Someone asked me how I generate work for my business. You may think there is a direct connection with an advertisement or a networking event leading to an assignment, but I have found that this is how it goes in reality:
- I volunteered for a local nonprofit and they needed someone to write grants. I hadn’t done that before, but volunteered, figuring that a) I knew how to write, and b) I had been involved with marketing and was a decent storyteller, so I should be able to fake it.
- One of the members of that organization was the editor of our local “lifestyle” magazine and she knew of my grant writing and asked if I wanted to write a monthly story for her publication. Sure.
- One of the stories I was assigned was about another nonprofit and I was impressed with them when I wrote the story, so did a leadership dot about it. Leaders at the nonprofit saw the article and the post and liked them, so asked me if I wanted to do some contract writing for their organization. Sure.
- They liked my initial submissions so the CEO asked to meet about my doing some additional writing. In the process of the conversation, it came up that I have also done project management and written some grants, so she asked if she could hire me to assist with a grant the next time they were ready to submit. Sure.
- Soon after we met, I received a call from another area of the organization who “heard” I did project management and wanted to know if I wanted to help with a minor administrative role for one of their partners. Sure.
And so it goes.
Whether you are trying to generate work for your own business, for a side hustle, or just trying to expand your influence in your organization, I recommend saying yes to most of the opportunities that come your way. It was a learning experience for me to write that first grant (taking the fake it until you make it approach), but that led to several other fortuitous situations down the road.
I could give many more examples of the winding circumstances that constitute the backstories of my work both when I was in a traditional position and since I have been on my own. Those connections may seem minor, but — like with most things — when strung together they amount to something significant. Embrace the seemingly unrelated twists on your path and see where they lead.