Monday, March 23, 2009

Twenty three minutes after low-tide

I may have found my rhythm in cold-calling, but that doesn't mean that it is any better. I'm onto my fourth marketing interview this Friday: my third was a real rocker. The Hong Kong-born New Zealand-raised training responsible, upon hearing about my linguism and wanting to know whether I would be able to build rapport with the (potential) Chinese students, lured me into speaking Cantonese. Lightning questions were bolted across the table. One sentence: fended neatly; another one: replied with aplomb; the third: boujee? what is a boujee, "Newspaper," ah, "baozhi," I translate into Mandarin, well, yes, I can read newspapers in Chinese. The meeting was the best yet, though. Despite the trial, she has been the one that I've built most rapport with in the meeting, and whose company's situation was most likely to yield potential students.

With my roll shrinking even further, the urgency has increased. But there is good reason to believe the bottom has been struck; the bleeding has been arrested. E-mails last night reassured me somewhat: two Czechs will be returning from their travels, journeys which I thought might have ceased their tuition; another student, who promised that he'd talk his manager into extending his tuition, extended it with interest; and another will come back from a trip. And I've finally settled on what my volunteer work will comprise, after a hiatus of half a year.

And at Abel Tasman National Park, tides oppose your your progress with their ingress. Low tide is when you can cross. I've done fairly well with my additional leisure. My lack of travel last year in the boom has been more than compensated by my frolicking about the place including Abel Tasman. 23 minutes after low tide on 16 March, I crossed a morning chilled Awaroa inlet on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, one of the most perfect places, where I had one of my most perfect moods the previous evening.

That was when I went out for a walk on the mudflats in my jandals to see the extent of low tide. The exertions of the day had levelled my mind so the starlight could shine in.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Of swings

March has strode into my life and has already dictated the terms for the rest of the year. With the loss of Wellington, the graduation of five students, foreign trips of three and the imminent maternity of another, my roll has started to dwindle back to levels not seen in a very, very long time. I was aware from the New Year break that such a predicament could arise. And foreknowledge did soften the increasingly sharp realisation of what was coming.

Fortunately, I have appealing contingency plans, but still first I'll apply myself to plan A with all my strength. This enterprise of mine means a rather lot to me and I shan't let it slip into a coma. After some hesitation, I've returned to that horrid task of cold-calling. Already there has been some promising signs. One of the most promising signs is the kindness of receptionists to yield contacts so easily and the friendliness of those whom I've had to deal with.

Cold-calling, three years ago, resulted in my biggest working success. One single cold-called potential client became my greatest income stream, gave me a transnational status for a year and provided the joy of full-time occupation with my work. The students were pretty marvellous too. And so, again, in the depths of this recession I again will seek to uncover a seam of gold. Or perhaps just a spring or two to keep me warm over the winter. The search for that client took two patches of sustained cold-calling, the first ending with a lot of leads that were followed to their ends without success. It is a rather brutal process and it'll take a long time before I can, with some eagerness, raise the phone to do such calls. I'm expecting a long haul once more.

In my early years of business, I made use of my surplus time with Chinese study, reading and also philosophical investigation. This time round it'll be firmly centred on developing my writing skills. My chinese study will be rehabilitated, reading maintained and swimming sustained, but I will keep writing as a core. I want to see what I can do. I want to fulfil my potential here.

If my teaching endeavour fails altogether, I will likely head to Europe and England for travel before flying to China to educate, earn and adapt in a Chinese environment, before once again returning to my much loved home, New Zealand. Quite an enviable plan B, eh!