In the past I’ve had a tendency to shut down ideas before they’ve even had a chance to sprout. Here’s an example of how a slightly different outlook proved beneficial.
In late October, I was at the Trampled by Turtles concert and chatting with some random couple that I’d never met before. The guy had some kind of side project outside of work, and I mentioned that I was a lawyer if he ever needed any help. He ‘friended’ me on linkedin in response. The next day, he emailed me to say that he’d gone through my contacts and wanted to know if I would do a linkedin introduction for one of my former co-workers. It seems his day job was something related to sales, and he thought this particular contact might be a potential customer.
My normal first response would have been one of disgust – I met these people at a concert, hardly knew them, and the very next day, the guy’d perused my linkedin contacts trying to make business connections. Not only that, but what my former co-worker's job didn't seem in any way related to what he was looking to do. Sure, she would in her position know the people who might use/need that service. But now we're at friend of a friend of a friend level for a guy I'd chatted with for ten minutes. Instead I thought, “Heck, what do I know? Maybe he has some type of service that my former co-worker could use.”
The second hurdle was the former co-worker. She didn’t strike me as the type who would be open to introductions (which was further evidenced by the fact that a random stranger couldn't send her an email via linkedin). I could have left it at that, but instead told the guy that I’d email the co-worker and ask her if she was ok with the introduction. Again, what did I know?
The co-worker responded back as I thought, “Thanks, but no thanks.” At the same time, since we hadn’t seen each other in awhile, she asked what I was up to and how I was doing. I responded back that I’d decided to do contract work and was enjoying working from home with the dog at my feet.
The co-worker passed this information on to a person who passed it on to another person, and in late November, I got an email saying, “I heard you do contract work. Would you perhaps be interested in…” Yep, I got a new client as a result of that linkedin stuff! (Taking on the new client required a whole different set of open-mindedness!) The bottom line? Between all my clients, in the month of December, I made more money than I did in a month at my old corporate job…and only one week did I work as much as 40 hours.
So yeah, stay open. You never know where that road will lead you.