Working from home as I do (well, it’s an office at the bottom of the garden, but I share the home phone), I get all manner of calls offering me interesting ways to spend my money. I am frequently asked to list myself in professional directories (of which I and – more importantly – my local library have never heard) and to take advantage of government grants to insulate my loft. But yesterday I had a winner.
A young man called to say that he was in charge of training and motivation for a business start-up conference. He then quizzed me about my business for a few minutes – how long have you been doing it? why do you do it? what’s this money laundering stuff all about, then? – until I called a halt and asked why he wanted to know. Of course he was selling: he wanted me to pay to take a stall at his conference, and give free advice to delegates on their AML obligations, “because it sounds as though you really know what you’re talking about”. Yes I do, I said, and that’s why I don’t need to pay to announce that fact. Mind you, for all my smugness I’m obviously in the wrong business. If you run a conference, it seems, you can charge people to exhibit and charge people to attend – a superb business model. And you get to say, with a straight face, that you are in charge of motivation.