If you want to be a successful change-making entrepreneur, do this one thing
My good friend and I were sitting together last week to work on the community we’re going to build together. Our idea is to unite all of the women-centric business groups for a week of celebrating the women-owned economy. More on this in another announcement…
Here’s the thing: We’re asking several of our hard-working friends to participate with us and we know it’s a lot to ask. They’re all just as busy as we are, and have just as many irons in the fire. We know it’s important work, it’s a matter of getting the right people who are as committed as we are to work on this together.
She and I didn’t want to be the people who always ask for things. You know the sort — when you see an email from them in your inbox, you think: what do they want now? We both have had the experience of having someone we barely talk to on a regular basis only get in touch when they want something from us: advice, buy tickets to something, self promotion, etc.
And here’s the bit of advice I want to give you if you want to be successful:
You have to GIVE more than you GET.
That’s right, it’s not equal! You have to go to people’s events, you have to support them, you have to help out when you can, because when you DO have to ask for help, you’ll get it. Because you have to build the ecosystem in which your business lives in (link to my previous post about that) as much (or more) as you build your business.
Here’s the other bit of wisdom:
Make it a PRIORITY to show your thanks when you ask for help. We are all busy, so showing you care to a person who has helped you takes about 30 seconds and the effects last a long time.
I keep an envelope with every handwritten thank you card I’ve ever received and on a tough day when I’m feeling discouraged, it helps a lot to reflect on all of the people who have appreciated my effort. I keep one or two recent ones in full view from my desk, too.
One the flip side of that: Surround yourself with people who understand how important it is to give and say thank you. If you’re giving all of your spare time, usually as a volunteer, and the person who asked you to help doesn’t says thank you, know when to gracefully extract yourself and put your efforts somewhere else.
This way, you’ll build your ecosystem to make impact far beyond your solo efforts.