If Quick-Fix Dieting Leads to Cold Pizza, Then Quick-Fix Networking Leads to Sad-Sounding Emails
It is my great honor to have Maggie Sonnek (of Mill City Creative), a freelance writer and friend, share this blog with you! Learn more about her talents in her byline below!
In the freelance writer’s world, the 17-Day Diet is equivalent to a blog post titled ‘How to get more writing gigs with this one hack.’ It’s all shiny and sparkly and sucks you in with one click. But what happens on day 15? Or maybe just day two? You find yourself at home, in the same yoga pants you wore yesterday, standing in front of the fridge devouring cold pizza.
During our first strategy call, business coach Amy Bogott of Amy Lynne Coaching asked about some of my long-term goals.
I drummed my pen on my notebook.
“I’d love to get four to five new clients. And more writing gigs.”
“Okay, that’s great,” Amy encouraged. “But, what if we reframe that a bit?”
Hence, the real work began.
Theoretically, I wanted a quick fix. I wanted to lose 15 pounds in 17 days and finally zip up those skinny jeans hanging in my closet.
But, Amy knew something I didn’t. Losing 15 pounds in a couple of weeks isn’t sustainable. Nor is looking to “get more clients” through business coaching. You have to dig deep and find the answer within yourself. Or, perhaps, outside of yourself.
Rebecca L. Weber, freelance journalist, writing coach, and podcaster, suggests entrepreneurs and freelancers should approach this very question with another question: How can I best serve?
“Your editor is tasked to assign a certain number of projects in a given period, hopefully ones they’re excited about,” she explained on her podcast. “Your pitch can help them meet their responsibilities and goals. You can help them allocate their budget wisely — both their editorial and financial budget — by sharing your ideas.”
Rather than pitching, cold calling or emailing from a place of dread, fear and anxiety — or worse, despair — Rebecca suggests a shift in perspective. What if we showed up as our best selves to help our clients, readers and editors? They’re looking for something — something that we know the answers to. They’re looking for inspiration, connection, insight, knowledge.
“Imagine if your pitch came from a place of excitement, enthusiasm, confidence and helpfulness,” Rebecca says.
Imagine. How different would your email look? How different would your voice sound?
Dear Mr. Anderson,
I hope this email finds you well. I’m a freelance writer and I’d love to chat with you about writing for your publication. Here is a link to my portfolio. Do you have time next week to set up a call?
But imagine that Mr. Anderson has just been told he has extra room in his publication and a bit bigger budget than expected. He’s looking to fill that space with one more story. Ping! Your email pops into his queue.
I loved the piece in the last publication about working from home hacks. As a freelancer who’s worked from home for the last few years, I found the tips refreshing. I’m excited to share a pitch with you that I think your readers will similarly like.
See the difference? It’s not about getting one more client. Landing in one more publication. Checking off one more box. It’s about making a genuine connection.
And that’s what Amy encouraged me to do since that very first meeting. Reframe and approach each meeting, call and email as the potential foundation for a deep, meaningful connection. It may lead to work or an assignment or a client. But, it may not. Both are okay.
Just like fitting into those skinny jeans takes hard work and exercise and effort and choosing salmon over fried chicken, so does networking. Small business, entrepreneurship and freelancing aren’t about “getting more clients.” That just isn’t sustainable. Connections. Real connections. That’s where it’s at. Now, let’s all go grab an apple and take a walk.
Maggie Sonnek is a freelance writer, small town momma and iced coffee aficionado. She is learning how to authentically connect to all different types of people…rather than just “get more clients.” To connect, visit millcitycreativempls.com.