A Little Background to the Story
I just returned from speaking at an industry event in Denver. It was great. Even though the event was for ASP.NET developers building websites and applications on the DNN Software CMS platform, I had a great turnout for my sessions on "Creating Persuasive Content" and "The Dirty Secrets of Social Media."
Anyway ... since we live in Omaha, we drove to the event. On the way back we drove through the beginings of a snowstorm. We made it home safe and sound just before the weather closed in. Evidently it had snowed earlier in the day too, because there was already three inches in the driveway. We probably got four or five more inches over night.
When I got up this morning I was still exhausted, and the prospect of shoveling eight inches of snow off our big circular drive was depressing. But then I noticed that there was something stuck to my front door. It was a simple post-it note. Not one of those "trick" mass-printed marketing notes designed to fool you. This was a real, hand-lettered post-it.
I called and left a message.
This is What Real Entrepreneurship Looks Like
Maxwell called back. He works for a contrete company. In Omaha, the concrete business is pretty slow due to the winter weather. And when it's snowing, there's almost no work to be had. In Maxwell's own words, he needed to earn a little extra money and, "What else am I gonna do ... stay home and play Xbox?"
He started by knocking on doors. But a stranger knocking on your front door ... well, let's just say there can be sales resistance. But he went back to his apartment and pulled out his post-it pad and wrote out twenty hand-written notes with a GREAT offer. Then he walked around in the cold and slapped them on front doors.
Twenty notes. He's had three phone calls and I was the first confirmed customer. That's a 15% response rate and 5% total conversion so far. Marketers kill for numbers like that
I love guys who get out and get to work. Watch the short video below to meet Maxwell and then read the rest of the post to get all the important points spelled out.
[Twice in the video I accidentally called him "Matthew." Oops! ... but you get the point.]
So This Is What Maxwell Has to Teach Us All
There are soooo many lessons in this, I just had to share Maxwell's story. Here are the important points:
If you are hungry, there's always something you can do.
We live in the digital age, but you do not need to have a fancy website or email campaign to get started. Websites and SEO help customers find you. But sometimes you have to go out and find them first. Maxwell found me. If this becomes a regular gig for him, he will need digital assets to grow his business because they are an amazing advantage. But you can't let not having those things prevent you from starting.
Cold-calling - in this case, literally "cold-knocking" - was ineffective. so he changed strategy and tried something new (don't give up easily, try and test again).
Here's how Maxwell found me:
Five words ... it was everything I needed to know, and I was the PERFECT target audience.
He did not have a fancy ad campaign. All he had was a real market need, a clear message, and some hustle.
Maxwell is in his 20s and tells me that he will continue to shovel snow for extra money, but his dream right now is to get his own concrete business one day.
Go get'em Maxwell.