Betsy Cox, Divorce Concierge

This week at the Felix Weekly, we talked to the New-York-Times-profiled Divorce Concierge Betsy Cox, who’s currently in development with a major network for a TV show about her work. Hate that very unspecial person in your life, but just not sure how to pop the rejection? Betsy Cox helps divorcés cut through the red tape of break-ups (and, uh, cut off their relationship).

Since we’re not getting divorced but we are trying to work with pros to build their business, we talked shop with Betsy about how to network-work-work-work-work.

How did you land your first client?

I told a concierge company that I could book any popular restaurant in London — and although I did book my first restaurant as requested, I booked it for the wrong night. I still remember the street corner where I cried as I realized my first task had gone all wrong. I decided I had nothing to lose: when I told the manager my story, cried a bit, begged a bit, and most importantly, tipped a bit, I got the coveted reservation for the evening. Moral of the story? Never give up. There is always a way to make it work — and when in doubt, a tip will always help.

How did you grow from there?

Word of mouth. I believe in a model of reciprocity: in other words, if I go above and beyond for all my clients, they’ll be motivated to share their experiences with others and end up going above and beyond for me too. And for the most part, that’s been the case. I also still offer a free initial consultation. I feel that if you charge a consultation fee, you’ll lose potential clients, set the wrong tone, and most importantly, lose a conversation with someone who might promote you whether or not they use your service. A free consultation is free PR.

And what have you improved about your business since you started?

My network! It’s all about your network: you have to remind yourself that everyone you meet could potentially introduce you to whole new networks that could take your business in a direction you never dreamed. I’m living proof. When I started, I never would have dreamed that my niche business would bring me to TV! Of course, I’ve also improved my approach to networking. When I meet potential clients, I don’t plug my business as a general divorce concierge; instead, I find out their particular needs to address (housing? lawyers? help?). I tell everyone to call me if they need anything from a hotel to a tutor. Even if I’ve given away a tip on the best restaurants in Paris for free, I know that person could come back with a much bigger request or a referral. That’s my hook. Spread the wealth of your knowledge and it will come back twofold!

Organizing Bagel Fridays at the 9–5 is hard enough. But managing your one-man business? Your degree in poetry and ripped physique don’t help you getting clients or setting rates (we speak from experience). Enter the Felix Weekly, where we talk with one super-pro every week about how they’ve built their business.

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