Think Your CFC Leads Are Already Cold? Think Again.

Tom T bug

I have a confession to make. I haven’t followed up with everyone I met at CFC yet.

This bugs me, and getting caught up is high on my to-do list, but I take consolation from the knowledge that many of you haven’t finished the same task. I’m still sending and receiving LinkedIn invitations with people I met at the conference. And earlier this week I received an email from a designer I contacted shortly after CFC, which started with the words “It’s definitely not my nature to make someone wait this long…but…” I laughed with relief, because I had been sending messages just like hers for several days.

If you’ve been scrambling to play catch-up, it’s easy to get discouraged. You may be thinking: “nothing’s happened yet, so it’s probably too late for anything to happen.”

Au contraire.

I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. A lot of us are struggling with getting it all done. Here’s why:

Heading back to your daily grind can be a serious culture shock after an event like CFC—especially if you stayed on for the full HOW Design Conference like I did. Six days away from work creates a lot of catching up to do, quite apart from all the opportunities you discover at the event.

Remember too, that right after CFC every one of us had to face one of the single most disruptive events that can strike a freelance business. It’s called “July.” If you haven’t been on vacation yourself (you are taking a vacation this year, right?), many of your clients probably have been, introducing all manner of delays and frustrations into your work schedule.

For my part, I was home from CFC for less than 48 hours before I had to rush right back out of town to spend four days with my wife’s family. While I was there I had a conference call with one of the new clients I picked up at CFC, but didn’t get much time to do billable work. Then it was 4th of July week. Shortly after that we were on vacation, and the next thing I knew it was August. Freakin’ August.

Most other people I’ve talked to since the conference are telling similar stories—getting caught up, going on vacation, getting the kids back to school, and so on.

Yet at the same time, many of us are still making progress and reaping the rewards of the conference. I’ve already done enough new work to pay for the trip. I’m in the middle of several other conversations with people I’ve followed up with. And I’ve still got a stack of more than 100 cards to go through.

So my message today is simple…don’t give up. Keep following up. Keep chasing those great leads and contacts you made at CFC. Even if you haven’t been struggling to keep up like most of us, these things can take time, and it may be that the people you’re reaching out to haven’t responded because they’re playing catch-up too.

Didn’t make it to San Francisco? You can still get some of the benefits of the event by picking up the audio recordings, which are now available here. [LINK]

And if you’re one of the people I promised to follow up with, rest assured that I haven’t forgotten you. I’ll be in touch just as soon as I figure out how to shut off this fire hose. Really.


Tom N. Tumbusch writes copy that creates action for creative agencies and green businesses. He publishes a free writing tips newsletter each month and periodically shares more casual wisdom on the WordStream of Consciousness Blog. His tiny solar-powered corner of the Internet can be found at