Success in a One-Man Show

one-man-bandBeing a one-man show is exciting.  And stressful.  And lots of other things.  But, I’ve found a productivity superhero who is an example of what one dedicated person can achieve.


It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s Scott West of Savannah Master Calendar.


Those of us who must find our own clients in order to earn a living know that networking events are critical to our business development efforts.  Scott has taken that “necessary evil” and turned it into a mission.


Scott West connects for-profit businesses to not-for-profit organizations and everybody wins.  His tagline is “Doing well by doing good.”


And, Scott certainly has done well.  A native Georgian, he spent 20+ years in New York City as an economic development marketing strategist whose job it was to fill convention centers for countries…yes, his clients were foreign countries, Ministries of Tourism, Convention & Visitors Bureaus & Chambers of Commerce.  He attended seven to eight events per day in the city with the help of a driver and a work ethic born from his rural South Georgia foundations.


Headshot_ScottWestScott publishes a weekly eNewsletter with a circulation of over 20,000 people.  He attends roughly 30 – 50 networking and charitable events per month.  Savannah Master Calendar is an almost comprehensive listing of events for local nonprofits and business associations.  It is the bible for networking in the area.  And, the only staff members on his team are his dachshund.


Scott is everywhere.  Immediately recognizable in his Burberry plaid scarf and hat, he circulates across the room making introductions and taking pictures of event attendees.  His mission is to level the playing field across nonprofits.  In his words, “The Church Fish Fry gets the same publicity as the Chamber of Commerce.”  I’ve seen my own business get equal mention in his newsletter to Gulfstream Aerospace.


How does he do it?  How does Scott attend so many events, maintain an active Facebook presence, attain sponsors for his newsletter, and stay sane?


Tips for success in a One-Man (or One-Woman) Show:


  • Do it now. Do it fast.  Get it done.  Scott takes photos and immediately posts them to Facebook.  He cannot wait until he gets back to his office, or he’d be working until midnight every night.  Procrastination is not an option.
  • Use technology to duplicate yourself. Scott manages the second largest email circulation of any media outlet in Savannah with one person, one dachshund, one computer, and one smartphone.  He has embraced social media and newsletter distribution tools.
  • Be smart with your resources. The smaller the budget and the smaller your staff, the smarter you have to be with your resources.  Scott abandoned his website because it was not contributing to his success.  A bold move.
  • Standardize.  Scott has a standard format for event announcements in his newsletter.  He uses a standard template.  He standardizes everything he can.  Get the picture?
  • Focus on your ministry. Scott’s mission is to help charitable organizations.  Everything he does relates back to that.  He can make faster decisions about how to allocate his time and resources.
  • Use your talents. Working fast and furiously leaves little room for operating outside of your comfort zone.  Scott has a talent for connecting people.  He can quickly identify who needs to meet whom, make the introduction, and move on.
  • Abandon perfection as a goal. In NYC, Scott created perfect events with million-dollar budgets.  As a one-man show, he has had to let go of that standard.  Today, Scott plans events with donated resources and a team of volunteers and student interns.  His advice is, “Be okay that your best is good enough.”


My take on Scott’s success comes down to this:  he has removed all speed bumps from his work.  So much disorganization and procrastination comes from the speed bumps we put in our own paths.


What productivity speed bumps slow us down?

  • Perfectionism
  • Overthinking decisions
  • Overengineering processes
  • Unwillingness to abandon non-mission-critical endeavors
  • Overextending ourselves


Scott West has taken a jackhammer to the speed bumps in his work.


I am going to go on a “speed bump hunt” starting today.  I am as guilty as anyone of the mistakes above.  I am going to review the 79 tasks on my to-do list and look for speed bumps.


Want to join me?



This article is a part of my #ProductivitySuperheroes series where I profile people who are exceptional at managing their time, tasks, information and/or life in general. If you’d like to nominate yourself or someone you admire, please email


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Dr. Melissa GratiasMelissa Gratias (pronounced “Gracious”) used to think that productivity was a result of working long hours. And, she worked a lot of hours. Then, she learned that productivity is a skill set, not a personality trait. Now, Melissa is a productivity expert who coaches and trains other businesspeople to be more focused, balanced, and effective. She is a prolific writer and speaker who travels the world helping people change how they work and improve how they live. Contact her at or 912-417-2505. Sign up to receive her productivity tips via email.


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