When my 16-year-old daughter Emily told me she wanted to start an all-female theater company, my response was, “HELL to the YES. Go for it. You can do this.”
A few weeks after making the big announcement—“I’m starting my own company! Our first performance is happening this May!”—Emily found herself in a serious dilemma.
She couldn’t find enough cast members.
She managed to find 10 amazing women. But that wasn’t enough. She needed 12 more. She started to feel panicky. “Where am I going to find 12 more people who are willing to be in the show?”
The first rehearsal was right around the corner. She needed to fill those empty spots ASAP. Time was running out.
“Mom, I don’t know what else to do,” she told me. “I’ve done everything. I’ve asked everybody.”
“Who is ‘everybody’?” I asked her. “How many people have you asked to audition for the show, exactly?”
She thought about it for a sec, and then said, “15 people.”
“OK,” I said. “We live in a city with over 100,000 people. 15 people is just a teeny-tiny fraction of our population. 15 people is not ‘everybody’. Not even remotely close. If you want to find 12 more cast members, you need to contact a lot more than just 15 people.”
We made a new casting announcement flyer. We made a list of local high schools, colleges, dance studios, and other places where potential cast members might be hanging out. We contacted the local media. We blasted out tons of emails. It worked. Within 24 hours, she had 4 more cast members and several more auditions lined up. Boom! Back on track.
Those words that Emily said to me—“But I’ve done everything!”—are the exact same words that I hear from my grown-up clients, too. Countless times, I’ve heard people say:
“I’ve emailed everybody.” “I’ve tried everything.” “I’ve pitched so many people.”
Really? You sure about that? In reality… You haven’t emailed everybody. You emailed 11 people and then you gave up. You haven’t tried everything. You sent 2 newsletters to your mailing list and then you threw up your hands in despair. You haven’t pitched so many people. You sent your proposal to 9 people and that’s it.
Take an honest look at your efforts. Look at the numbers. How many people have you actually contacted? How many hours have you actually put in? How hard have you actually tried? What else could you try? Who else could you contact? What other brave, gutsy steps could you take?
There are 7 billion people living on Planet Earth.
There are 1 billion people actively using Facebook every day.
There are over 250,000 MeetUp groups that convene regularly, filled with potential clients, customers, and collaborators that you could meet.
There are over 7,000 magazines in circulation—in the USA alone—each with journalists who would love to hear your story and learn about your amazing product, service, book, mission, or cause.
How many of those people have you contacted?
If you answered, “Um, 15…” then you’ve got more work to do. Put on your Wonder Woman cuff bracelets, get yourself a triple-shot latte, drink it down, and get it done.
Start calling. Start emailing. Starting hustling. This time, for real.
When you put in a full-hearted effort, you’ll get full-sized results.
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