dr = Context is the difference.
 

LittleWolfie

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The difference is that you're speaking from the context of an employee whereas Andy is speaking from the context of a business owner and service provider. Employees don't have people they've done work with, they have people they've done work for. CEO's don't work together as equals on things like Adwords with employees. They just tell you what to do and you do it.
Ah,so if I have done work with someone as a self employed indvidual, I should swap email before we part ways?

As an employee, you would need to reach out to people you've helped with Adwords outside of the context of your employee relationship.
Do they have to be business owners? Or can it be anyone you have done self-employment work for them If I did PC repair (as self employed) for an employee of a company on their personal computer am I still working with them or for them?

You might get the mail for newsletter/updates then, would they be a contact you email when your back is against the wall?

Asking to learn for the future.

I think I'm getting the jist of it.
 

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Don’t make me feel like your salesman. Make me feel like I’m passing on a gift.


(@UnrealCreative ... we spoke about this. And then we spoke about the extra twist of documenting or making other use of something you do anyway.)
Great piece of advice right here Andy. Most folks don't want to feel scummy or sell their friends out for a few bucks. But if you make them feel important or more significant to others, it elevates their status and is worth way more than $50 or whatever the commission was.

So in essence ... "I have open availability on my calendar. If there is anything I can get done for you use my calendar to schedule it. Or if you refer anyone over to me, because they know you I will give them $xxx off because if they know you, I am sure they would be great to work with." (this is written terribly, but the context is there )
 

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Ah,so if I have done work with someone as a self employed indvidual, I should swap email before we part ways?



Do they have to be business owners? Or can it be anyone you have done self-employment work for them If I did PC repair (as self employed) for an employee of a company on their personal computer am I still working with them or for them?

You might get the mail for newsletter/updates then, would they be a contact you email when your back is against the wall?

Asking to learn for the future.

I think I'm getting the jist of it.
Yes, you are getting the gist of it. I’m super grateful for @Lex DeVille for untangling things with his great explanation.

Don’t overthink it @LittleWolfie. If someone paid you to help them with something then you likely have their contact details.
 

LittleWolfie

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Yes, you are getting the gist of it. I’m super grateful for @Lex DeVille for untangling things with his great explanation.

Don’t overthink it @LittleWolfie. If someone paid you to help them with something then you likely have their contact details.
I'm thinking of standing on the cornet with a for hire sign, I can see how with most things they would contact you.
 
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Great piece of advice right here Andy. Most folks don't want to feel scummy or sell their friends out for a few bucks. But if you make them feel important or more significant to others, it elevates their status and is worth way more than $50 or whatever the commission was.

So in essence ... "I have open availability on my calendar. If there is anything I can get done for you use my calendar to schedule it. Or if you refer anyone over to me, because they know you I will give them $xxx off because if they know you, I am sure they would be great to work with." (this is written terribly, but the context is there )
Exactly @LightHouse!

Also, what you’re doing is presenting your problem to the person you’ve worked with before.

You’re telling them (without being needy or desperate) that some space has freed up in your calendar.

It’s only human to want to help someone if you can, and especially if it doesn’t take much time on your part. You’ve planted a little question in their head that they can chew on.

You’re giving them the chance to help two people they know - you, and the person who would benefit from you suddenly having that space free up in your calendar.

There’s a bit of natural urgency and scarcity there too. How long will that window be open in your calendar? When would it open again?
 
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I'm thinking of standing on the cornet with a for hire sign, I can see how with most things they would contact you.
Sure, stand at the right street corner with the right sign and you could get business. Remember those are cold “leads” though.

The reason reaching out to people who you’ve already worked with is that they already bought from you.

It’s often easier to make a sale if it’s Repeat Business or a Referral. Consider these warm leads/prospects/introductions.
 

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Remember those are cold introductions.

The reason reaching out to people who you’ve already worked with is that they already bought from you.

Consider these warm leads/prospects/introductions.
Of course I need my cold contacts first,because someone has to be the first person to work with me.
 
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Read that. Diesel will get me no where,since I'm unable to drive and the travel times to any event by public transit means I'm looking at staying overnight.

It becomes too expensive too do regularly, so I have to network via TCP/IP packets. I could afford maybe 1 trip this year,if i scrimp and save.

If I was in london, I'd spend it on electric and tea rather than diesel and coffee but I'm further away.
 
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Read that. Diesel will get me no where,since I'm unable to drive and the travel times to any event by public transit means I'm looking at staying overnight.

It becomes too expensive too do regularly, so I have to network via TCP/IP packets. I could afford maybe 1 trip this year,if i scrimp and save.

If I was in london, I'd spend it on electric and tea rather than diesel and coffee but I'm further away.

goodness gracious. Please stop playing victim to circumstance. There are plenty of people that have started where you are. You can make it happen or you can excuse everything instead to satisfy that need... it makes little difference to those on here.

We do want to help you, but you have to start helping yourself. Not every piece of advice will be applicable, and nothing here is a set of instructions. Go trade your time for money or find a way to add value to someone's life even if you don't get something back for it.

This isn't the place to lie down and let life happen TO you, this is the place you come once you realize life is happening FOR you and you are mining the opportunity.
 

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Read that. Diesel will get me no where,since I'm unable to drive and the travel times to any event by public transit means I'm looking at staying overnight.

It becomes too expensive too do regularly, so I have to network via TCP/IP packets. I could afford maybe 1 trip this year,if i scrimp and save.

If I was in london, I'd spend it on electric and tea rather than diesel and coffee but I'm further away.
Your mentality makes you the type of people you never wanna meet. Sorry to be true, but all in your language is victimisation and excuses. The advice of andy was great for me, because it's simplify the relation between you and yours client. You don't have to act like a salesman, you don't have to pull the sales, you just have to talk about what you're offering and see if they interested. I remember my first meeting with a client was in a coffee, he gave his business card to the barman and i started to talk with him. About him, genuinely, and bam, first client.

So please, exit the "i can't" "but" " for me it's impossible", because for me this type of people are losers, and no one wants to stay with them, always negative. Even if you have your back against the wall, and i went there too, i think we all went there. Stay calm and positive, agressively patient, you can breath, you have access to a computer. How the F*ck can you complain.

In military, when they are underwater and are nearly drowning in the buds, they think always of the positive situation, think like that and you gonna attract good people.
I promise you, no more losers in your life
 

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