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You can’t deny that successful people are luckier than everyone else. Things just seem to fall in place for them. As Charlemagne said in Pippin, “it’s smarter to be lucky than it’s lucky to be smart.” Wouldn’t it be nice if you knew their secret?

How to Make Your Own Luck

Luck Made Me $6000 in 3 Days

Back when I was in the real estate business I had the chance to make $6000 for about 24 hours of work appraising a golf course. I told the client I knew nothing about the assignment but he wanted me to do it anyway. There was one hitch: I had three days to get it done.

After visiting the course (I could have played it for free but didn’t have the time) I started my research. My first call was to American Golf, at the time the largest owner of golf courses in the country. I told the receptionist I had been assigned a golf course appraisal and was hoping someone at her firm could help me. She transferred me to investor services. I repeated why I called to the investor relation’s person. Our conversation:

IR person: Do you have a pencil?

Me: Yes.

IR person: Do you have some paper?

Me (mystified by his questions but going along): Yes.

IR person: Okay, here’s what you need to do.

He spent the next 45 minutes explaining how to underwrite a golf course. Then he told me I needed to get copies of a golf course trade magazine.

I spent the next hour calling libraries looking for the magazines. No dice. Now this was pre-Internet so I couldn’t just go online and research the publisher. Fortunately one of the librarians had heard of it. I got the publisher’s phone number from her.

My next call was to the publisher. The woman who answered the phone didn’t sound too friendly but I gave her my pitch:

Me: Hi, I’m doing a golf course appraisal and I’ve been told your magazine is a crucial data source. I’d like to get some back issues. Can you help me?

Publisher: A subscription costs $600. You’ll get your first issue in 8 to 12 weeks.

Me: I guess I didn’t explain myself well. I don’t want new issues. I want back issues. And I need them right away because my report is due in two days.

Publisher: A subscription costs $600. You’ll get your first issue in 8 to 12 weeks.

Me: I appreciate that you want to sell a subscription. I’ll pay for back issues.

Publisher: You don’t listen very well. A subscription costs $600. You’ll get your first issue in 8 to 12 weeks.

I gave up and got to work with what I had.

The next day, thinking I had nothing to lose, I called the publisher back. Someone else answered the phone. I explained what I wanted.

Publisher: Sure, I’m happy to help. How many back issues do you want?

Me: Gosh, six month’s worth would be fine.

Publisher: Where should I send them?

Me: You’re being so helpful, may I trouble you to Fedex them? I’ll give you my account number.

Publisher: Oh, we have a Fedex account, no problem. Do you want it for morning delivery?

Me: Yes, I need them as soon as possible.

Publisher: Do you have a fax machine? I can fax you an issue or two.

Me: That would be FANTASTIC! You’re being so helpful, would you give me the name of your supervisor? I want to write a letter about what a great employee you are.

Publisher: Thank you, but it’s not necessary.

Me: Still, I’d really like to.

Publisher: It’s not necessary. I’m a temp. I won’t be here tomorrow.

I received the back issues and finished the assignment on time.

How I Got Lucky

My luck came from two things:

  1. Asking for help. I was honest about what I needed and used the word “help.” People want to help you. But you have to let them know what you need and why. If you’re legit they will help. I once had a business manager give me confidential details about his client’s sale of a winery when I asked for his help. I’ve always thought his client wouldn’t have liked what he did. But perhaps they were too busy drinking wine to care.
  2. Being persistent. I found a librarian who could help me after to speaking to five or six. The first person at the publisher wasn’t helpful. But if I hadn’t called back I would never have hit the jackpot with the second one.

You can do both of these. You can make your own luck!

What do you do to get lucky? Please comment below.

© , Kevin S. Bemel, All Rights Reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some links in the above post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guide Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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