My 3 habits for small-business growth.

What if the little, unsung habits made the difference?


Good morning on this lovely Thursday. It rains a great deal here in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For once we’ve gotten 3 days in a row of sunshine, and I don’t take it for granted. Summertime is a pretty fun time of the year. People go on vacation, blasting social media with postings of themselves on a beach or lake. It’s part of many highlight reels that either boosts egos or rubs salt in the wounds of insecurities. It can be very easy to get thrown off course of your tangible career and life goals when you feel like you’re on a break from life. By all means, vacation and rest is essential for our spirits and bodies. It keeps us out of ruts and helps us to introspect and heal. However, if we get too disengaged for too long, we start tossing aside the little habits that help us with follow-through.

I get asked frequently how I get the clients and business that I get. The single biggest means that I’ve been able to serve whom I’ve served is through networking (also known as “getting your name out there”). Sure I’ve gotten some jobs here and their through social media, but vast majority of them have come through networking. This can also be called “relational marketing”; building business and working tenures through meet-ups and communication with the foundation of trust. However, its the little habits that have played just as big of a role. And they all revolve around CONSISTENCY.

The first habit is research. Research encompasses many things, but universally I would say researching your competition should be a top priority. My target clients is a start-up, self-employed, small business and non-profit organizations. They are my clients because I’m able to offer them all sorts of graphic design, web design and social media page management at much better price points than the average marketing firm. It took time, experience and research of other firms, designers and general business practices to know what exactly I could offer and for how much. This knowledge then led me to research the networking groups and events I attended just to begin to build my connection base in business. It involved trial and errors through tweaking my sales pitches, wardrobe, my mannerisms around people I interacted with and ultimately the kind of people I was meeting through these. I’ve networked very consistently for about 3 years and it’s paid off immensly. It’s a cliche saying but it’s very true, “It’s not always about what you know. It’s about who your know.” Keep getting your name out there and meeting new people in business. You just can’t always predict who or what it will lead to.


Second habit is craft. Your craft, whether it’s designing, producing, acting, retail etc. is a habit. You should never reach the point where you stop asking how you can make your craft better. I always ask what I can do to make my practice and craft a better experience for everyone involved. Have I made mistakes? You bet I have. But I’ve learned a lot from them. Or for instance, when a proposal I sent gets rejected, instead of getting offended immediately, I take a step back and reflect. Did it get rejected because they didn’t understand something? Did I not communicate what they were getting clear enough? Did I overestimate how much time and money it would take to undertake their project? How can I streamline by process better? These are all questions I’ve asked myself and it’s led to much better results for my craft and client’s experience working with me. You might have just completed a job at a satisfactory rate, but out-do yourself on the next job. Never stop wanting to get better! You’re going to be serving high-end people someday and thank yourself consistently challenging yourself to get better.

Third and final habit I’m sharing is following-up. Did you meet someone and have a good conversation with them on what they do and how you can help them? Did you exchange business cards? Great! What are you going to do about it now?. Take the initiative first and follow-up with your lead by the next day. Through my experience, I pretty much live with the expectation that if I don’t take the first step, there’s a 90% chance I’ll never hear from anyone I’ve ever met at networking events. I’d like to think it’s not because I rubbed anyone the wrong way but who knows (just kidding). Anyways, email them. Let them know how it was nice to meet them and talk about what you talked to them about. Point them to your site or social media (unless you have illegal activity shown on your Facebook or IG then don’t do that). Ask to have an appointment with them to further discuss how you can be an asset to them through your services and NOT through your services. Tell them about other networking events you attend and give them the information (as long it fits in the guidelines and rules of the networking event/group). Let them share how they can help potentially help you with their services or someone they know who can be a great resource to you. Didn’t hear anything back after the first email? Don’t give up. Check back in a week or 2 later and follow-up. DO NOT come across like a money-grabbing salesman. No one likes that. I get it, we all are just trying to make a living, but I don’t know anyone who likes a pushy salesperson. Be persistent yet gentle. NEVER follow-up out of desperation. Show confidence and value, like you have a really great thing to offer. Build from relationship and trust first on a consistent basis. I promise you, that you will get much better results and develop a good name with others in business.


