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4 Helpful Ways to Support a Friend and Authentic Entrepreneur

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It’s always inspiring when see friends doing work they absolutely love. The passion for what they do has a type of magnetic energy that radiates off of them. Their genuine commitment to create meaning and impact lifts up the heart.  You’ve felt that right?

Whether they’re fighting for a cause, solving problems for others or contributing to the local community the work they do is special. We may even feel pulled to help, but how do we do this? We can’t buy from every friend who’s doing something amazing. And they can’t all be selling something I want or need. So how can I show my support?

First, as a husband, father and Entrepreneur myself I understand that it’s difficult to even consider what more we can put on our calendar.  But, the more I meet truly authentic colleagues, friends, and fellow entrepreneur the more I want to show how I support what they’re doing.  More importantly, how I want to see them succeed.

I also know that I’ll need (and hope for) consistent support myself as I grow in my business. How do we create this synergistic support?  I’ve found four helpful ways with examples below. What’s great is that you don’t need to spend a ton of time or money in committing support.

SUPPORT THEM PASSIVELY

Like, share, and comment on their social media. Support does not mean a big time commitment.  It can literally take seconds to show you care for their pursuits.  A quick social media like, share or comment can go a long way for your friend.

If you know this is a person of high integrity and their insight is valuable click like, make a brief comment or share. For online entrepreneurs, every like, share, and comment matters no matter what social media platform you’re on.  You don’t have to endorse anything they’re selling.  Instead, make a brief comment about the type of person or professional they are.

Maybe their content isn’t the best thing to share in your Facebook feed.  Don’t dismiss it.  Would it be great for LinkedIN, Google+ or a topic specific Group.  Share it where it will benefit others.  Organic growth via social media is very difficult and any support is not only simple, but helpful.

Plug them into your network. The previous point was all about reaching more people and how their stuff could help others. Although potential customers are very important to the entrepreneur we don’t want to limit our thinking to only potential customers.

We also have plenty of friends, family and colleagues who have their own interests.  Which ones just might be aligned with what your friend is offering? Take a few moments to think about who’s in your network, has similar interests and connect them.

If I wasn’t given these opportunities myself, I would’ve missed out on not only clients, but partnerships and job specific skills. I gain a lot from these (and others) from being plugged into someone else’s network. A quick e-mail or phone introduction just may be the beginning of a long term, rewarding work relationship. That’s powerful support.

Support them with your other resources. Just like you, entrepreneurs are loaded with responsibilities and time is of the essence. What other resources do you have that could help them learn, improve and grow faster. We all have experts we look up to, podcasts we listen to and authors we recommend. It might be a video you see or a conference you hear about that they’ll enjoy.

You never know what resource at what time will create the shift they need.  Many of the events, programs, books or coaches I’ve bought were recommended to me by friends and colleagues. It could be a simple direct message, email, or social media share when you stumble upon an article, app or product.

Anything that can shorten the learning curve is always appreciated.  These little supportive gestures can keep motivation up because they know someone else cares about them and their cause.

SUPPORT THEM ACTIVELY

Give them your attention and honest feedback. Feedback is invaluable for entrepreneurs. It helps provide perspective to mistakes, weaknesses and blind spots.  What they may not catch themselves may be an area of need you have experience in.

Ask them how you can help or simply offer to look over marketing materials or proofread a blog.  Feedback from a trusted friend or colleague allows them to ask deeper questions they don’t often get the opportunity for. You’d be surprised at how helpful a few minutes of your time can be.

Your help could save them extra time, money and embarrassment. Catching a few content mistakes could help them acquire new subscribers. A couple quick suggestions on their sales pitch could generate a new client. Any gift of time and feedback could be potentially game changing for them.

Read, listen and watch their Social Media posts. If you know the dynamics of social media for business then you know just how much of a pain it can be to gain traction and grow organically. Any increase in engagement, such as clicks, likes, views, shares and comments, on social media could have many good residual effects (that’s a whole book in itself and ever-changing) for their business.

For instance, their content is viewed as more valuable by search engines and social media platforms alike. This leads to greater reach as we spoke of, but potentially leading to more subscribers, leads, revenue and profits. Reading, listening and watching will take a little more time investment on your end, but also gives you the opportunity to give more valuable feedback that we just talked about.

