Once upon a time, I found myself struggling with a few business ideas and problems. How do I win more project bids? How do I find new clients? Should I get a new full-time job and drop this “Planet Argon” thing? How can I improve my coding? Am I… Should I… etc.
Taking advice from friends, I reached out to a few people that I admired in the industry. I offered to take them lunch in exchange for their time to bounce a few ideas and questions off of.
Out of the, roughly, ten people that I wrote, a few people said they were busy and said, “maybe in a few months when things are less hectic.” One person agreed to meet the following week. We met up during lunch, had some food… and I got some great feedback on my ideas and questions. When the bill was put down on the table, they said, “My treat. You’re a young entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be spending your money on people like me… yet.”
That was ten years ago.
Admittedly, over the past few years… I have had a number of people send me similar introduction emails. I, like the folks who replied to me, have found myself being too busy to schedule lunch with them… but last week… one person caught my attention with their introduction. It stood out from the usual copy/paste “help me!” email… and I ended up accepting their invitation1, but only under the condition that they let me buy them lunch.
They have better things to spend their money on right now.
Having said that, I would like to put out a formal offer to the people in the Portland area. If you are a motivated and young (say under 30?2) entrepreneur who wants to bounce some ideas and/or questions off of someone who has been running an agency for nearly 11 years… then I invite you to introduce yourself to me, pitch the topics you’d like to cover, and I’ll schedule and buy lunch for you3.
I owe you that much.
1 ProTip: Finding out something unique about the person you’re writing by a simple google search will go a long way to not getting filtered. In this case, they said they enjoyed my old band’s music… flattery works. ;-)
2 Give or take… I’m targeting the twenty-somethings because I might be able to better explain how I got by on paying myself a lot less when my personal expenses were lower. (not that you can’t keep expenses down when you get older… but you get the idea)
3 Limited to five people.