In December 2014 or January 2015 I visited a BNI group which I intended to join at the time but never got around to doing. I finally got around to visiting again last Wednesday. They gave me an application which I filled out. I’m going to the next weekly BNI meeting tomorrow where I expect to pay my dues and become a full-fledged member.
When I had visited this BNI about a year ago I was doing so as a guest of a friend. I believe I only visited twice. It’s a pretty well-understood fact in business networking that it’s a process of farming, not hunting. You have to plant seeds over time and then reap the harvest months or years later. I’ve understood this fact for a while which is why I found it surprising that I landed a new client, and a very high-quality client at that, on my very first meeting to that BNI group, if I recall correctly. (If not the first, it was the second.)
It was surprising enough that this happened once. When I re-visited the group last Wednesday, another member of the group approached me after the meeting about the possibility of enlisting my services. I’m scheduled to meet with one of his people tomorrow afternoon. This kind of thing isn’t supposed to happen. I attribute this good fortune partially to luck, but also to having developed a marketing message that people can easily understand. My message is that I help businesses that use Excel reduce or eliminate the manual work they perform that’s associated with Excel. There’s something about this message that I find unwieldy, and I intend to smooth it out somehow, but it does appear to work in its current form.
Changing client relationships
Around July 2015 I started working for an agency that an old boss and friend of mine was working for. By a process I won’t discuss here, I ended up as a W2 employee in September. Over time it became less and less of a fitting relationship, and so last Friday I went back to being a contractor. I’m leaving out a lot here that wouldn’t be in good taste to discuss publicly.
I’m scheduled to start working with another client in mid-February. This leaves an interesting three-and-a-half-week gap which is too small to fill with new client work, but too big not to. Luckily I think there’s probably some work I can do for my “old” client during that time. And if not, oh well. I won’t die. (This is the lens through which I view most risks, much to my wife’s consternation.)
Grand Rapids Excel Meetup
My original goal for the Grand Rapids Excel Meetup was to get 15 people at the first meeting. Right now I have 14 people RSVP’d on meetup.com as well as a few who have said they plan to come but haven’t RSVP’d on the site. I don’t know what kind of actual attendance that will translate to.
I was also planning to send out a mailing to advertise the meetup. Turns out I don’t have enough money right now to both join BNI and advertise the meetup. I decided it was more important to me to join BNI that to send out the mailing.
I’ve made a conscious decision not to try to brainstorm up a product business idea. My strategy instead is to put myself in situations where I’ll naturally stumble upon a business idea. Not long after I made this decision, an old friend approached me with a certain product business idea that put through my filters and judged to be an idea worth pursuing. I don’t like to “cackle before I lay the egg” so I won’t talk about it much or get my hopes up too much until more develops. What I will say is that the other guy would sell the product and I would build it, so like a CEO/CTO relationship. My original goal was to be the CEO of something, the #1 guy, but I also recognize that that’s a secondary matter. The important part of my goal to become a millionaire by age 35 is the million dollars, not the mechanics of how I earn the money. Anyway, the ball is in the other guy’s court right now and there’s not a lot I can do I this point but wait. I don’t mind waiting, though. I have a whole three years and three weeks until I turn 35. You can earn a million bucks in three years, right?