I have to pay bills otherwise I will have to move back in with my parents



The Context

Leverage means knocking where the door is already open. Selling where the likelihood of buying is significantly higher. Are you targeting prospects who are predisposed to hiring you? If not, start by reviewing your leverageable assets. And if you don’t have any, think about how to generate new ones. Do something out in the world that earns you a seat at the table. It’s surprising how many people are just delighted to hear from you again. Do you think people will give you what you want because you asked nicely once?

The Tool

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HACQUISITIONING — Making a list of everyone you ever served in the past and asking them to buy this new thing you just made

This is the art of creation selling. Every salesperson has to demonstrate a valid reason for their persistence. Otherwise they’re just an annoying interruption. However, the economic advantage that artists have over other types of salespeople is, their inventory is as vast and varied as their imagination allows it to be. They actually kill two stones with one bird, leveraging the process of creation to expedite the practice of selling. Consider the young freelance fashion designer. She is disciplined enough to carve out a predictable, repeatable time to make art, every day. And she is savvy enough to publish new sketches and designs and ideas and experiments on her online portfolio every single day. But while her daily gift to the world builds up a huge surplus of goodwill in the marketplace and helps people discover the trail of breadcrumbs that lead back to her paid work, more importantly, she is creating an recurring cycle. With every new piece of art she makes, she earns herself another opportunity to sell. And with every new piece of art she sells, she affords herself another opportunity to create. Certainly beats cold calling strangers.

During my years as a full time business owner, acute sales pressure was my motivational good luck charm. Considering there was a mortgage to pay and an enterprise to keep above water, the fear in the back of my mind was always, okay man, you better go make some sales really quick, or you will miss rent, foreclose on your condo, go out of business, move back in with your parents and have no chance of getting laid ever again. Pretty extreme thinking, but it did force me to make sales a top priority. Especially at the end of the year when I would confront my dangerously empty calendar. Wow, this is not good, we need to book more gigs. To create leverage in that fearful situation, here’s the question that galvanized me. Whom have you served in the past, who has money, and who needs to see this new thing you just made? Because with me, there was always a new thing. Books and movies and articles and interviews and projects, the easy part of my job was creating things. The hard part was using them as fuel to sell my services attached to them. But thanks to that acute sales pressure, there was a fairly straightforward way to quell my irrational fears and generate revenue. Go make a list of every single person who has ever given you money for anything in the last ten years, send them an email, and ask them to buy again. Period. Black and white. Sell, sell, sell. It really worked. My hacquisitioning made forget all about the fact that my bank balance only had three digits.

The Rest

Instead of bloodying your knuckles on doors that won’t open, go where the doors are already open and leaving a package on the welcome mat. The more prolific you are, the more things you have to pry open that door. Everything you create should lead to something else you create. Whom have you served in the past, who has money, and who needs to see this new thing you just made?

The Benefits

Generate acute sales pressure to motivate yourself
Leverage your creations as fuel to sell services attached to them
Quell your irrational fears and generate real revenue from your work
Increase the likelihood of a sale by targeting prospects who are predisposed to hiring you

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