A common trait shared by the successfully self-employed is their willingness to mobilize the resources at hand. You won’t find them stalling, making excuses about not being able to move ahead for lack of funds, equipment, experience. It’s a practice we can all adopt. Here’s an exercise that can be duplicated in all sorts of ways, no matter how far along the path you are.

The idea came from Mark H. McCormack who pointed out that all it really takes to start a business is a desk and a phone. So what can you do with a phone? Here are a few ideas that came to mind when I asked myself that question.

° Create a welcoming message. None of this, “You have reached 721-4444” stuff. Let people know you’re glad they called. You may not mean it if a telemarketer calls, but that’s no reason to leave a bland, generic greeting.

° Receive invitations and opportunities. Always, always answer the phone with enthusiasm and expectation. At the very least, you’ll startle your callers who probably are used to being greeted with indifference or, alas, hostility. 

° Brainstorm. Many success teams function beautifully by phone. All you need is a group of idea-generators and access to a bridge line such as Free Conference. It’s a worthwhile way to spend an hour or two on a regular basis. Today, in fact, I’m looking forward to a call with the participants in the first Follow Through Camp and can’t wait for their progress reports. 

When I was working on the updated Making a Living Without a Job, my editor (whom I’ve not met in person) and I brainstormed via the phone. Now that it’s nearing publication, my publicist and I are doing the same. 

° Teach a class. I resisted doing teleclasses for ever so long. Since I love being in a room with adult learners I thought it would be impossible to duplicate that over the phone. I was right: it isn’t the same experience. But it’s still a great vehicle for sharing information with folks who couldn’t get to a meeting room where I was teaching.

In addition, I’ve enjoyed doing teleclasses on new subjects that work well in the shorter format. It’s a lovely way to generate cash flow from the comfort of my couch.

° Stay in touch with your tribe. Even though e-mail has become the most frequent form of communication for most people, it can’t take the place of a live chat. You don’t need an excuse or agenda to talk to folks who matter most to you.

° Follow up. Sent out a proposal? Talked to a potential client? Not heard back from a collaborator about a joint venture? Take a deep breath and open a conversation.