When I started my business 6.5 years ago, leaving behind my career as a PGA Golf Professional, I really didn't have a game plan or an intention to figure out how to implement my golf skills into my new business as the owner of a Virtual Assistance company. It actually seemed like those two worlds could not possibly collide.
Still, as the years passed, I started seeking ways to network for my business on the golf course. My most spontaneous line whenever I am pleasantly surprised on a Zoom call to find a golfer is, "I don't really care if we ever do business together; we are definitely going to play some golf!" To my surprise, many of the people I said that to have now become clients.
Then, this year, there was a significant shift. I started playing competitively again after a 12-year break from competitions and regained my "Amateur" status from the USGA in September 2022. I played in NYSGA (New York State Golf Association), MGA (Metropolitan Golf Association), WMGA (Women's Metropolitan Golf Association), and even went to a USGA (United States Golf Association) qualifier. It was so much fun competing in 10 events.
And while I was out there truly doing what I LOVE, this is what happened to my business:
1. I leaned into Delegation - Even more!
During a golf tournament, there is no such thing as "online." Actually, it is illegal to use your phone or check your phone during a competition. You can be disqualified if you break this rule. Therefore, even with all my years of training myself how to delegate and give more tasks to my team, this was a new level for me. I had to be completely offline during workdays on a regular basis for up to 6-7 hours for competitions. It really provided the opportunity for me to let go and let my team do their amazing job of working and managing at a whole new level.
2. As I tuned into my passions, I was happier and a better boss
I was in the middle of a competition, The Long Island Amateur, at Bethpage Red, when my competitor said to me, "How has your business been affected since you returned to competition?" I reflected for a moment and said, "You know, when I am focused on my passions and what I love doing, everything else just seems to flow much better. My team flows better, my business progresses more efficiently, and my company produces more revenue."
It is so true. As I review my business for the year, there is a distinct uptake at the end of the summer/start of the fall, precisely 3 months after I started pursuing my passions a little bit more in golf (FYI, that is usually when my business development efforts start taking hold, 3-4 months after I initiate them).
3. Through talking about my passions to my community, I reconnected with past clients and others in my network who sent me new referrals
The most engagement I have ever had in a newsletter (sign up here if you haven't already) was when I announced my return to competitive golf. I had so many replies from people that I honestly thought never read my newsletter. It was extremely encouraging and wonderful.
As I continued talking about my golf experiences and tournaments, more and more of these people I lost track of started reaching out and reconnecting with me - as well as sending me referrals! I am thankful that one of these referrals is also now a client!
4. I had more current clients up their services this year than I ever have before
As it became more and more well-known that I was golfing again, I started playing more golf with clients, past clients, referral partners, and amazing people in my network. I have always believed that one of my key principles in business is to nurture the network I have, especially my amazing clients. I make the goal of seeing one of my clients every month, in-person, even if that means I am traveling across the country to do so.
What this also means is that I started seeing more and more of my clients on the golf course. Through this consistent nurturing, I have seen the largest upswing of my current clients increasing their contracts with additional scope. It is amazing!
5. Golf became even more of a source of Business Development for me
With golf on my mind, I was also introduced to more and more golf networking opportunities. I played in 4 fundraising events for different networks. I also joined a business-golf-networking group called The Stationers. It has been so much fun spending my time on the golf course meeting new business owners, and yes, it is even more fun when I beat them!
Which happens often! 😉
Me at the NYSGA - Mid-AM Championship!
Golf is part of who I am and one of the greatest passions of my life. It has been so much fun to return to competitions, lean into finding new ways to network, nurture existing relationships, and build new friendships all on the golf course.
I know that in the end, this is really me just being me and "Doing What I Love". Just another testimony that when we do more of what we love, the better our lives and our businesses will be!
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Written by MerriLyn Gibbs