My bearded journey to the yeard is officially half way there. The last significant trim was before my friends wedding at the end of May. In another two weeks I will have hit my 7 month mark. It’s funny because I decided to grow the beard out about the same time I left Merrill Lynch and started my own business.
Your beard is growing… your business
The beard itself ties in nicely with the growth of my business. When I left Merrill, I did it the dumb way – with no clients or prospects. Very similar to a face with little to no hair. Starting a business with no accounts can be an emotional roller coaster. You experience the thrills of collecting your first check, to the lows of weeks of self promotion – ie, no work.
I have never had a 7 month beard before, heck I don’t even think I’ve had a 3 month beard before this year. I remember last time I had a “big beard” and that was about 2 months of growth. I was not motivated by any other beard growers and subsequently shaved in a night of passion. I did not know about the 24 hour rule that recommends you wait 24 hours before you shave or majorly trim a beard.
One of my strategies to prevent me from shaving the beard is to integrate the beard into my marketing materials. Check out the poster I had printed up (warning pdf file – if you want to buy one for the cost of shipping, contact me). My goal is to use the beard as a differentiating factor and highlight my ability to think creatively and the self determination to buck the normal trends.
I am a constant networker and every event I attend the beard is a topic of conversation. The standard comments and questions will come up – Is it itchy? How do you eat or drink? How long are you growing it for? and You look like a mountain man. Since fall I haven’t gotten anyone asking if it’s hot – I suppose they wish they had a beard to keep their faces warm.
The response is positive. As a bearded person it is important to be pleasant and be happy to answer the same questions over and over again. In addition to that, I would recommend that you over dress compared to your peers. This will prevent them from thinking you are lazy and unclean – even if you are.
It’s just not other professionals that can’t stop talking about the beard, it’s also my friends and family. I’ve come to the conclusion that not only is this beard growing journey a new and unique experience to me, but it’s also a new experience for my friends and family. They have never had someone close to them that has attempted the yeard. In fact, looking back on my life as a short bearded man I can’t remember any of my friends or family growing a massive beard.
Are you homeless? No, but thank you.
About a week ago I was walking back to my truck in downtown Spokane. I’m a bit cheap so I will park at the 10 hour meters which are about a mile away from where I meet. The walk from those meters to downtown doesn’t go through the nicest parts of Spokane. As I was about a block away from my truck a group of 4 people walked across me as I was standing waiting for the light to change and cross the road. They continued by and after about 15 feet a lady stopped and asked, “are you hungry?”
Taken back by the question, I said the only thing that came to my mind, “No, I’m normal.” With that response I’m sure the girl thought I was half way crazy and went on to tell me that there was soup and sandwiches available down at a shelter. It was at this time I knew my beard is epically awesome.
Landing the account
Just yesterday I was helping out a friend by working out of his office. They are a leading firm in the region and have a very nice presentation in their office. My friend was bringing in a new prospective client to talk strategy and was giving them the nickle and dime tour before they started the meeting.
While I was at my desk the prospect stopped by and complimented me on my “epic beard.” He goes on to share his recent experience of growing his beard for November, which he unfortunately shaved for December. Having a beard is an instant bond with other bearded men, or future bearded men. I’m not sure that this prospect will end up a client, but I can feel confident that he is thinking warmly of the company. It’s a great fraternity among bearded gents.
About a month ago I went to an 11/11/11 party at a local firm. They had Thomas Bechard swing by and take some incredible photos. Here are some pictures of me from then. There is not as much noticeable difference between month 6 and 7 as there is between 1 and 2. So y’all gotta suffer for old photos. Enjoy.