If you create content yourself then it can also help you create ideas for content, share valuable perspectives with your audience or ‘partner” by sharing their insights or endorsing them publicly. I’m sure your help will be much appreciated and reciprocated.

Subscribe to their stuff. What we get to see on social media is not fully in our control, so subscribing to your friends groups, newsletter and e-mail list can make it much more convenient, especially if you like what they offer. Most of what’s shared on social media is content already sent to subscribers so it should also make it easier for you to like, comment and share their social media content when you see it.

I know the thought of more email seems like a crazy idea, but wouldn’t it be nice to get something other than mail we dread in our inbox? If you’re not going to read it then by all means don’t subscribe or direct it to a folder that you’ll read when you get some free time. Or simply create a “support” folder for those you choose to support, but only read an e-mail occasionally to catch up on their business.  If you’re a subscriber then it’s easy for them to see that you’re supporting them.

Write or record a testimonial. Social proof is big in business and taking a quick minute to write a genuine testimony is not only an excellent way to support a friend, but to let a friend know how they’ve impacted you and others. Endorse them as a professional or the products and services they provide.

Your words can be used in a variety of ways in their business or shared across their platforms helping increase their credibility in the marketplace as well as showcasing their specific individual talents.  This is a very powerful position of support

Help them out on a big day.  Entrepreneurs could always use extra hands and skills on event day. See when, where and how you can help out. Whether it’s behind the scenes or in the midst of the action your help will be much needed and appreciated. Work the registration table, set up or break down or take detailed process notes or data tracking. All of it and more will be needed.

There are more ways to help than you can think of, or that they can probably think of themselves. The more minds and hands the more complete the event they can provide and the more value they can provide their audience.

Think about what skills you or your network can offer and ask or tell them you want to help. Everyone will be able to provide valuable feedback and perspective before and after the event that can later be improved and refined for future events.

SUPPORT THEM EMOTIONALLY

Understand their commitment to authentic purpose. Entrepreneurs are often criticized for their selfish pursuit of independence, autonomy and financial freedom; many times by those closest to us…family, friends and colleagues. Before you jump on them, ask and listen to why this pursuit is important to them.

For most of them, it’s their calling.  This path is genuinely something they find fun, interesting and meaningful. There is a purpose behind it, they’re good at it and they’re committed to making a dent in this arena. It’s almost like play to them, they can get lost in it for hours and not think twice about it.

Value the rare find of having a friend who is committed to not just finding their passion, but creating a life of fulfillment, even a lasting legacy, through purposeful actions.

Celebrate Their Successes. Wins are few and far between for entrepreneurs. Any win is huge, especially early on. If you see or hear of one of their wins then let them know about it, tell them congratulations and share it with others.

Let them know how proud you are of them sticking to it and pushing through all the ups and downs. The more they know that people are in their corner the easier it is to carry the burden of tough times as a start-up or during a hefty project.

Comfort Their Emotional Needs. Success can switch to struggle in an instant in business. The workload can be new, heavy and stretching all at once, even altogether overwhelming. The average day is rarely what we expect it to be…technology can crash at the most inopportune time, we may get “crickets” on our live stream, a potential or current client could say “no”, and our monthly webinar may only get three registrants.

As stressful as it is when things don’t go as planned we can be crushed when things go well, but go unnoticed. In both instances, your friend may need a high five, a hug or a shoulder to lean on. Whatever their struggle entails having support can give them a lift emotionally.

SUPPORT THEM FINANCIALLY

Refer them to potential clients. Financial support is always a bonus, but as you can see there is so much more you can provide other than your money. By supporting in any or all of the ways above you are able to understand your friend’s universe even more and perhaps see just how much love, effort and work it takes.

You’ll probably also be able to see just how much they care, support and work to truly make a difference for their audience and clients. Once you do referring their services will seem like nothing, but to them will mean the world. It may take a few seconds to a few minutes to endorse your friend to a potential client and they’ll be forever grateful.

Don’t Accept Their “Family & Friends” Discount. Insist on paying their full price. If you like their stuff don’t look for a discount. This will not only help you truly value their work, but it also creates a lasting moment of creative and emotional validation about the value they provide for others. It’s a true confidence boost.