Think outside the box and explore how you keep mastering the lost art of follow-through in a world that seems to be more characterized by fluff and no substance. Do your research. Perfect your craft. Consistently (not harrassingly) follow-up with your leads. You got this! I believe in you!

This concludes the “miniseries” of “The Lost Art of Follow-Through”. If these have helped you at all understand how to grow your business or just given you more help with how to go about job searching, please let me know in the comments below! 

Much Love 

Joe Gardonis


What does it look like to make the most of my life? 

What does it look like to just be?

Who am I?

It may seem overly cliche to start anything worth while off with some of the deepest questions life has to offer. But the truth is that we all have these thoughts in the backs of our minds, whether we’ve consciously or subconsciously minded it. So Why Not?


HELLO WORLD! I’ve officially entered the blogging realm. Aside from wanting to throw out some deep Q’s that have probably already got you in a trance of thought, there is a method to the madness so to speak, which should you continue to take this journey with me, you will begin to see more.

I say “take this journey with me” because this new adventure for me with blogging and how I got here is my journey too. For a while I had the idea of starting a blog come to me a couple years ago. At the time, I didn’t want it to become something that I did maybe once or twice and never thought about it again. If there’s one thing you should know about me is that I’m a very committed person to anything that I put my hand too. I’m very loyal to people and things I’m involved with (sometimes to a fault). I’m all in or not at all. So if I didn’t believe I could commit to blogging, I didn’t want any parts of it. 

However, looking back on the difference between then and now, I’ve come to see that it just wasn’t the time to begin this part of my journey. What changed for me was when I began to realize that I wanted to show everyone more insight into the main categories: Who I am. What I do (my expertise, living, careers, whatever you want to call it), what I’ve learned along the way thru the highs and lows, struggles, valleys and mountain tops, and how you or someone you know who can apply it to their life. While I like to pray, plan and think through this process or any process for that matter, I want to keep this as real and authentic as I possibly can.


With all this being said, you will get to see and know sides of me you either didn’t realize as much or didn’t know at all, step into my life, hear details about my story about how I got to where I am now that you probably never knew before. I do want to put a disclaimer about my faith specifically. I encourage you that even if you are not a believer in God, Jesus or anything for that matter, please don’t let my here-and-there “religious” terms and names push you away. We are in such a special time to be alive thru this digital age where literally we are able to communicate and share everything more easily and honestly than ever before. And because of that, aside from wanting to keep things real and authentic, I encourage you do just hear my story and the principles that come from what I’ve learned that I believe literally ANYONE can apply to their own situation, circumstance or crisis. I believe what I will share will especially helpful for anyone who is dissatisfied with their career, job, purpose etc and wants to do something to change it yet maybe isn’t sure how to go about that. 

I like to keep things real and genuine, so if you would prefer something very surface-level, superficial and manufactured, I suggest that this may not be for you. But I ask if you’re truly open-minded and/or you’re someone who loves sincereness, then I say, “Come along with me”. Don’t expect perfection, but expect my very best as this is a new endeavor for me. The first 3 questions I started this blog post off with are basically the backbone of the themes that will empower my blog. There will be practical elements, along with mental, emotional and spiritual themes. The bottom line is that you will get to know me better than before as a result of this starting of a debut into a new realm.

- PS I desire that this blog keeps a good measure of interactivity from you all, my followers on social media and in business. Therefore I strongly encourage comments and feedback (positive and constructive criticism). I have so much to share and with your input on what you want from me, I don’t think I’m wrong when I say that I can assure you that there won’t be any shortage of things to talk about. Thank you all for taking the time to read this. Be sure to stay tuned for my next blog post. Stay Curious ;) 

Much love 

Joe Gardonis