The Year of Yes
Just over a year ago, I stepped off the ledge and opened Saunus Network. It has been an incredibly busy year (which is great) and I could not be more pleased with progress. I know in theory everyone should “have a plan and stay focused”. While that worked some days, the last 12 months cannot be described in terms of linear progression on the original plan. I have now dubbed Year One as the “The Year of Yes” and I thought I would take a couple minutes to share some lessons that continue to resonate.
Yes. Take Every Conversation.
I reached deep into my network with people with whom I had not connected in many years. As I mentioned in a blog about networking some time ago, I have always believed every conversation is important. While not every coffee, lunch or call results in work, it is an opportunity to test your message, gauge reaction and ask for input. 99% of anyone I asked to talk to, said yes.
Yes. Follow Every Lead (and be disciplined about it).
My goal in every conversation was to get one more name. It worked every time. Someone, somewhere out there, has a challenge that needs to be solved or just wants to hear about what someone else is up to. I used everything I have learned over the years about CRM tactics to gather information, consolidate data, follow up and track opportunities. Being organized around this when you are trying to move quickly, is critical.
Yes. I’d be Happy to Do That.
I know that it is OK to say No to offers of work. If it does not match your plan, move on. While I feel like I can do that more these days, I certainly was not going to do it last year. Revenue collected and money in the bank affords the flexibility that you do not necessarily have in the first year (and beyond). Sometimes that means working 7-plus days a week. Take every opportunity in the early days to help and add value. Oh – saying yes also leads to more people talking about what you can do.
Yes. Rethink and Evaluate as You Go.
It has been critical to try to be honest with myself. What I thought I wanted to do (and not wanted to do) has shifted over the preceding months. Reinventing and refining your offering is powerful. It affords you more opportunity to do the things you want to do. This leads to something called “happiness”. Who knew?
Yes. Invest in What You are Not Good At
For me – in one word – bookkeeping. As soon as I could spare some cash, that money went to support an area that takes me 50x more time than any other task. Bills get paid on time. The books are clean and ready to face tax time. Find your weakness or what you do not like to do….and get someone who is much better at it than you. This also adds to the happiness scale.
Yes. Take Time for Yourself.
I refuse to be that person who thinks that not taking time off is a badge of honour. If you are rethinking how you spend your time, make sure some of that time is for you, your health, your family and your friends. Build new (healthy) habits.
And, there are many more lessons still to be learned. So, here we go into Year Two. Still here. Still engaged and excited about the unknown and to see where this journey has next in store. Stay tuned.