If you were a self-employed person and you are working on some good paying projects, you’re probably spending 100% of your available work time on those projects. Ann Michael wrote about doing just that — and it was a mistake. The Free Agent Trap.
What she writes about makes good sense. If she spent 100% of her time on the work and not building up her pipeline of work, she was essentially starting over all of the time.
She’s doing some things differently now:
I set aside time to make calls, meet colleagues for lunch or drinks, and follow up on potential business leads every week. I build this time into my calendar and do it — no matter what.
I also set a minimum level of activity I consider acceptable for those times when I’m exceptionally busy with paying work. My minimum is meeting one colleague or potential client for lunch and making ten introductory or follow-up contacts every week.
To keep my brain (and my contacts) fresh, I also attend at least one professional function every quarter.
Finally, I’ve put a follow-up system in place. It’s not fancy. I use Outlook to remind me when I should be contacting someone.
Ann’s post was written in November, 2006. I’ve had it in my notes area for all that time. You see, this type of post shouldn’t apply to a Cubicle Warrior because we work for corporations, but somehow I thought it should.
The “aha!” moment came last week when I did a series on Networking with Jason Alba over on Pimp Your Work. One of the main themes of the five posts was the fact that we should continually build and maintain our relationships with people. A simple reason, too: companies will lay you off in a heartbeat. One of the traits of a Cubicle Warrior is a great set of relationships that can be called upon in times of need or your ability to help another in need.
In the comments on Ann’s post, a person wrote that they spend 20% of their time just working relationships. Based upon today’s corporate environment, wouldn’t you say that’s a good percentage for a Cubicle Warrior as well?