I went ahead and signed up for Salesforce. This is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program that helps you keep all your data about leads, contacts, and accounts in one place. First, this helps you actually follow up with potential clients — something I generally don’t do, because the information is never handy and also I’m so busy that I forget. In general, I have enough work on hand from people who take the initiative themselves that I just don’t bother with the ones who might well hire me if I just called them back.
During the first week of the trial, I was amazed to see how many leads I had. At the end of the one-month free trial, I find that I have 16. If this is typical, and if I converted 10% of these people, then I would have another 20 projects a year — enough to pay for a full time employee.
And this is just people who contact me. If I actually made any effort to find prospective leads, I could end up with quite a tidy little business.
The Computer Guy also points out that Salesforce gathers data. At some point in the future, the information I’m gathering now will allow me to do things like forecast sales, estimate things accurately, price things better, recognize when I’m about to get too much work — stuff like that.
But it’s definitely an investment. You have to pay for a full year, for as many people as you plan to include in it. I’m also setting up this new website, which is very much a bow at a venture. I made two scary investments in my first year of business, and both have given me excellent ROI. I’m trusting that these two scary investments will do the same.
Also, it’s not magic. I have to call those people up — or hire someone to do it. I was hoping #1 daughter would be able to do this part, but she’s swamped. So I plan to get some of those phone calls made today.
I also have a lesson for the Kennedy Center on Civil War letters, and a new website project to arrange (with The Computer Guy, if he accepts) and work for my New Yorker and my Australians, and I also still have half a dozen of The Computer Guy’s projects on hand.
It’s also Good Friday, so I ought to make Hot Cross Buns. I hope to finish early today and go to the Tenebrae service and start getting ready for Easter.
Hi ho, hi ho!
I came back to add my photo, so I might as well tell you that I did follow up. It was easy — all the info was there, including notes on all previous contacts, copies of their proposals, etc. Everyone seemed reasonably glad to hear from me and had good reasons for not having gotten back to me.