The COVID-19 pandemic has us all working from home. This can get pretty old, pretty quickly. You’ve called clients. Done virtual cocktails with friends. Cleaned out your email inbox. Burned up social media. What else can you do? How else can you be meaningfully working at home?
The 3-Minute Rule
Having been a financial advisor in New York City, I’ve often felt we developed a three-minute attention span. We could present an idea to a client in three minutes. Solve a client’s problem in three minutes. Eat lunch in three minutes. Down a cocktail in three minutes. Now you have the elusive advantage of time. Time to work on projects that don’t fit into your daily regime because they would take too long.
Here’s a big one: How many people do you really know? This is important, because people often do business with people they like. People you know like you. Do they know what you do? The first step is figuring out who “they” are. This will take time. To make it easy, why not use this article as a worksheet?
- Immediate family members. You have brothers and sisters. Parents. Grandparents.
- Extended family members. In-laws. Aunts and uncles. You are a godfather or godmother.
- Distant family members. They don’t come to mind because you rarely, if ever, see them.
- Immediate neighbors. People living around you.
- Former neighbors. They were so nice.
- Your new neighbors. You haven’t met them yet. They seem like nice people.
- Friends from the old neighborhood. You’ve made an effort to keep in touch.
- Homeowner or block association. You see them at meetings.
- Your close friends. It seems so obvious. Do they really know what you do?
- Friends of friends. You see them when you have drinks or attend parties at their place.
- Clients. You have many. Do they know everything you do to help people?
- Former clients. Are they happy? They might be willing to come back.
- Merchants you patronize. You contribute toward their bottom line.
- Restaurants and bars. You are a regular customer somewhere.
- Drinking buddies. See above. These folks get their own category.
- Services you use. You get your hair cut, nails done, car inspected and house cleaned.
- Professional services. You have an accountant. Maybe a lawyer.
- Health care professionals. Your doctor and their family practice. Your dentist.
- Religious services. You attend and see the same faces regularly.
- Commuters. You take the same train every day. You see the same people.
- Gym buddies. You work out at a certain time. Other people do, too.
- Co-workers. They would become clients. You have a specialty. Sharing a client?
- Former co-workers. That’s more likely.
- People from your previous career. Doesn’t everyone have one?
- Professors from college. How long have you been out?
- Former classmates. You keep in touch.
- Alumni association. The school is your bond.
- School sports. You support your children on weekends. So do other parents.
- High school alumni. In small towns, where you went to high school is more important.
- The military. You served. You are in the Guard or Reserve. Do you keep in touch?
- Community activities. You volunteer. So do other people.
- Fellow donors. You support charity events. You see the same faces.
- Chamber of Commerce. You belong. How many people do you know?
- Networking group. You attend regularly.
- You have hobbies. It’s a classic car. Wine.
- Season tickets. You have a favorite team. You attend games. You tailgate.
- Country club members. You pay good money to spend time with this crowd.
- Social media. You are connected to hundreds of people. Do they know what you do?
- People on your holiday card list. You’ve been exchanging cards forever.
- People attending your (or your child’s) wedding. You have a connection to everyone.
These lists might only scratch the surface. There will be lots of overlap. Assume most people in your economic bracket invest and buy insurance. They work with a person or a firm. They might work with you if they understood how you help people. After building this list, your next task is to find a way to tactfully let them know.
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