As a virtual assistant, networking is a huge part of my marketing plan. I try to use every opportunity to promote my business to the locals. While it can be fun and interesting, it can also be stressful, especially if the crowd I’m in doesn’t seem too receptive to my pitch.
I try to focus my marketing efforts on food events. Why? They seem to host a happier, friendlier crowd. That’s why I never miss going to a May Breakfast. I’m from Rhode Island, so many of my readers may not know what this is or why it occurs in May. This is a Rhode Island tradition.
Betsy Wade of the New York Times describes it like this: “May is to Rhode Island what July is to the rest of the country. On May 4, 1776, Rhode Island beat the other colonies to the punch by two months and declared itself independent of the British crown. To mark the event, and possibly to help everyone ignore its record as the last of the 13 original states to ratify the Constitution, the smallest state is host to celebrations all through what it calls Heritage Month.
The state’s annual May Breakfasts, which begin at the end of April and continue into mid-May, are usually fund-raising events. Sometimes talks or nature walks are added. The purpose has become more diverse in other ways, too. On May 1 the Governor always invites every Rhode Islander over 100 years of age to breakfast with him at the Capitol. Those who are over 60 are invited to senior nutrition centers in their communities for what is called a Governor’s May Breakfast, but without the Governor. These events, at 11 o’clock, have a standard menu and accept contributions, however modest.
Beyond the Governor’s breakfasts, the state estimates that 60 private organizations, schools, clubs, churches and philanthropies hold fund-raising breakfasts, some with simple menus, some more elaborate, all with hot food that sticks to the ribs and that no one, not even in a moment of carbohydrate overload, would dare call brunch.
Menus may include baked beans, pie, clam cakes, scrambled eggs, pancakes, doughnuts, muffins, French toast, sausage, ham, coffee and all the rest. Jonny cakes or johnnycakes (griddle-baked cornbread), a Rhode Island tradition, are served at many breakfasts.
Adult prices range from $2.50 to $12, the higher price for “classier places” in Newport.
Many breakfasts are scheduled for weekends, unless May 1 falls on Sunday, conflicting with religious services. The Oak Lawn Church in Cranston generally acknowledged to have begun the custom in 1868 as May Day.”
Best advice: Get out and attend food events. They offer great networking opportunities, good food, a chance to reconnect with acquaintances and interact socially, which is missing from your home office.
I can’t wait for the May Breakfast!