Paying less can devalue their work, and even worse they could be taking a financial loss. This could lead them to physical and emotional burnout and a dip in morale and service; which is just bad for everyone involved. Paying them what they’re worth limits what I call “impulse promotion”. That type of promotion driven by excitement or regret of “getting a steal”.

These types of promotions have minimal effect in that it had nothing to do with the product or service provided. Any integrity based entrepreneur will want honest feedback and you paying in full will only assist you in giving feedback that will truly help them.

Gift others with their stuff. If you don’t like their stuff for yourself then maybe you know someone who would benefit from it, but they won’t make the investment themselves or can’t make the investment. Purchase your friend’s stuff for them and gift it to them. Talk about a win-win across the board. That’s a relationship deposit for both friends, a gift for one and support for another. Now that’s a lesson in supporting friends.

Be a low cost supporter. Maybe it’s a product or event ticket, maybe it’s supplies or a needed tool, maybe it’s sharing your staff, assist or storage space. Maybe it’s sponsoring a portion of continued education. There are many ways you can offer support for little to no cost to you that may be useful and cost effective for your friend? Entrepreneurs need all the support they can get. Ask and offer them early and often if possible.

Support is something we all want to get and give, but it’s not always possible. Share how you’d like to help and can help as well as what you won’t or don’t want to commit to. Be clear and up front so they are clear. Believe me entrepreneurs would rather not waste time and energy asking people who would rather not (or don’t show up when they said they would).

Ask them to be specific about what they need so that you it goes both ways. Supporting your colleague’s, friends’ and family’s business ventures can be easy and rewarding. Utilize these keys to make it beneficial for all parties involved.

How do you support your business focused friends? Will you be one the people they’ll never forget when their dream comes true? Are you a fellow entrepreneur or business professional? How would you like to be supported by your family, friends and colleagues? Tell us in the comments.

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If They Ever Tell My Story, Let Them Say…

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A legacy is about more than what you leave behind for your children. It’s a story about you, gifted to the world.

The Past…

It was an early spring morning not long ago…I was sitting on our old wood porch behind the house.  The cool spring air upon my skin went well with a hot cup of green tea. Holding my cup tight with two hands, the steam tickling my nose, I stared off into the woods; taking in all its beauty.

I marveled at birds singing, “dancing” squirrels and the sun breaking through the tree canopy. As my mind wandered, away from the hustle and bustle of today’s agenda, the peace and tranquility set in. It sent me down a perfectly timed path of broken thoughts pieced together in a question…

What will I leave behind?

History and Legacy…

I’ve considered this many times and in many ways, from Stephen Covey’s philosophy of “begin with the end in mind” to Darren Hardy’s exercise for writing your own epitaph. For me, this philosophy had always felt as though something was missing. I began to question that if I give my all to this world – the people, the community, my friends and family – for 50, 63 or 97 years, is that all I ever give?  If I live full, is the day I pass or the day I’m buried really the end?

My mind began to whirl and wonder if my family would soon forget about me. And if not my kids and grandchildren, what about their children? Would they know of me? As I pondered this question I began to mine through dynamic thoughts and emotional fireworks searching for clarity.

I continued to analyze this…digging deeper and envisioning bigger.  More questions stirred…

Will my actions echo across eternity?

Will strangers hear my name and wonder?

Will colleagues mention me when they say they’ve walked with giants?

I explored each ambition and examined every sentiment that saturated my mind. There it was…a vision of life in the world of my great-great grandchildren.

Once again, more questions…

Men rise and fall like the winter wheat, so how does a name live on?

How do I plant seeds, the experiences, the connections, the qualities, I hope my lineage harvests for years to come?

One more question hit before my cup of tea ran dry…

What could be?

A seemingly daunting and overwhelming question, but one that helped me to gain context and perspective.

Immortality…

Most people’s dreams and ambitions are a vision well below their potential. What I mean is, each and every moment we spend today is the creation of my very own history. Every path I take I’m leaving my legacy. Why not live it as though I will be remembered for centuries?

More questions arose…

How could I expand my great-great grandchildren’s vision? How could I amplify their ambition and help to cultivate their confidence? How could I paint a picture of the possibilities life truly holds for them?

