As I venture out into the world of self-employment I began to ponder my support system. The last eleven years of my life, at The Knot, have positioned me as part of a high-performing team. Prior to that I was self-employed, publishing two successful wedding magazines, after having sold advertising for them. We’ve all heard about the sports coach trying to bring his players together with the phrase “There’s no I in TEAM”. But what about when the team is essentially just you?
Sure I have a support system, but the bulk of what I do has to be done by me. I write my presentations, create the PowerPoints, write the books and articles… you get the idea. So if there’s no “I” in TEAM I began to wonder if there’s an “I” in being self-employed.
You have to love the arm-chair quarterback. It’s so much easier to sit in front of the TV, or at the bar, and yell at the players with what they should have done on the last play. As we all know it’s much harder when you’re the one on the field.
Do you know what it’s like to do business with you? Have you any idea how easy or hard it is to connect with you? How long does it take to get a return phone call from you? Do you know how you sound on the phone? Do you answer each call like it’s your most important customer calling? Or, do you not even think about how you sound when the phone rings?
How about with email? Does it take you longer to answer an email than a phone voice message? Do you have a plan for responding to emails outside of normal business hours or when you’re on a job? Or, do you have an auto responder that tells brides you won’t get back to them for days?
That first impression is a strong one. If you look at the time of day and day of the week that she’s contacting you, you’ll probably find that many are at work. It’s not likely that she’ll call you during work hours. If you’ve been lucky enough to get a bride to call you , make sure you put forward the best possible impression. Make everyone who calls feel like the most important call of the day. Respect her time if she calls during the day. She may be on a break or her lunch hour. Show her that you understand that she’s busy and that you care about her needs and her time.