The Experts Up Close
Tony Jeary is a life coach to top CEOs all over the world and the author of Strategic Acceleration, Succeed at the Speed of Life.
Nancy Michaels is a nationally known business-development coach, author, speaker, and consultant to women and minority business owners. She is also author of Perfecting Your Pitch.
John Assaraf is one of the experts featured in the film and book The Secret, which he helped launch. He is a national expert on achieving financial freedom and living an extraordinary life. He co-authored his most recent book The Answer.
Q: What can I do when I feel overwhelmed with the amount of networking contacts I need to keep up with?
Tony Jeary: I’m a Rolodex nut. I love and enjoy thousands of relationships—in fact, somewhere near 20,000. That’s a lot. Here’s the trick: Truly want to help people to win. If you desire others to win and get satisfaction from that, then networking activities become fun, not a chore. If you see it this way, it will create a pulling power, and you will desire to reach out, help, connect and network for you and others.
Jon Assaraf: Many people get overwhelmed because they value all the contacts the same way. Put a different value on each one, and then set up a system to contact the highest-value ones first or more frequently based on your criteria. Use a contact-management system like iContact, and automate the process by creating a predetermined sequence of e-mail touch points that go out on a schedule you set. Make sure you set the system to take you out about 6-12 months and drip on your contacts with relevant information they want to receive.
Nancy Michaels: Decide what contacts are really necessary for you to keep up with. Prioritize them by: client, high-level prospects, referral sources, past clients, media contacts and professional association colleagues. Remember the 80/20 rule in business: We receive 80 percent of our revenues from 20 percent of our clients. We need to classify individuals this way so we can spend our time and resources connecting to those whose relationships are of the greatest importance to our business’ longevity. If you don’t already have an effective database-management system, go out today and get one. There are plenty of them out there, including ACT, GoldMine and SalesForce.com.
Q: Should I tell my full-time employer about my part-time business?
Jon Assaraf: Only if you are doing any of your part-time business on their time or using their equipment, their people or other tools. If your business is totally independent of them and their company, there is no need to tell them unless you want to.
Nancy Michaels: Ask yourself: How will this benefit me by sharing my part-time business with my employer? In this economy, if your part-time work is in no way interfering with your full-time employment, some things are better left unsaid. If your part-time endeavor is not affecting your full-time employment, chances are, even if your employer discovered your outside business interest, it would not make a huge impact on how you are perceived at work. It is essential to maintain two distinct priorities and not let one overlap and negatively affect the other. Also, have a separate voice mail for your part-time business. If an employer or co-worker calls you at home, it will be clear you’re not running a business that would leave anyone to question your loyalty to your full-time work. Get a post office box as well. They’re inexpensive, and it allows you to have some anonymity and project a more professional image.
Tony Jeary: It depends on multiple factors. I’m a believer in being transparent and always giving true value for what you’re paid. So, for the most part, I’d say share the deal. Obviously an employer is interested in making sure each person pulls their own weight and excels with their efforts so the business wins and profits. Make sure you keep that in mind. There is a value exchange that needs to happen and, when possible, exceed expectations by giving more value. This is my life’s mantra. It applies here.
Q: I have always wanted to break away from the corporate grind to start my own business, but how do I know if I am ready?
Tony Jeary: Opportunity knocks often, and being ready matters. You should be clear on what you truly want and then focus on getting it. When you are clear, you are ready to make good decisions. Write down what you really want and why. Be clear on what you’re willing to give up to achieve what you want, such as time, investment and energy. Focus your efforts on the right opportunity, always keeping the big picture in mind. Execute by taking action and adjust as needed. Bottom line: If you’re clear on what you want and what you’re willing to give, you are ready to decide.
Jon Assaraf: You are ready when you do not want to trade your life anymore for something that doesn’t stir your soul and give you purpose and meaning. Get the courage to follow your dream and do what you are passionate about and love; then go do it. Yes, it will be scary, but it’s scarier to not follow your bliss and find yourself wishing you would have done something that you didn’t. Go for it!