September 23, 2017

How to do outreach without selling your soul

You lost your whale client and cash flow dried up overnight. You have no leads and you’ve got four weeks before you’re flat broke.

As you see it, your options are:


You don’t want to send unsolicited email to strangers to ask them to hire you. It makes you feel like a spammer. Or a sleazy car salesman.

You’d rather take a day job than do that.

But taking a day job would be like giving up. A public admission of failure.

You’d rather sell your house (or car, or guitar, or whatever) than do that.

But selling your house (or car, or guitar, or whatever) will probably take too long. You need money now.

Rock, meet hard place.

Good news! Here are three ways to scare up work asap with unsolicited outreach emails without selling your soul:

You’re probably comfortable with doing options 1 and 2, so do them.

Right now, I’ll wait.



Now let’s talk about option 3.

Option 3 makes you a little queasy.

Of the three, it’s the only one that is truly “cold outreach” (i.e., sending an unsolicited email to someone who doesn’t know you from a hole in the ground)

Even though it’s cold outreach, it is the softest “sell” I can imagine (i.e., sending a compliment with a yes/no reply request)

But how will this lead to work?

The idea here is to start a conversation with a connected individual. Best case (albeit unlikely) scenario is that they hire you.

Next best case (more likely), you strike up a collegial relationship and they give you inside info or intro you to someone who needs you.

Worst case scenario (most likely), they don’t reply.

If you ask me, the worst case scenario is not so bad. You sent a compliment to a stranger and they didn’t make reply. Does that make you feel like a bad person? If it does, you need stronger counseling than I can provide.

Think about it...

Option 3 is really the same thing as option 1, but with the preliminary step of “make friends with a stranger in your target market” - you can do that, right?

Making friends is not spammy.