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June 29, 2009

Free stock?

June 29. Day 364.

I decided to wrap things up on this second to last daily asking by revisiting a request I'd contemplated in the past but never got around to doing.

Back in October, it occurred to me to write to a bunch of companies, asking for one free stock from each. I didn't end up doing it, because I wondered how to phrase the letter and I worried it would be a shot in the dark, and a waste of time.

Well, now that I've been at this for almost a year, I know for a fact that trying is worthwhile.

Even when I was sure the other party would say no, I often got a resounding YES.

So... gotta try.

Today I wrote a letter -- a good, old fashioned paper letter -- to one company.

At first, I planned on writing to a bunch -- maybe 20, or even 50 or 100. Maximize my chances at success. But as I wrote this first letter, I realized there are few firms I could address convincingly. I mean, "Please give me a stock," is one thing, but "Please give me a stock because I really believe in your products today and your direction for the future" is another.

I've narrowed down the list to about 15 companies based on these criteria. For today, I'm sending this one off.

I'm not going to publish my letter until I hear back. But here's the gist of what I wrote:

--Love your company for reasons xyz.
--Would like invest in your company but I'm an indigent grad student now
--I decided what the hell, why not just ask for a stock?

Also, I vowed at the start of this project that I would not use my blogger "status" to get any benefits. All year I have asked as regular Roxy, not someone who can influence public opinion. I stuck to this rule to the end, or it would throw off the experiment.

Investment: two hours of researching companies and individuals and writing the letter.

Potential gain: Hmm. Around $5,000 if all the companies say yes. About $25 if this first one agrees. (Based on today's prices.)


Results? You'll be the first to know!

Second, I posted a request on HARO, a cool service that connects writers, reporters, and bloggers with sources. I asked people to tell me their own stories about asking. Also requested to interview people who get asked a lot because of their professions. Over time, I'll start featuring their specialized advice, tips, and tricks.

The request still stands -- anyone with stories or strategies related to asking or negotiation, send them in!! I'm thedailyasker [at] gmail [dot] com.

Gained: Hopefully, tons of stories and insights. Material to kick off Year Two!
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