Short phrases came to mind such as:

  • Live Better
  • Why Wait
  • Make Lasting Change
  • Have Fun
  • Solve Problems
  • Together
  • Be Radically Different

On and on I juggled the thoughts of how I’d like to be remembered.  There it was…

Immortality lays in unforgettable legend; a story that stirs the heart and sparks the mind.

The Legend Story…

If they ever tell my story, let them say…

How Tenaciously He Learned

He was inspired by a vision of future and what was he believed was possible. No matter people’s opinions or what obstacles along the way he was destined to find the answer. His deep desire to learn and the burning fire to excel would blaze the way to success.

The rich learning environments, progress checks and celebrated milestones were symbolic of his thirst for knowledge. Even when his life seemed “normal” he was constantly walking the line, on the edge of comfort, searching for spiritual depth, theoretical insight and practical solutions. He would seek new experiences to stretch, grow and bend the status quo.

New horizons were the answer to his inner needs, taming his passionate curiosity. The more he discovered the more he wanted to master. It provided him with a unique perspective, freedom and authenticity that sparked people interest.

How Bravely He Lead

He was a rebel, but not reckless, congruent and authentic. It didn’t matter how heavy the load of responsibility was he had an unbreakable aura of certainty and stability. He knew with confidence that he could solve problems, even the biggest and toughest ones. and intuitively new when to lead. And when to follow.

He didn’t fear change, he embraced it – it was the alley way to growth. Despite discomfort, he was poised under pressure and would inspire change; it’s like he knew how to engineer it. He would curate and cultivate ideas, create new paradigms and connect the dots. He’d lead others – his family, friends, his team and community – to possibility, shifts and awakenings.

He was energizing and enchanting, but was rarely hype. He was raw and real, unapologetically honest. He’d shoot you straight, with honesty and integrity, and it provided others with a sense of strength.

How Fiercely He Loved

He was sensitive to the emotions of others, but not enabling. He could instinctively sense the feelings of others, imagine their position, and step in their shoes. It’s how he would listen, its how he would connect.

He would transform and empower communities purely from love. He wanted everyone (and I mean everyone) to have fun and enjoy themselves. He helped them to experience health, wealth and happiness. He would say it’s his, “Quiet madness, and passion was the influence of a soul that’s mad to love.”

He loved the scent of freshly washed linens, life and laughter. He loved play. If it wasn’t fun it wouldn’t work out well for him. But most of all he loved his wife and family. They were his garden, baring luscious fruits of trust, care and support; all feeding his dreams.

How Consciously He Lived

He was a man of high self awareness and a strong inner compass. He didn’t allow himself to undertake in things that made him discontent or long for something more in his life. Instead, he lived in the context of his deepest ambitions, finding and creating impact along the way.

He challenged himself from beginning to end, through trials and tribulations, in the essence of adventure. He would make the important choices to detach self from the noise and live consciously. No matter the level of success he was a man of humility. No matter the depth of struggle he was a man of gratitude.

His deep appreciation for life some considered eccentric, but his humble heart, noble actions and high integrity is how he is remembered.

 

Please comment and share below how you’d like to be remembered.

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5 Powerful Tips for Living an Inspired Life

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We make it our goal to create content, materials and services which make people feel inspired. Why?  We believe in living an inspired life.  What I mean by inspired is a hunger for work, for play, and for life as a whole; a sense of freedom that grows from having insatiable creativity, a bold confidence and the unstoppable courage to pursue your passion.

An inspired life is personally exciting and professionally energizing. It resonates with your natural talents and is connected to your inner sense of purpose. An inspired life naturally brings increased fulfillment and a feeling of significance. You feel as though you are part of something bigger and more meaningful. You feel as though you are giving something back to the world.

An inspired life is not something you simply experience, it is something you create. You design it, you build it and you live it. Below are a few tips that I’ve found to be very powerful in helping others create their very own inspired life.

1. WRITE THE SCRIPT

This is often difficult exercise, especially to start, but we all have a vision of how we want to be remembered or the story we want people to share about us when we’ve passed.   It’s the scripted movie in our minds of what a happy, healthy and successful life looks like for us.

Take a moment to visualize your movie.  As you continue to paint a more vivid picture of each scene begin “writing the script”.  Napoleon Hill once said, “Reduce your plan to writing…. The moment you complete this, you will have definitely given concrete form to the intangible desire.”

