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I’ve been noticing this trend in my business over the past couple of months- what I am terming the “just in time” option. In general, I’d say that I have somewhat mixed feelings about someone considering me “just in time”- it sometimes seems OK, as in “Wow, you showed up just in time and I am so appreciative” while other times, it might feel like “Well, I guess we’ll pick you since there’s nobody else.”

I’ve been moved to begin shifting my view of being the “just in time” option, at least where business growth and business visibility is concerned. (In my personal life, I’d still really rather feel like the first and best option. 🙂

In any case, what I’ve been noticing is that over the past four months, I’ve been asked, at the last minute, to step in for someone else who canceled. Two times, this put me on a teleseminar series I wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of, which ultimately resulted in more visibility for me, and several thousand dollars of income from packages I sold on the series. The third time, I got onto a radio show, with my segment airing just before Jack Canfield’s (co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul). The fourth time, I gained two clients from stepping in and helping out in a pinch.

So, as I said, this is moving me to re-evaluate my distaste for being the “just-in-time” AKA “last minute stand-in.” After all, by being willing to help, and saying yes, I’ve been rewarded in ways that matter to me. Not only have I generated a lot of good will with the people who asked me for help, but I’ve also become a bit more well known and made some money too.

While you can’t necessarily engineer “just in time” opportunities, I think you can be ready for them when they happen. Sometimes, this means just saying yes even if it’s not 100% convenient, or you have to work a little bit overtime to be ready. For instance, in the case of one of the teleseminars, I had to quickly create a set of new, relevant products, which meant I had to work a few late nights and weekends to meet the deadline. Now, of course, I wouldn’t want to do this all time, but sometimes is ok.

Is it risky to say yes at the last minute? It can be. Certainly, I’ve stepped into situations where I didn’t feel all that well prepared and it was a case of taking a deep breath, trying to gather my thoughts, and doing the best I could. The key here is to not let yourself get so freaked out by what might happen that you lose track of what is actually happening. As humans, we possess a particular talent for living in the past which is already over and in the future which has not yet arrived.

Part of being in business, to me, is about having courage and taking risks. At worst, you may look a bit silly, or not sound as polished as you like. At best, though, you do better than you thought, and that opens up new doors.

With the media especially, I find that the more media mentions I have, the more I naturally generate. I was recently quoted in USA Today College (You can read the article here) and that has led to a bunch more media inquiries on that topic, some coming in from as far away as South Africa and New Zealand.

The USA Today interview was another last minute request that has generated more opportunities for me.

So, in closing, I guess my main points are these:

1) Say yes first and figure out how later.

2) Be courageous and take risks. What’s life without a little more daring?

3) Keep track of how being the “just in time” option ends up paying off for you.

My guess is that being the “just in time” option will often return better for you than you think.