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I sold a TV, Bought a Boat, & Gained a Friend Who Helped Me Succeed

averageOf5Over 10 years ago, I wanted to sell my old school, big screen, HDTV. You know, the big rear projection kind. So, I posted it for sale online. It didn’t take long and a guy contacted me about it and said he wanted it. So, he came by the house to get it. I wasn’t plugged into the charter business at the time so I had heard of him but didn’t really know who he was. He bought the TV and as he was leaving, he said he had heard I was looking for a boat and wanted to know if I would be interested in the boat he was selling. So, the next week, I took a ride in his boat and I bought it. That was the beginning of a friendship that has lasted well over a decade. He’s sent me referrals, connected me with other guides who have sent me referrals, he connected me with sponsors, helped me rig boats… etc. The list goes on. And, I am eternally grateful for being let into the “inner circle” of the successful guide business.

So, why do I tell you this? Because you want to be friends with the right people. Get in with the “wrong crowd” and you will get buried. Connect with the right people, and you will succeed. I don’t mean that you should kiss anyone’s rear end. Shoot, the friend I am talking about now… he and I have had plenty of disagreements. But, in the end, we respect each other and help each other in our respective businesses.

A little about the right crowd…

The right crowd is the crowd that can help lift you and your business up. They are guiding because it’s what they love, but it’s also their business. It’s how they support themselves and/or their family. They are morally sound and treat their customers and their fellow guides with respect. They know how to market themselves, as well as others. They are well liked by their peers. They look, walk, act, talk, and live the part. They are self confident, but don’t have a giant ego. They understand that surrounding themselves with other like minded professionals also helps them succeed.

A little about the wrong crowd…

The wrong crowd whines, a lot. They take the easy way out on charters and then wonder why their clients don’t come back for seconds. They yell at and belittle their clients.  They like to brag about themselves a great deal. They undercut, throw under the bus, and talk trash about their fellow guides. The wrong crowd is always broke, and they don’t know why. They deservingly draw the ire of their peers. These people cannot, and will not, help you succeed in the charter business. They are solely focused on themselves.

Identify and connect with the right people.

“If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people.”
-My Wife

It’s not hard to figure out who the successful captains are in your area. You know their names and you know their reputations. If you have been in the business for a while, and want to connect with the successful guides in your area, a great way to get your foot in the door is to start offering them your overflow charters (if you have them). If you are new to guiding, you could simply make a phone call and tell them that you are getting into guiding and want to pick their brain about the business. Make sure to tell them you want to go about things the right way and you value their input. The truly successful guides will respect you for being upfront and asking for advice. If you get blown off by the guide you call, move on. He’s not a connection that will benefit you later anyway.

You never know who you have on your boat. They can make or break your career.

One of my best clients, and now one of my best friends, went fishing with me for years before I ever knew he was anything more than a nice guy and moderately successful. But, I have always loved taking him fishing and have always enjoyed his company. I now know that he’s a very wealthy and extremely successful business owner. He’s helped me in more ways than I can count. And for that I am extremely grateful. I treat every client with the same work ethic, the same respect, and the same friendly demeanor. I dread the thought of me not having him as a friend if I had treated him otherwise.

The most successful guide I know, told me that his entire 20+ year, 300+ day a year charter business, is all due to one client he took fishing early on in his career. That particular client was in a position to tell other people about him, and those people were in a position to tell other people about him, and then those people told other people… and on and on.

I know another very successful fishing guide who has 3 clients that make up over 120 charters a year for him. He’s been taking these same three guys fishing over 120 days a year for over 10 years.

Connect with the “right crowd” and avoid the “wrong crowd”. They right crowd can help you more than you know. Also, treat every client as if they are your best client. You never know who you’re taking fishing and how they can make or break your career.

Coming soon…

Part 3 – It’s not about you.

Part 4 – Gorilla marketing… that phone ain’t gonna ring itself.

Part 5 – You’re worth more than you think.

Part 6 – Would you want to fish with you?


Author SteamWorks

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