Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and IWOC can suddenly go awry. (My apologies to Robert Burns.) Such was the case with “Networking Made Easy,” last month’s scheduled program that had to be cancelled at the 11thhour, due to the speaker’s family emergency. Having been in situations ourselves where life throws you a curveball, we completely understood and expressed our concern and good wishes to the speaker. But we also knew we had work to do. And fast. Like Wonder Woman swooping down in the nick of time, Membership Chair Alicia Dale came through. “Let’s do a Roundtable!” she declared triumphantly, arms akimbo. Bam! Zoom! Pow! The day was saved.
Roundtables just happen to be one of IWOC’s most popular annual programs in which freelance writers of all levels get together to give and get advice. Upon learning this, any disappointment attendees felt at the unexpected change of topics was fleeting. In fact, they soon came to realize that what we were about to embark on was networking in action!
After everyone voted to arrange all 15 chairs in a group-therapy-like circle, Alicia asked one pointed question: “What’s on your mind?” That was it. Topics came whizzing through the air faster than speeding bullets. Concern after concern was each met head-on with sound solutions, backed with common sense and experience. Let’s reverse the rotation of the Earth a bit and touch upon at least some of the topics covered on the eve of March 12:
Concern: What if, for whatever reason, a client refuses to pay?
Solutions: There are many ways to approach this one. 1) Sometimes clients aren’t aware of what goes into a project, and you need to get into a dialog. 2) Then there are times when ya just have to “eat it.” And learn from that most effective teacher of all: Experience. Which will teach you: 3) It’s always a good idea to have clients sign a contract that states conditions and terms of payment. Sample contracts are available to members at IWOC’s Member Resources. 4) Arrange up front for a “Kill Fee.” 5) When all else fails, there’s always Small Claims Court.
Concern: How do you get new business if you don’t have time to pitch new clients?
Solution: It’s all about time management. A fantastically simple way to organize your hours is the Eisenhower Box.
Concern: How do you beat the fear of cold calling?
Solution: Like jumping in a cold swimming pool: Just do it. Do it enough and you get used to it. Given the cold shoulder? You can’t take it personally because they don’t know you! But always first ask if they “have a moment.” Also, there’s a phenomenon called Cold Calling Karma. Start making calls and seemingly out of nowhere, other opportunities will arise.
More great info that was shared:
The evening was chockful of those kind of inspiring and informative thoughts. They always are at these Roundtables. If you missed this one, not to worry. We’ll be scheduling another in the Fall. But for now and to all those who planned and participated in this Roundtable, thank you. You performed heroically!
-- Laura Stigler
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