How to Push Yourself Forward When Ye Olde Pipeline Is Clogged

Your business pipeline should be easier to maneuver than this room!

Are you a work-from-home solopreneur? Then you know what it’s like to anticipate a busy next month or quarter. You know, when those inquiries and project quote requests from prospective clients flood your inbox and social media accounts. But just as Spicy Chai Latte from Trader Joe’s transforms into a slippery beverage when you add hot water, your potential leads and projects can dissolve into nothing billable, despite your best follow-up efforts.

Is this dramatic and visual enough for you? It should be, because not only do I know how this makes you feel, I also know that you shouldn’t take it personally. No, that hallowed quote from The Godfather won’t be inserted here, but say it to yourself if it provides any comfort!

Here are some ways to remain proactive when, despite your best efforts, your prospective client/project pipeline is as clogged as a toddler’s mucus-encrusted nostrils:

Scan Your LinkedIn Connections and Schedule One-on-One Coffee Talks: Okay, so this isn’t a paradigm-shifting piece of advice I’m offering. In fact, you’ve probably heard it parroted to you at countless networking presentations and business forums. After you finish reading this post, log into your LinkedIn (LI) account and look for at least six new local connections whom you met within the past few months. Send them each a brief LI message asking their availability for a one hour, in-person coffee/tea/H2O meeting within the next two weeks. Do it – you’ll stop whining about your lack of prospecting activity!

Attend Educational Seminars or Training Sessions: Based on your current budget, there are different ways to approach this “proactivity.” If your education and training budget is lean, join up with free professional groups in your local prospecting zone using Meetup’s website. Check your local library’s website for any free computer or social media training that might appeal to entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Can you carve out some company cash? If so, look for in-person seminars/training sponsored by your local chapter of the American Marketing Association (ask to try before joining) or other professional organizations you haven’t yet sampled. Don’t forget to browse your local community college’s website for more educational opportunities!

Attend Charitable Fundraisers for Philanthropic and Mingling Purposes: This type of business pipeline “Drano™” will cost you. But your marketing budget should allow for such events, because networking is a beneficial by-product. Is there a local branch of a national nonprofit you’ve been meaning to learn more about or get involved with as a volunteer? Then attend their next smaller-scale food and wine tasting or luncheon/panel discussion.

If you can confirm beforehand those certain leaders within the organization who will be at the event (and then brace yourself for some assertive behavior on your part), even better. Some incredibly worthwhile nonprofits in the South Jersey area include Big Brothers Big Sisters, Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice, and the Food Bank of South Jersey.

Rearrange Your Messy, Mismatched Sock Drawer: Joking!

How do you get your prospecting efforts back on the path of profitable righteousness when you feel like you’re chasing imaginary clients or projects? What else would you suggest? Inquiring solopreneurs and small business owners want to know!

Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business writing, editing, and research company. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Call her (856-810-9764) or email her ( for a no-obligation project quote today!

8 Responses to How to Push Yourself Forward When Ye Olde Pipeline Is Clogged

    • Hi Kristine,

      You’re welcome – we all need a wee bit of prospecting motivation, especially in the summer. Sometimes there is just no “rhyme or reason” regarding why some months are busier than others. I do hope PuroClean is busy helping those customers currently dealing with heat-related recovery issues…

  1. I think the sock drawer clean up is a good suggestion. Actually, from a feng shui point of view, any kind of cleaning – like getting those files off my desk and put away – helps the flow of $$ energy.

    • Kristine: I was attempting to insert some humor regarding the sock drawer reference, but I totally agree with you that any type of cleaning creates positive energy. I recently reorganized/decluttered my home office area (again!), and it did indeed make me more productive. Thanks for reading and stopping by – stay cool/hydrated!

  2. Cleaning out a sock drawer requires making pairs. And….one way to fill a pipeline is to make a referral. Match someone you know with someone else you know who could benefit from that introduction and it will lead to something down the road. It’s all about value.

    That sock thing really works!

    • Hi Cheryl,

      I’m starting to wonder how many other gentle readers were drawn to this blog post because of the sock drawer mention. Perhaps a future blog post is brewing…

      Thanks for offering the use of introductions and referrals as another way to strengthen one’s business prospecting pipeline. I’m all for matching up people I meet during my networking travels whom I sense can help/benefit each other. Good karma is as good karma does – you just never know when it’s coming back for a visit!

      May your air conditioning be plentiful and on high this weekend, Cheryl. Thanks again for stopping by!

  3. Lori, this is good, solid advice not just for entrepreneurs, but those of us looking for permanent part-time or full-time work. Thanks for putting this in an easy reference format with which to remind myself!

    Now I’m going to clean out my sock drawer.

    • Hello Pam,

      Thank you for visiting the BAW blog; it’s nice to hear from you! I wasn’t intending to target job seekers, but you are absolutely right – networking is the best way to push forward a job search, especially in this current economy.

      I have nothing but empathy (and amusing memories of my own past efforts) for those who endure sifting through and answering “black hole” online job postings…

      Man oh man, the sock drawer thing really plucked a chord with all my commenting readers. Perhaps a future blog post on sock drawers is inevitable? Take care!