A bodyguard colleague of mine (and former NFL player) shared a story with me. It is a “success story” and I thought it important to share it with you.
My friend was returning from working a major sporting event out of town, where he’d been hired to work as a bodyguard. He flew home First Class. Being a sociable kind of guy, he decided to chat with the female passenger next to him. They talked throughout the flight and in the course of their conversation, he told her what it was he does for a living. My buddy is easy-going, warm and intelligent. By the end of the flight, he learned that this woman is the manager of a major television star. At the end of the flight, my buddy gives her his business card. It included his telephone and email address. A very short time later, she called him and he was hired to protect her television celebrity, who was stumping for one of the presidential candidates. He snagged a nice contract for a stretch of this year’s exciting campaign trail. He worked that contract, met lots of people, and is already out working another contract.
Now, some of you might be thinking “Wow, Lucky guy.” Remember, “Luck” is when opportunity and preparation meet. Let’s break this down to really understand why it is that my colleague is working so much:
1.Â Put yourself in the best position to meet people who can hire you. i.e. fly first class! Go where the managers/agents/celebrities go. Most “power people” don’t fly coach.
2. “Strike while the iron is hot” Nothing attracts an employer so much as someone who is working. I know that sounds odd, but it’s true. Someone who is succeeding at what they do is desirable to an employer. You are also at your most confident when you’re either working, or have just completed an assignment. This is the time to find the next contract. It is more compelling to a potential employer to hear “I just finished working the Oscars” than “I’m not working right now.” (Be honest, though. Being untruthful will catch up with you.)
3. Be eager to talk with, and meet people. Don’t be afraid to tell people what it is you do. It’s an interesting profession–one that most people don’t know much about. If they do know something about your work, they will appreciate that you are warm, friendly and well-spoken! Don’t share personal information about clients or gossip. It’s unprofessional and reflects poorly on you.
4.Â Print business cards, and have them with you at all times. Be sure you have your correct information and if you don’t have an email account, get one and check it every day, several times a day.
5. Have the courage to give people your business card–they may not need it, but may give it on to someone who does!
6.Â While fulfilling your contract, be the best bodyguard they’ve ever worked with. Be prompt. Be attentive.Do your job better than anyone before you. Meet people. Talk to people. Hand out more cards. When you know it’s a short-term contract, be working to find the next contract. (See the second point “strike while the iron is hot.”)
It’s not just luck that gets you the job. Personality, timing, preparedness, perseverance and doing really good work on every job will get you the nextÂ job!