How I Got My First Leads

Creating a marketing plan was one of the first items on my Starting Over agenda. So far, it has been completely useless.

Since opening up shop two weeks ago, I have generated five leads resulting in two in-person meetings, two phone/email conversations spanning multiple days, and one conference call. This effort ultimately culminated in one closed deal with a strong probability of one or two more over the coming weeks.

In a way, I “cheated” to get these leads, and I feel like a bit of a fortunate poser for having done so. None of these leads were attributable to my web site. Or the list of local small businesses I painstakingly researched. Or my direct mail letter with the hand-written notes.

All of my leads have come from former colleagues. And not in an “I'll pass along any ridiculously obvious fits that fall in to my lap” kind of way. I'm talking setting up one-on-one lunches for me. Or blasting a personal recommendation to a contact list of golfing buddies I would have paid dearly to receive. Things that put the referrer's personal credibility on the line just as much as my own. And all unsolicited.

I'm not sure what to make of it. When things inevitably calm down, I'm going to feel like a serious marketing imposter. Right now, I'm just thankful that someone — several someones, really — have been willing to spend time, effort, and personal credibility to help out a former colleague with a big dream and what feels like an equally big monthly insurance bill.