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Business Development

Before Mailing Newsletter Or Sales Letter #5

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Before I send a newsletter or sales letter to 50-2,500 friends and acquaintances (my entire network), I show it to about a dozen trusted advisors and ask for their thoughts and ideas.

Most are favorable, some critical. This reply comes from the Alix, the Executive Director for a national training company. His clients are Fortune 500 companies like Bank of America, Home Depot, and Wal*Mart. I met Alix 25 years ago. He was one of my first paying clients and biggest fans. Since then, we've developed a close friendship and he has encouraged me a lot. I, likewise, have encouraged him. 

Alix crossed out some of my text and gave me more powerful, direct words. His ideas are highlighted in yellow. Friends like this are priceless. I can't imagine sustaining a consulting practice without their thoughful input.

Dear Sandra,

I'm writing to ask for your thoughts, advice, ideas—and HELP on behalf of CareerLab.  We want CareerLab to be customer-driven: where do our clients want us to go/grow?  What opportunities should we be looking at to provide more value?  Where are we wasting time?  Give me your help by reading this letter and providing me with some feedback.  Here's where we've been in the recent past; now where do we go from here?

In the past two years, we have (to use a baseball analogy) had some big hits as well as some strike outs. Here are seven examples of "extra base" hits:

  • A page of "extra base" hits were itemized here, and Alix gave the following advice: I would suggest prioritizing your messages and place the most important or mission-critical ones first. For example, #3 and #4 are more mission-directed so they might be better placed first. (The chronology doesn't matter as much as what's going on in the past several week/months.)

Okay, now you've seen where we've been and what's happening at CareerLab right now.  The question for you is:  where should we be going?  How do we leverage what we're good at?  Who are we ignoring?

Sandra, your advice and assistance are enormously important to me. Take 10 minutes right now and respond to this letter.  Then, look for a follow-up call from me in the next two weeks to ask if you have any thoughts or ideas about people we should contact, or specific opportunities we should pursue.

I appreciate your taking the time to consider CareerLab's situation, and I look forward to talking to you soon.

Your friend,

William S. Frank

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William S. Frank, M.A.,
25 Reasons I love consulting.
by William S. Frank
  1. Brand. You are your own brand, and you can define it any way you want. For many years, I provided outplacement to the ex-employees of Schlumberger, the world's largest oilfield service corporation. When departing employees left the company, they didn't request outplacement in their severance package. They said, "I want Bill Frank."
  2. Demand. The world will always be full of terrible problems that need solving.
  3. White Hat. I can be a helper and get paid for it.
  4. Pay. I can be paid to do things I'd gladly do for nothing.
  5. Variety. Every day is different.
  6. Happiness. At this stage of my career, I only work for people I respect and care about. If a client micromanages me or is otherwise no fun, I complete the assignment and replace them.
  7. Talent. I'm using 110% of my talents and stretching myself to the max.
  8. Change. I can change my focus any day I want. If you're a McDonald's franchisee, you don't say, "Hey, I've got this great idea for a meatball sandwich—let's try it out today." In consulting you can adjust your focus hour-by-hour, as long as your clients still understand and appreciate what you do.
  9. Income. No one else would pay me as much as I pay myself.
  10. FUN. I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing.
  11. Retirement. I can write and consult as long as I am physically and mentally capable. Peter Drucker worked into his 90s, and when asked which book was his best, he said: "My next one."
  12. Job Security. Although clients come and go, no one can come into my office and say, "Pack up your stuff . . . You don't work here anymore." In 29 years, I've only had one employer: ME.
  13. Travel. I don't have to travel unless I decide to. I travel if it's both FUN and profitable—or at least FUN.
  14. Commute. I live five minutes from my office, a corner office in an upscale six-story tower. In winter, I leave a heated garage at home and drive to an underground heated garage at work. There's seldom time to hear even one song on the radio.
  15. Vacation. Consulting is more fun than vacation (except on Wailea Beach in Maui).
  16. Friends. I have developed hundreds of close acquaintances and several lifetime friends.
  17. Time. I can work as much or as little as I like: four-hour days or 18-hour days. (Of course, my income will reflect that.)
  18. Employees. I can work with employees, subcontractors, partners, or alone—I've done it all.
  19. Passive Income. I've developed several products that provide "mailbox money." I earn while I'm sleeping.
  20. Ethics. I've never had to violate my values or personal code of ethics. I've never had to lie, purposely deceive or harm others, or promise things I can't deliver. I go to bed with a clear conscience. That doesn't mean there's never any conflict. But the conflict is conducted according to generally accepted business practices.
  21. Virtual. My career is fairly portable. With the Internet, e-mail, cell phone, and FedEx, I can work nationally, even internationally from my office—or anywhere in the world.
  22. Purpose. I make a difference in peoples' lives every day. I see it in their faces, hear it in their voices, and read it in their thank-yous.
  23. Experience. Every painful or joyful life experience makes me a better consultant. So does every person I meet or book I read. Grey hair can be good in consulting.
  24. Structure. I have to work very hard, and the clients expect superb results—but I get to structure my days, weeks, months, and years.
  25. Boss. Most of the time, I love my boss.
As I was posting these letters online, I realized I want to communicate my love for consulting. It's just a great business. The single letters, taken together, may create a picture of enjoyment, but in a burst of creativity I listed some of the reasons consulting is such a good fit for me—and perhaps for you, too. They are not prioritized; this is just how they came out.