Yesterday, I made a post to honor a consultant who has helped many other consultants by being a mentor, resource and friend to us. In her honor, I want to describe how consultants help other consultants. I will do that by talking about some ways she specifically helped me. Today’s example would be this very blog and also my newsletter.
If it weren’t for Jackie, I doubt I’d be making this blog post that you’re now reading. It’s not that Jackie was a blogger but each thing you achieve for your business helps lead to other things.
Here’s how it all started:
This would be some years ago, now, as I’ve been publishing my newsletter for 11 years, as of last month. Before that, I attended the usual multitude of seminars and presentations where I heard consultants talk about how each of us should have newsletters to help get business leads and to keep our name in front of customers. However, I didn’t quite think it was the thing for me. I couldn’t see myself doing that much writing and couldn’t think what I could possibly write about. Basically, I just couldn’t get my head around it.
Jackie wasn’t the only one who personally encouraged me to start a newsletter but she probably was the most active about it. She gave me copies of her newsletter so that I could get an idea what other people did, and got a few other people to give me copies of their newsletters so I could have yet more examples. She didn’t really push me, because she did recognize that different people feel comfortable with different marketing venues, but she would always tell me it wasn’t really that hard and how she was sure I could manage it. She went into great detail on her theories on things like frequency and content, which would encourage other consultants to get into the conversation if the conversation took place at a meeting.
In the end, about the time I started seriously thinking about doing a newsletter, but was still on-the-fence about the postage and printing costs of a paper newsletter, e-zines/e-newsletters became popular and that brought down the final hurdle.
Because of the help and encouragement of other consultants, especially Jackie, I’ve had my newsletter going for years. That type of writing, where I fairly regularly sit down and write, helped me make the plunge into blogging, which also requires that you get yourself to fairly regularly sit down and write something. It also helped me become a regular contributor to Lab Manager Magazine, which I provided fairly regular content to for several years. All of these opportunities led to other opportunities, to speak, write, chair conferences, and a variety of other things.
I should add that I didn’t live or work by Jackie, at that time. Sometimes, I’d run into her at a conference and we’d get some conversation going with other consultants, but most of our interaction was phone, e-mail and postal mail. Even if you’re not in an area rife with consultants such as Boston, where she lived, there are ways to network with each other and maintain a network of these types of people.
Another Side Benefit
One thing Jackie did specifically encourage me to do when I started my newsletter was to get a good editor so that my content would be professional. She had a friend, Ruth Walker, who was the editor at a major newspaper and also did her editing, and found this truly helpful. Once again, she’s not the only person that gave me the tip to find an editor, but she provided a lot of education around the benefits of doing this.
As it happens, I happened to be friends with an editor, Thea Teich, whose name you still see as my editor if you look down to the bottom of my newsletter web pages. It improved my writing, too, because I got in the habit of paying attention to the edits. To this day, when I write an article for the major industry periodicals, I seldom send it in without first sending it to my editor to give them that extra polish and professional look that you want when you’re publishing someplace like that.
It Keeps on Giving
Now, I find myself encouraging others to write. Sometimes, I give advice to those who want to start a newsletter or blog. Now, I’m passing on the help that I got to others. In fact, I’d been encouraging Jackie to blog. She wasn’t that interested and only made a few posts, but she had so many great insights and was so active with so many new technologies that I figured she’d have a fairly endless supply of things to write about.