Tuesday, January 11, 2005

For The Love Of It - The Only Way

New careers are like hungry stray dogs for me: they scratch on my door; I feed them; they rapidly become permanent psychic residents. As an adult I studied the French language for my own stimulation—no business connection—until one day at an intensive school of languages in Europe, over champagne no less, I discovered I’d become the school’s North American sales representative. Hobby turns into profit source. I set up a web site. Inquiries came in. I quickly learned to separate the real prospects from the lookers and time wasters. The “real” people would tell me: “I’ve been studying French for years. I try to understand movies. But it’s so frustrating: I just can’t carry on a conversation. I love the language. Can your school help?” The time wasters—the college students and the young executives working on building their credentials—would ask questions like “How long will it take for your course to make me fluent in French.” While of course I’d take any customer as long as they could manage a bank transfer to the school, I understood quickly that “for the love of it” was the real hot button. Isn't that always the case? It's just unfortunate that often we convince ourselves otherwise.

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