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door knob spamI had the good fortune of meeting Chris Brogan on Tuesday night…and to listen to him tell story after story, all of them heavy with hidden ideas and more than a fair bit of laughter. One in particular keeps playing in my head…

Chris’ phone rings and he answers. A pipe fitter or roofer or something of that nature is on the other end, chewing his dinner loudly into the phone.

In between chomps, slurps and smacks, he tells Chris, “Someone told me I should call you.” Chew, swallow. “That you might be able to help me.” Burp, gulp. “Do you think I should have you help me or should I invest in some of those door hangers (I would call this door knob spam – see picture to the left)?”

“Door hangers,” said Chris. “Go with the door hangers.”

There’s an obvious lesson here about saying no. That even as freelancers or starving artists, and even in these dismal economic times, it’s important to just say no to the guy chewing in your ear, the guy that doesn’t get it. And by ‘it’ I mean: you, what you do, the value of your work and what he should be doing with his marketing money.

But, this story reeks of something else. Because when you sit around and wait for the phone to ring (not implying that Chris was doing that – this is an extrapolation, people), you’re likely to get some real crap. Or at the very least, you’ll get something passing as ‘okay’ but not what you really want. (Of course, a beautiful goose might also randomly waddle over, squat and lay a golden egg on your doorstep – but that’s another post).

I think Brogan’s story is a bit of a call to action. Who do you want to work with? What do you want to write? What do you want to do? Go get it. Make it happen. And make it happen the way you want it to. Seek, search, pull ’em in.

Chris had a choice, and he took it. And those door hangers? I always throw them in the trash.

Image credit: CogDogBlog

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Jason says:

    Hey, I was just gonna start hanging them in W. Tis!!

  • Ed says:

    I suspect that door hangers are about as popular as the inserts that fall out all over the place whenever I sit down to read the latest New Yorker. But, let me tell, you, when I was a candidate for public office I learned that door hangers are very, very effective in some categories of neighborhood. More than bumper stickers and “gadgets” that politicians hand out. Not to everyone’s taste, but to some, an eye-catcher.

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    This spoke to me in a big way. Many people want me to write their books, but they don’t understand why I charge as much as I do. They think I should work for peanuts because they don’t value what I do. I often end up belly aching over this when I should just say, “get a door hanger.” Love that as a symbolic expression.

  • Ari Herzog says:

    Considering I *am* a candidate for public office, Ed’s comment strikes with me. I am not using door hangars, but have postcards which I give to everyone I meet, and if nobody’s home, they get squeezed between the door foam insulation and the wood, resting on the door knob…so when someone opens the door from the inside, it falls down…or from the outside, they see it.

  • I take those door hangers, cover them with white out and write “my doorbell doesn’t work. Get the idea?”. Then I put it back out.

    That’s called recycling, right? Or is it repurposing? Or is it just the fact that I’m a hermit? :)

    Love the post. As usual.

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