2A is not 2B

Today I took a trip into Philly for a new and different reason.  For once the butterflies in my stomach weren’t about missing the train.  In fact I didn’t even triple check the number assigned to my parking spot at the Yardley train station.

The ride into Center City was uneventful with the exception of the sudden outbursts that made me glad my kids are no longer under the age of five. In spite of the overly loud reprimands, I managed to stay focused on the “page turner,” Google AdWords for Dummies, by Howie Jacobsen, Joel McDonald, and Kristie McDonald.

Last month one of my unofficial dreams became very official and was the reason for my afternoon jaunt into Philadelphia.  For a while now I’ve wanted to earn a living doing something I love.

I’d spent months considering the path of freelance writing for magazines only to remain discouraged and unmotivated.  I just couldn’t get excited about generating a bazillion ideas, submitting at least as many query letters to editors, and having a fraction of the work actually published.

This summer I realized I was overlooking the obvious. It dawned on me that I had an opportunity to marry my love of writing with my business and technical experience in a way that I could earn a living.  Not only that, it was a perfect chance to help people.

Last month I joined the local Chamber of Commerce and introduced myself for the first time as the owner of Discover Your Customers.  During the midst of my rambling and less than eloquent introduction I made a mental note to work on my elevator pitch.

The first person I met was Bonnie, the organizer of the round table meeting.  Our initial conversations were emails and LinkedIn messages exchanged by a couple of night owls.  Not only did we hit it off in person and are already brainstorming workshops – she is the reason for my trip; which was to meet with a prospective new client.

I’d heard about the power of social networking and now I’m an even bigger believer than before.  During the aftermath of Sandy I got an email from Bonnie.

“Hey there,

Hope you made it through the storm without too much difficulty – do you have power?

I just heard from a woman named Linda — she was referred to me
by someone I’ve never met in person, but I’ve connected with from LinkedIn (her name’s Susan). Susan does web writing, but was too busy and told Linda to try me — but that’s not my thing, so I told her I’d check with some of the people I knew…so that’s what I’m doing. :)”

Wow, so someone I met through an online social network and happened to hit it off with in person had just introduced me to a potential client.  The very next day I got a phone call and and email.

Linda and I arranged a time to meet and with more than a few butterflies to keep me company, I followed my instincts and headed into the city.  It turns out the angst was all for naught; the meeting went well and I’m fairly certain another connection has been made.

I was so pleased about how the meeting went that I forgot to engage my travel neurosis and check, check, and check again routine.  Instead, I calmly slipped into the last seat on the bench and waited on platform 2B for my 4:25 pm train back to Yardley.  Never mind the fact that I knew I was supposed to be on 2A, it just never occurred to me to check both the track and the section number.

train arrival board

I saw a red bench, the number 2, and naturally assumed that since it was the first platform I saw, it must be 2A.  I was baffled when the 4:25 train flew by me instead of stopping. After a few moments of perplexed consideration I realized that 2B was not to be and I made my way to 2A.

track 2A

As it turns out, it was a happy accident.  The 4:47 train was an express, not a local – which meant I got home at almost the same time as I’d planned for, the train was more comfy, and I had a story to tell.

I may be well on my way to being a successful business owner, but I think there are some things that will never change.

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