Having worked as a freelancer for several years now, one tends to forget how it all started and how my career choice in 2004 has defined where I am today.
MinutePoll, CoolBrands, SuperBrands, TrendBox
It all started after becoming fed up with working for an impossible boss, not the first one I should add. At that same time I was reading a great management book on the trend of becoming self-employed and call yourself a ‘free agent’. The whole concept appealed to me, adventurous as I am. After working for 16 years as an employee in media sales, I thought it was time to try new directions and become independent and learn new trades.
LinkedIn had only just been launched a year earlier and not yet the source of leads it is today. So it came down to the old-fashion approach of calling and emailing my network and informing them of my plans. Whether we could talk and see if my sales skills would come handy in their business. Offering a ‘sales gun for hire’, so to say.
I was referred to several people and invited for a cup of coffee by a retired research guy who just acquired a license to work with a new retail research tool from the US called MinutePoll. Basically short questionnairs that were handed out in supermarkets, asking people to call in toll-free and answer a few questions regarding products and services. The reward was often a price reduction or a free product. It helped retail outlets to monitor consumer trends and how their services were appreciated. We even helped organize the election of best supermarket of a chain.
I got introduced into a whole new world of consumer research and got to know some very interesting people. But when me and my business partner wanted to talk about taking over the research license and offering a buy-out, skeletons started falling out of the license holder’s closet. We had to pull out and look for other business opportunities again. Like the one in the same corridor as MinutePoll called CoolBrands, another startup being hosted in the TrendBox building.
See my next story on online reputation (part 5).
Tags: Rodric Leerling, CoolBrands, consumer research, business development, pioneering sales, international sales, conceptual sales, Leerling.biz, Social Selling.