Getting people to do what we want them to do
Whether it’s in social media, marketing or closing a sale, we all need to get people to do stuff. And after years of being confounded, way before I started my current two businesses, I figured out that like most people, I was making things too complicated.
There is one, and only one, way to get people to do things for you. Every other way there is obeys this underlying strategy. I invite you to think about every single time you’ve ever needed to get someone to do something after reading this, and I challenge you to find some other method.
You can use this method for getting people to share your content.
You can use it to get people at your site to subscribe to your newsletter.
When you follow up with them, you can use it to get them to buy.
One way, two steps, many challenges
There’s only one way. It has two steps:
1- Be in a position to ask them to do something.
2- Ask them to do that thing.
Here’s the rub. That looks fairly easy and straightforward. And to be fair, the second part very much is. But that first part? It’s a doozy.
Because it means that before you need something, you need to be in the position to ask. Which often means getting into that position before you really need something. And that’ll mean having a sincere interest in other people, and consistently showing that connection matters to you, whether it’s a light peer dalliance or a strong, deep friendship.
It also means you have to know who the people are before you ever know them personally, where they hang out, what their needs are, and who can address them, even if it’s not you.
How to overcome the challenges
I’ll give you an example: let’s say you’re having a sale, and you want it to be in all the publications read by the people you want to reach. With poor advance planning, your only resort will be to advertise in that publication, if you have the money, and flat out beg people who run those publications to pay attention to your story.
And by beg, I mean ask nicely, make it as little work as possible (more than a press release, folks), and do your research.
You could make your job so much easier, and more successful with a little foresight. The instant you know what kind of start-up you’ll have or business you’ll start, before you ever make your first dime, start to get to know people in the same field.
Pay attention when companies that seem like they should be competitors partner up on things. Start frequenting spots where customers you want to have are spending time online. Be there. Offer to help a little.
You don’t have to give away your services for free to start gaining a minor kinship with the people you want to serve through your business.
A deeper connection, a more meaningful identity
Already have a business but haven’t started this process? Start right now. Get to know your audience as deeply as you can. Because people care about other people, not some company with stuff to sell them.
You want to be “that lady who helped me ________, so I didn’t have to _______.” You don’t want to be “the owner of SomeCrap LLC”.
This may seem like time poorly invested at first. Not everyone you cater to is the person you’ll get something back from – and it will seem like a labor of love, and nothing more.
Until that day you want to fund that Kickstarter project with a $50,000 goal. And people you didn’t even know were paying attention to you will say “that’s that guy who ________. That’s guy’s awesome. I trust him with my money, and bet those T-shirts will be SWEET. Here’s my money.”
Reaching that goal legitimately
And they’ll tell their friends. And you’ll reach your goal. Because you won’t have to come to them with the energy of “I know I just met you but do this because I’m desperate. Take a gamble that I’m good for it.”
You’ll be able to run the vibe of “you know me. You signed up to my list. I don’t bother you too often or send you a bunch of spam. I know what you’re interested in because I share those interests. I think we can help each other.”
I want to give that guy my money and I’m not even gonna wait for him to ask me.
Because that’s the other great thing about being a position to ask. Some people will give to you before you ask. It’s almost like manipulation without the evil part.
(Yes, manipulation is a form of asking. Asking by twisting emotions or making it seem like the other person has no choice? Still counts You’re just being a jerk about it.)
No matter where you are in this process of getting people to do stuff for you when the time is right, get in the habit now, of doing for other people what they want done for them. It’ll eventually be your turn, and the payoff, for whatever reason, is in proportion to your level of sincerity.
How to spot when it’s time to go full freelance
(ENTREPRENEUR) There may come a point when traditional work becomes burdensome. Know how to spot when it is time to go full freelance.
Freelancing is often thought of as a mythical concept, something that is almost too good to be true. While it isn’t all about hanging out at home in your pajamas all day, being a freelance is something that is completely possible to be successful – assuming you do your homework.
Recently, a friend of mine who is a licensed esthetician was no longer happy with her position at the salon and spa she worked for. The set hours were becoming a burden, as was having to divvy up appointments between another esthetician within the salon.
She noticed an increasing number of people asking her if she could perform services (eyebrow and lip waxing) from her home, as they preferred not to go into the hectic salon. My friend also found an increase in requests for her to travel to bridal parties for their makeup, rather than the parties coming into the salon.
It was around this time that my friend began to seriously consider becoming a freelance esthetician, rather than a salon employee. After about six months of research and consideration, she decided that this was the best route for her.
Below are the reasons she felt ready to pursue this option, and if they resonate with you, you may be ready for a full time freelance career.
1. She had a number of built-in clients and a list of people she could contact to announce her at-home services. Doing this at the start of one’s career would be very difficult without a contact list and word-of-mouth references, so it’s important to have…
2. …experience! My friend had worked for a number of salons over the years, and had the experience of working with all different types of clients. She also learned what she liked and didn’t like about each salon, which were pieces that factored into her own work-from-home space.
3. Since she had years of experience and had done all of the necessary aforementioned research, she knew what was expected of her and knew that getting a freelance career off the ground wouldn’t be a walk in the park. Operating a freelance career is completely on you, so you have to be 100 percent dedicated to making it work – it won’t just happen for you.
