A career-changing moment or experience
Get Down to Business
Iam so buried!” I lamented to a speaker colleague at a recent NSA Convention. “I need a personal assistant.” “You don’t need an assis- tant,” he said, shaking his head.
“Dude, you need a business manager!
Having a hundred speaking gigs this
year doesn’t mean you have a speaking
business. You don’t have a business,” he
responded to my obvious indignation.
“You have gigs and you have clients.
That’s not the same as a business. You
have no way to grow.”
It is often said that the real value of
conferences and conventions comes
from the conversations held in the hall-
ways and lobbies between sessions.
For me, this was one of the most pro-
foundly valuable exchanges I have had
in my 10-plus years at NSA. It was
nothing short of an epiphany.
Quite simply, people are not scalable. We have only so many hours in
the day. And while we all have that
pithy maxim: “Work smarter, not
harder” rattling around in our heads,
there is simply no viable, replicable
speaker model that supports a million-dollar business with just one person.
When a manufacturing company
grows its capacity, it builds factories
and buys machinery. When a human-driven, professional services business
needs to grow, it adds people—virtual
Despite my apparent 10-year “
overnight success” as a speaker, I couldn’t
do any more than I was doing. I was
at my absolute capacity. More specifically, every time I got on an airplane,
my business essentially closed down
and nothing was accomplished until I
returned. Every hour I was in front of
an audience or in transit, no one was
performing business-building activities.
My virtual assistants were competent
at performing tasks, but the VA model
did not support the “long view” of a
business. I needed someone to come to
my office each day and focus on creating
structure, completing projects, ferreting
out opportunities, massaging prospects,
and attending to numerous details.
My epiphany was that I needed to
invest in a seasoned professional to be
my business manager. I would be the
ambassador and deliver on the message
and the promise; she/he would create
structure and generate opportunities. As
a team, we would envision and implement; conjure and construct, devise and
deliver. I needed a business manager,
who could hire and manage the junior
staff we needed as business warranted it.
So, I posted a help-wanted ad on
Craig’s List, specifically laying out the
experiences, attributes and proximity I was looking for. 24 hours and
nearly 130 local resumes later, I hired
Sue Sommers, who is strategic, experienced, articulate, secure, stable and
driven. Now, opportunities abound,
staff is growing and that million-dollar business is mapped-out and well
David Avrin is known internationally as The Visibility Coach. An in- demand marketing speaker, author and executive coach,
Avrin shows business owners, entrepreneurs
and professionals how to find and promote
their true competitive advantage. His
newest book: It’s Not Who You Know, It’s
Who Knows YOU! is available worldwide.