That being said, I recommend taking a ”finish line view” and begin at the end. Not to sound morbid here, but think of your life on its last day or picture your funeral and work back from there. Stephen Covey once called it “begin with the end in mind”.

Pro tip: Review this step after each of the following tips could be helpful. The end product should inspire you.

2. BE SUPERHUMAN (this tip was the hardest for me to do)

Your talents, strengths and desires all provide you with a unique and sometimes an almost superhuman source of energy. Your unique talents and strengths are so natural to you you often don’t recognize how different, influential and inspiring they are to others.

Other times you might be aware of your strengths, but take them for granted because they come so easy to you. Under-utilizing your strengths leads to weak and inconsistent performance. Understanding your talents and utilizing your strengths will unlock even better opportunities, paving a path to greater success.

Your passion also generates strong energy. Oprah Winfrey has expressed, “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” Pursuing your passion ignites creativity, courage and inspiration. Ignoring this energy and not doing what you truly desire can create the unsatisfying feelings of fear, fatigue and insignificance.

There are a number of different reasons why you become complacent, don’t pursue your passion and lose touch with your natural energy. When you do, where do you find yourself?  Instead of pulling toward the activities that excite and energize you you find yourself stuck doing things that exhaust you and zap you of your energy. You begin to avoid new and challenging adventures, miss out on fun and lose a sense of what ignites the fire inside.

Don’t ignore your superhuman powers; utilize the energy for your success.

3. FIND THE ONE.

Decide in one word or with a short personal motto the main reason why you live how you live. One word provides a focused, clear and concise description of your why. Describe the “why” behind your movie script and why you do what you do.

Choosing a why gives your dream a significant purpose and makes your vision compelling. In his book Start With Why, Simon Sinek states, “Great leaders lead with WHY. They embody a sense of purpose that inspires those around them.” Define your why and it will be the reason people initially connect with you, continue to follow you and remain loyal for years to come.

One word examples: Inspire (I can’t help it, I love this word.) Lead, Explore, Love, Innovate, Create, Success, etc.

Short theme examples: To ignite inspiration, To cultivate growth, To feel connected, To live abundantly, To enable greatness

4. BEGIN CONSTRUCTION

To transform your vision into action and begin building your dreams ask yourself:

  • HOW am I going to achieve my WHY? (These are typically the goals, objectives or milestones you set)
  • WHAT behaviors, systems, strategies, and solutions do I need to get the HOW done in the most effective and efficient way?
  • Do I have the knowledge and skills to achieve the WHAT?
  • (if no to #3) WHO must I become or what must I learn/change to achieve the WHAT or WHO in my network can assist me in this growth process?
  • What level of commitment am I?

5. REMEMBER THE NUTS & BOLTS

The integrity of an airplane is a must to ensure the safety of everyone on board during takeoff, flight and landing. All parts must be maintained, repaired or replaced and every nut and bolt must be in place so the parts fit together seamlessly for optimal performance.

We, as individuals, teams or businesses, are no different. We must be whole and complete to achieve our peak levels of success. Seamless integration is important if you want to perform at heightened levels of excellence.

Here is a little sample of how to streamline success:

The true driver behind all you do is feeling. Feelings are the nuts and bolts that hold everything together. We rarely seek the material, tangible, outside things; it’s the emotional, intangible, inside things we truly want to experience.

Yes, you have milestones you want to hit, goals you want to achieve and destinations to reach, but it’s not simply the house, money, job or lover that you want…is it? (If so, you’ll most likely never experience the inspired life).   What we live for are the feelings associated with attaining them.

Our journey is about fulfilling what I call your “innate ambitions” or your inner most desires that make these goals meaningful.  It’s these feelings that create memorable moments.

So when you set your goals throughout the year, don’t just write down a S.M.A.R.T. goal, go deeper and add a written description of your ambition or the underlying motivating feeling you’ll receive when accomplishing your aspirations.

These tips are simply the powerful ones I’ve used both on myself and with clients.  I hope they help you along your journey, but instead of discussing my small, inconsequential tips in the comments, let me ask you:

What does an inspired life look like to you and what advice would you give about what it takes to live an exhilarating, purposeful, compelling life?

 

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