Turning Old Colleagues Into New Clients

  • Out of sight, out of mind. Be visible. Make lunch and coffee dates with people you used to work with. Or send them occasional email about something of mutual interest, just to remind them that you exist. (Your email "signature" should appear at the bottom of every message, and it should include a brief phrase -- not an ad, which is tacky -- that reminds people what it is you do.) Even a five-minute phone call just to say hello can help keep your network alive.

  • Don't hard-sell; that's not appropriate for someone you've already worked with. But be bold enough to get your point across clearly. (Your point is that you're available for projects).

  • Don't shy away from asking old colleagues for new leads.

  • If your former co-worker is currently a wage slave, ask about projects where he works, and about the use of IPs on those projects. Don't assume he'll volunteer this kind of information; he probably just doesn't think in those terms.

  • Try to keep track of old colleagues as they move to new positions or companies.

  • Don't forget that your suppliers are colleagues too. They may well provide leads. Don't be shy to ask; it's a perfectly businesslike thing to do, and they do it themselves.

  • Be disciplined. Devote one hour a day to networking even when you're working. When you have no project to work on, networking becomes your project.