Article by Wendy McCance
As a freelance writer, I spend my days interacting with other businesses. I write blog posts, press releases, sell sheets, articles, web content and I manage social media platforms for many of my clients. I have been lucky to have established a good network of wonderful clients who work hard, are dependable and who are easy to communicate with.
I say I am lucky, but in retrospect, I’m really not because business owners give away their working style rather quickly. In the beginning, I used to ignore many of the signs that a person wasn’t a good fit because I felt that if I didn’t take on any job that came my way I wasn’t working hard enough. Thankfully, there were so many delays and excuses on the part of the business owner that the projects would never get off the ground anyway. I an grateful, I have only been burned one time because of ignoring the signs of a bad fit. 1 press release and no payment later, that has been the only time I regretted taking on a client and the only time I got stiffed on a bill.
A week ago, I decided it was time to get out from behind my computer screen and meet people in person. A friend of mine has been a member of our local Chamber of Commerce for several years and was able to convince me to attend a meeting. I figured I needed another angle other than reaching out to people by email so I went.
The meeting went well and the people seemed nice. Each person had to stand up and introduce themselves which is something that wasn’t incredibly comfortable for me to do, but I did it anyway.
After the meeting, I had two people run right over to give me their business cards. I couldn’t believe the interest. There was a third person who passed their card my way too. Each person went into detail about why they could use my services and that they would call me to discuss their needs further.
Later that day, I took each business card, got their email address and wrote each person a short note. I then followed up by connecting on LinkedIn. I figured if they got busy and weren’t ready to use my services, when they did decide to hire a freelance writer, they would at least remember that we were connected on LinkedIn and follow up through that platform.
2 of the 3 people who gave me their cards connected immediately on LinkedIn. 1 out of the three wrote me an email back saying that they would check out my work. Nothing more has happened.
I get that different people react in different ways. Sometimes a person is just so busy that they can’t entertain the idea of hiring someone at a particular time. There are just more pressing matters. What I illustrated above is just par for the course and doesn’t surprise me at all. Eventually I am sure I will hear from these people.
What does surprise me is the person who contacts me and tells me what their interested in hiring me, but then they say they will have to call me back to schedule a time to talk further. I always wonder, why not finish the conversation and get the ball rolling while you are on the phone to begin with? Over the course of the next week or two, they will hover around. I might get comments from them on an article I wrote or endorsements from them on LinkedIn. If I reach out and follow-up, nothing much happens and generally communication dies out shortly after. I understand someone losing interest, but why do you keep jumping back in with one foot and a maybe we should work together stance? There have been several occasions where people will surprise me by popping back up several weeks or even months later, but the same thing happens. They will circle around the idea of hiring help and then they never follow through.
It’s interesting how you can connect with someone and by the end of a phone conversation know if they are the type who has a successful company or if they are barely getting by.
No matter what type of business you have, I have noticed a pattern.
Here are the top 5 clues that a person will do well in their business:
1. Drive - The person who works hard, asks a lot of questions and is constantly looking to learn new things.
2. Communication skills - People who can express their ideas well. They are cordial to the people who surround them and they have a clear vision of where they are headed and how to want to get there.
3. Reliability - If they say they will call at a certain time they do. If they promise to look into something, it happens. They are dependable and trustworthy.
4. Modest - The person is proud of what they have accomplished, but there is no big ego. These people understand that it takes many people to help in the areas that they either have little time to work on or aren’t experts at. They accept that other people might have information that is helpful and they are open to new ideas.
5. Clear vision - People who know what step comes next and how to get there. They aren’t scattered or taking on too much at once. They work in a very methodical way.
Here are the top 5 clues that a person will struggle in their business:
1. Unreliable - These people can’t keep a promise. They are forgetful of what needs to be done. They don’t respect other people’s time. Projects aren’t completed or timelines mean little to them.
2. Lack of passion - These people aren’t living and breathing their business 24/7. They get bored and drag their feet. Growing a business is hard work, but if you love what you do, it never feels that way. If you aren’t inspired and thrilled about what you are doing, it will be hard to convince others to feel enthusiastic about your business.
3. Disorganized - Lost papers, unpaid bills, too many projects going on at once. If a person is distracted all the time because of the amount of work they are juggling, the business will suffer.
4. Lazy - This one speaks for itself. Lazy isn’t a word that correlates well with the term “business owner.”
5. Follow-through skills - This is a big one. If a person knows they need to spruce up their profile (for example), but don’t follow-through, they are spinning their wheels. These are people who know what they need to do, they just never get it done. It’s a sad situation, because if they did follow-through, they would be in a great spot. They know what’s important and how to get to the next step. Honestly these are the people who make me want to pull out my hair. The talent is there and they have the knowledge, but you can’t force someone to move forward. It has to come from within themselves.
So, how badly do you want success? Do you have a clear vision? Is the motivation to make your dreams come true in place? Can people depend on you and trust you at your word? Do you inspire others to want to jump in and help you reach your goal?
When someone has all of the pieces in place, they possess an energy that is undeniable. People can’t help but to want to see that person succeed. They radiate a spirit about them that is contagious. They are grateful, excited about what they are doing, open to suggestion and thrilled with any interest others give to their company. You just know them when you are in their presence. They have all 5 positive qualities shining through.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]