Why I’m lucky clients didn’t flock to me

I reluctantly launched my career as a freelancer after getting laid off from a wonderful investment communications job at an investment management firm. After I decided to freelance, my phone didn’t ring with eager prospects. On the other hand, as an introvert, I didn’t do much to market myself. Cold calls? Heaven forbid.

Blessing in disguise

So, how was this a blessing in disguise? Because I developed a style of communicating that fits social media.

I wish I could say I foresaw social media. It might be nice to be a guru. But, I simply acted like myself.

I started an email list to stay in touch with the nice people at my old company. Rather than make my emails all about myself, I started writing up the presentations I attended at the Boston Security Analysts Society, where I networked regularly. I wrote about the bits that interested me, similar to the way I wrote up “How Merrill Lynch and US Trust stay relevant to clients, according to Justine Metz.”

When former colleague Tom Manning emailed me that he looked forward to my emails, I’d realized I’d stumbled onto something good. I turned my emails into a monthly e-newsletter, and I invited my networking contacts to subscribe. Those newsletter articles evolved into blog posts.

Back then, I looked jealously at writers who immediately landed steady work with earlier employers or their vast pool of contacts. But, if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have developed my newsletter, which has become the foundation of my success.


I learned a style of marketing that works for an introvert like me, especially in the age of social media. Its components include the following:

  1. Give away useful content.
  2. Send mass emails only to people who agree to receive them.
  3. Keep your name in front of prospects on a regular basis. You can’t sell them until they’re ready to buy.

A veteran of the cold calling, hard sell school of marketing once told me, “You’re lucky you know how to write without always asking for the sale.”

I think I’m lucky the world has swung my way. I’m also grateful for the wonderful readers who have supported my e-newsletter and blog.

15 replies
  1. Stephanie Sammons
    Stephanie Sammons says:

    Love this post Susan! It’s great when you share personal stories like this. I recently returned from the New Media Expo conference and the #1 nugget of wisdom I gained from the conference was “don’t pitch your services in your content.” Basically that people are going to naturally begin to trust and appreciate you for the value you share which can lead to a business inquiry. I’ve also experienced this 1st hand. It’s tempting to pitch, but it’s not necessary today.

  2. Susan Weiner, CFA
    Susan Weiner, CFA says:

    Thank you! It’s interesting to hear that “don’t pitch your services in your content” was a popular message at the New Media Expo.

  3. Cathy Sullivan -Cohen
    Cathy Sullivan -Cohen says:

    Susan:) You have ALWAYS had an innate
    ability to pin-point issues and concerns that
    are high on everone’s lists. In addition, you drilled
    complex concepts down to terminology everyone
    can understand. That’s value and talent in
    a nutshell! Kudos!

  4. Jen Dunning
    Jen Dunning says:

    Love the image!~
    And I certainly admire how you’ve leapfrogged everyone on social media. A perfect match for an introvert, and you have the luxury of focusing on what you do so well….write incisively and informatively about very dry material making it accessible and interesting for your clients’ audiences.

  5. Harriett Magee
    Harriett Magee says:

    Integrity, intelligence, and empathy seem to be the cornerstone of your writing business, and they’re the qualities financial advisers need to succeed. It’s a good match.

  6. Mike Garry
    Mike Garry says:


    As awlays, very good post. Your very last paragraph hit close to home for me. I feel almost the same way. I could have never started an advisory business by coldcalling, and I’m a little too introverted for networking. The internet has come along and changed everything and it has been great for me.

  7. Will Prinzen
    Will Prinzen says:

    In an environment where discussions around a change from a Sales approach to a Fiduciary approach are at the forefront of our industry, you’ve shown how one can be both successful and responsible. Well done!

  8. Kevin O'Reilly
    Kevin O'Reilly says:

    Your audience is lucky, too! To the degree that we’ve swung away from cold-calling, the world is a better place.

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