Today a member of the US House of Representatives gave me his personal cell phone number and invited me to call him anytime.Is this because I'm some kind of baller; well-connected to the halls of power in Washington DC?Hell no.He gave me his personal cell phone and the invitation to call anytime because he's a high school buddy and it's been a while since we've spoken and he was reaching out by email to re-connect.In your business, do not ever confuse the role of un-earned relationships (and the business that flows from them) and relationships that you cultivate based on the strength of your focus, ideas, insight, and what Alan Weiss calls "marketing gravity".Have a high school buddy who hired you to work on a project for them? That's great! Really, I mean it.But that business is categorically different than business you've earned from scratch. The revenue it brought in might be numerically equal to other types of revenue, but it is strategically inferior revenue. It's a windfall, not an asset.If you're up for it, try this short exercise. It might scare the shit out of you:
- Get a letter-sized sheet of blank paper. Draw a line vertically down the middle of the sheet.
- On the left side of the line, list every project that's come your way based on a pre-existing relationship. Use shorthand notation to keep it compact. Your list should include projects that came from people you used to work with before you went solo, people who you knew before you started working for yourself, and people you met after you started working for yourself but you met outside the context of your business. Referrals that you did not manage or ask for count too. Business that comes from family, friends, and friends of friends/family count too. In big letters at the top, write ACCIDENTAL BUSINESS.
- On the right side of the line, list every project that's happened because someone filled out a form on your website, responded to an ad you paid for, responded to cold outreach, read your writing or heard you speaking (in a marketing context), met you because you intentionally joined a community or participated in an event where you knew your prospects would be, met you because you specifically reached out to them or asked for an introduction to them, or sought you out based on the strength of your positioning, focus, or reputation. In big letters at the top, write BUSINESS I CREATED ON PURPOSE (CAUSE I'M A BALLER).
**What does the balance between the left and right sides of your sheet of paper look like? Most importantly, are you comfortable with that balance?**If you're not, I can help you change it. It's not an overnight process, but it's worth two or three years of effort to get to the point where only 30 to 40% of your business is dependent on accidental relationships, while the lion's share is generated by you and your marketing and is therefore much more in your control --> /services/-P