Posts Tagged ‘networking’

All IN

January 8, 2014

Tuesday January 7th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

All in – or not in at all. That’s my attitude for turning my business around this year, and I’m on a mission to get it done – or at least lay the solid foundation. I don’t think it’s ever ‘done’, at least as long as there’s breath left in one’s lungs. When the list of things to do runs out, life has ended.

What I’m preparing myself to do is finally START living. I have mostly just existed until now, with a few highlights sprinkled in to keep a bullet out of my mouth. I’ve plugged into a far better vibe now, and feel a whole new me getting ready to emerge. It’s the me that I always imagined.

It’s all showing up much later in life than I thought, but that’s not the point. It’s happening, and that’s all that matters. Now it becomes a race against the clock to squeeze as much as I can out of all my experiences and use my knowledge to help as many as humanly possible. It’s my purpose.

I’m throwing everything I have right now into establishing a monthly newsletter. I put an entire day’s work into it today, and I’m sure there will be many more. It’s something I’ve needed to get to for several years, but the timing is finally right and I feel it. This will be a major step forward.

I did have a monthly newsletter for several years in the early 2000s. It was well received, and it was put out by my former business partner who ended up embezzling money which stopped it on a moment’s notice. That was a really unpleasant situation, but I have to say I’m glad it happened.

It’s taken literally years to get back to a point of relaunch, and they were shaky ones at that. I’d not recommend anyone else go through their educational process quite that way, but I know I am by far not the only one who has been stolen from. That was a bad situation, but it didn’t kill me.

I was more than a little bitter about it at the time, and looking back I think I had the right to be. That’s not a good reason though, and it only hurt me and put me farther behind. Whatever he did he did, and it won’t ever change. He lost more than I did, and I don’t wish him anything hurtful.

There are too many other good things to focus on, and that’s what I’m choosing to do. Getting this together is going to be a major outlay of time and effort, and it will cost at least some money too. That’s an investment, and one I’m prepared to make because it will pay off and then some.

Quality contacts are the most important part of anyone’s life, and I intend to be in the very top .0001 percentile on the planet of maintaining my list. I was looking over my list today, and there are some outstanding people on it I haven’t had interaction with in years. There’s no excuse for it and starting immediately I won’t let it continue. I am going to keep working at this until I croak.

And when that happens, if there indeed is a next life hopefully I’ll have a solid foundation laid to be already connected when I get there. This is truly the path to wealth, and I finally realize that after all these years. I’m going to treat my contact list like gold, and I know it will do it in return.

I sorted every one of my email list into people I want to keep in contact with, and those I don’t. I’m going to weed out a few weenies, because they’re energy suckers and I don’t want to have to endure that anymore. Hopefully they won’t even realize they’ve been trimmed, but if so too bad.

Again, life is a giant numbers game. We all have a limited amount of time to do as much as we can with it. Life’s clock is constantly ticking for everyone. I for one vehemently refuse to tolerate idiots gaining unlimited access to my inner circle thereby robbing myself and others of our time.

I looked up the exact estimated population of the Earth and as of this writing it’s 7,139,249,500 and rising by the second. Even if the seven BILLION number were taken away, there would still be more people than any one person could handle in a lifetime. We need to choose contacts well.

After compiling my personal master list of email addresses and business cards of people I like and respect, my grand total is around 1000. That’s an inaccurate number right now, as some have multiple entries and I’m not sure what their current contact info is. That’s all part of the process.

I’m sure it will take a few months to work the bugs out of even sending something out in larger quantity. My pit crew Eric is working on getting the process going, and I’m terrible at that sort of thing so I know I need help. I’m sure my web guy Mark Filwett of Lake County Geeks will help as well. Mark is fantastic, and if you need web help he’s reasonable.

Between the three of us, we’ll fart around with it until we find a system that works. Then, I plan on making this as much a part of every month as paying bills and/or changing underwear. That’s obviously a joke. I don’t pay bills every month. But I’m not joking about polishing my contacts.

EVERY business needs to be on top of this, but I’m sure most aren’t. Who has time to do all of this petty little sorting of emails and writing content and deciding on templates, blah blah blah? It isn’t the most exciting project I’ve ever taken on – at least not yet. But I fully realize what I’ll get by doing it correctly so that keeps me going. I’m willing to suffer through it now for the payoff.

This is all time well spent, but it’s still time that needs to be spent. I have been pounding away at my computer for hours at a time until my back and neck hurts, but that’s how to get it done. If I’d been smart enough to pick right back up after my ex partner pulled his little stunt, I wouldn’t have to jump start it from absolute zero. I didn’t do that, so here I sit. I’m behind, and I know it.