4. Once she began thinking about this idea nonstop and became more excited, she knew it was time to move forward. At first, the “what ifs” were daunting, but became more positive as time went on. If the idea of being a freelancer elicits more smiles than frowns, definitely take the time to consider this option.
5. In addition to the clients she already had, she also had an amazing support system who helped her develop her freelance brand and get her at-home business up and running. Having a solid group of people in your life that will help you is crucial, and any offer for help should be appreciated.
Other things to consider are: do you have enough money saved in case the freelance venture takes longer than planned to take off? If not, maybe stick with the day job until you feel more financially secure.
Jumping into something too quickly can cause you to become overwhelmed and drown in the stress. Make sure you’ve covered every single base before making this leap. Good luck, freelancers!
Hobby to profession: The new-age entrepreneurs
(ENTREPRENEURS) Turning your hobby into a career is harder said than done but a few knitters are putting on a clinic on how to do it.
I’ve often heard the advice that you should follow your passion, and eventually, someone will pay you to do it. But the truth is, turning your hobby into a career is easier said than done. The process by which a person turns a hobby into a business is poorly understood by experts – at least partially because it’s so difficult to collect data on this topic. In order to separate the lifelong hobbyists from the entrepreneurs, you’d have to trace the activities of many hobbyists over many years to understand how their paths diverged.
An MIT Ph.D. candidate has hit upon a novel way to research the transition from hobby to entrepreneurship by following Ravelry.com, a social media and pattern-sharing platform for knitters and crocheters, often known as the “Facebook of knitting.” The site encourages crafters to keep track of and share their projects, tools, techniques, and patterns.
The Washington Post reports that by analyzing over 400,000 profiles on Ravelry.com and interviewing 100 knitters, found through an additional newsletter and three blogs, Ph.D. candidate Hyejun Kim was able to draw some interesting conclusions about what can “cause someone to flip the switch from ‘fun’ to ‘profit.’” Only 1.5 percent of Ravelry users become entrepreneurs who sell their own patterns, knitted items, or yarns. What sets this small number of knitters apart?
Although the internet provided the crucial data Kim needed for the study, it was, in fact, real-world connections and encouragement that turned out to be the tipping point into entrepreneurship for most knitters-turned-business-owners. When asked why they decided to start their own businesses, most reported that they were encouraged by their friends and spouses.
Most of the crafters who became entrepreneurs were already very skilled knitters, to begin with. Kim was able to isolate a number of knitters who joined in-person knitting groups like Stich ‘n’ Bitch. Those who joined a group were 25 percent more likely to become entrepreneurs than those who didn’t. That’s because their crocheting comrades would compliment their creations, boosting their confidence and inspiring them to take it to the next level.
It shouldn’t be overlooked that 96 percent of Ravelry users are women. The forces of sexism in the world of startups and the undervaluation and domestication of women’s handicrafts likely combine to give women the impression that their skills and talents are just for fun and shouldn’t be seen as an opportunity to make money. Kim’s research shows that when it comes to entrepreneurship, sometimes talented women just need a nudge in the right direction.
Teach kids music and they’ll learn entrepreneurship
(ENTREPRENEUR) Sowing the seed of music education and appreciation in your child when they’re young is a great way to produce the fruit of entrepreneurship when they’re older.
With all the focus sports gets as the petri dish for producing driven adults, I’d like to offer up a different extracurricular activity for your consideration: music. Supporting your child as they learn how to harmonize with others will help set them up for success later in life, as music cultivates many of the characteristics that entrepreneurs rely on every day.
Anybody who’s played an instrument or been a part of a choir can tell you that the number one thing you’ll learn in a musical group is that you won’t make it unless you practice, practice, practice. Although in the moment it’s not that great to hear little Timmy or Ginny run through their C-scale a hundred times, a few years down the line when all those hours of iterating result in the lilt of Beethoven through your household, you can be sure that your kid has learned that repeating the little steps helps them achieve large goals.
A large part of being a successful entrepreneur is knowing your markets, or your audience, and able to keep their attention so that they come back to you when they need your business. Being a part of an ensemble not only teaches children to be comfortable in the spotlight but to crave putting on a show.
When young musicians come together to play in a band or raise their voices in a choir, they’re learning a lot about how to collaborate with others in order to achieve a goal. When a young alto sings alone, her notes may sound strange without the soprano tones filling out the melody. The duet that comes from them learning to work together and complement each other builds a strong foundation for any team venture your child will encounter later in their careers.
Although music provides a solid foundation in harmony, it also contains just as much grit and competition as the football field. Music groups compete in regional and national championships just as athletes do, and solos offer opportunities to self-select and advocate. Hell hath no fire like a second seat musician who dreams of being first chair.
Unlike sports, music is accessible to those who might struggle with finding confidence. There are no “best” requirements to play—regardless of height, weight, and other characteristics that nobody has any control over—nearly anyone can pick up an instrument or find their voice. This perhaps may be the greatest gift that you can give your child, the confidence that no matter what they look like they can excel.
As your child begins to consider the different activities that will help them build toward their future, don’t discourage them from pursuing a musical path. When they have to stand in front of an audience of their peers and deliver a presentation with an unwavering voice, they’ll thank you for the years they spent getting comfortable in the spotlight. Especially if they pursue entrepreneurship!
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