The good thing is, I can feel the positive energy flow as I get this going. I look at the list of all the good people I’ve been out of touch with, and I know most if not all will be delighted to hear from me. Hopefully they’ll be in as good a mental space as I am now, and we’ll be able to either continue where we left off or better yet build something better. I’m looking forward to reconnect.

I’m also looking forward to building lots of new contacts and keeping them for life. There’s an outstanding book by Harvey Mackay I once read called “The Harvey Mackay Rolodex Network Builder” that really had some helpful ideas. I think I still have it, and if not I’ll go find it again.

I also plan on modeling myself after the best networkers I have encountered. Without a doubt, I have to say Tom Dreesen is the best networker in the standup comedy game. He knows everyone who is anyone, and I can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like and respect him. He’s so on top of it.

If I can be half as connected as what Tom Dreesen and Harvey Mackay are, I will do more than alright. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m not backing down. I said I was all in, and I am.

Harvey Mackay wrote a great book about networking. I read it years ago, but it's time to read it again.

Harvey Mackay wrote a great book about networking. I read it years ago, but it’s time to read it again.

If there's anyone better at networking in the standup comedy world than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet that person. Plus, he's a super nice person.

If there’s anyone better at networking in the standup comedy world than Tom Dreesen, I have yet to meet that person. Plus, he’s a super nice person.

Eric Feinendegen is an accomplished speaker in his own right, and my 'pit crew' in relaunching my monthly newsletter. He knows if he embezzles from me he might not have all those nice teeth of his, so we're on the same page.

Eric Feinendegen is an accomplished speaker in his own right, and my ‘pit crew’ in relaunching my monthly newsletter. He knows if he embezzles from me he might not have all those nice teeth of his, so we’re on the same page.

Mark Filwett does amazing work if you happen to need anything web related. He's my go to geek. If you need one, look him up and tell him I sent you!

Mark Filwett does amazing work if you happen to need anything web related. He’s my go to geek. If you need one, look him up and tell him I sent you! He’s reasonable, reliable and I get no referral fee.

I'm making plenty of room for her in my network. I hope she's aware of it.

I’m making plenty of room for her on my monthly contact list. In fact, I may have to clear two spaces. That’s ok. I’ll handle it.


Networking Is Necessary

May 21, 2010

Wednesday May 19th, 2010 – Chicago, IL/St. Charles, IL

It’s only now that I’m really starting to grasp just how important building a network can be in terms of working in the entertainment business. People really do talk, and when I’ve been able to keep my name in front of someone who can do something for me, it’s usually paid off at least one time or another. The question is, how can I do it the most efficiently?

There’s a fine line between updating someone regularly and being a flat out pest. We’re all bombarded with emails and texts and most of those aren’t important so how can I keep my name and availabilities in someone’s head without bothering them? I wish I could say I knew, but I don’t. Nobody does. Everyone has different ways they digest information.

I’ve built up enough of a reputation with enough bookers around the country that I have people calling me for work. I do a solid job and can handle myself in most situations from a stage standpoint because I’m so experienced. I’ve seen it all and nothing rattles me, so a booker knows I’ll do the job more often than not even if there’s a flood or a wild heckler.

I don’t know how proud of that fact I am, but it’s true. I get calls from bookers all over who are ‘trying something out’ and use me as the guinea pig. It could be anything from a deaf mute biker rally to a gay lumberjack bake sale, or both. In the same weekend. Across the country. In a blizzard. And I have to be squeaky clean. With PowerPoint. In Yiddish.

Somehow, over the years I’ve been able to pull most of those kinds of shows off. That’s probably why I get so many calls for work today, but I’m still painfully lax on keeping the people who could possibly hire me informed I’m even alive. If I did, I bet I’d easily triple the amount of work coming in, and get paid more too because I could afford to be choosy.

Today Marc Schultz held a networking lunch with some of the clients he books through the year. Those are always fun, so I went hoping to meet some new people. Marc is one of the nicest bookers I’ve ever met, and everyone who knows him loves him. He invited Tim Walkoe and me, but we were the only comedians. The rest ran the entire gamut of variety.

There were magicians and jugglers and a ventriloquist and even a couple of other ladies who book entertainment that Tim and I have both worked for in the past. It was a fun time socially, but also a nice chance to network with people from another branch of a business that traditionally hires by word of mouth. This was a good opportunity for each one of us.

Occasionally people ask if I might know any number of different kinds of acts, so if I’m able to recommend someone and get them work I’m more than happy to do it. That’s how networking pays off, and I’ve had it come back to me in the past from other entertainers.

Tonight I went to Pheasant Run in St. Charles to meet in person with a small group that has been interested in a comedy class, but not enough to make an actual class. I met with them personally and answered questions they had, and I could tell they were impressed by my willingness to do so. No problem, that’s networking too. To do it is smart business.