Self-employed people have more friends
January 29th, 2013 by Agent Kevin Miller
It’s the God’s-honest truth, but let me clarify. My point here isn’t that being self-employed garners your more friends, but rather…having more friends is a crucial ingredient to becoming successfully self-employed.
I’m using the term ‘friends’ a tad liberally. It doesn’t have to be bosom buddies, but it does need to be far closer and connected than Facebook ‘friends’ or Linkedin contacts.
If you survey successful entrepreneurs, solopreneurs or just anyone who has something they’re doing to earn some income on the side, the vast majority of the time you’ll find them having an above average amount of involvement, association and connectivity with other people.
It goes back to one of my favorite quotes regarding self-employment:
“The biggest problem with self-employment is…self. The point is to own your work, not go it alone.”
I like the quote for two reason. One…I coined it. Two, I lived it. It’s my primary Achilles heel. All my past business trials, and most of my current weak areas, are due to relying on myself.
We need connection with other kindred free agent spirits for four primary reasons:
- Inspiration & Encouragement
- Help & Support
I live in a world of free agents. Most of my closest friends and acquaintances are self-employed and are ultra-connected to other people. Much more than I am actually. I’m the guy who goes MIA the most. Sure, I have a large family with my 7 kids that keeps me hopping, but I also just like my solitude. And sometimes I miss out as a result of not showing up or pursuing others.
Which brings up a great point, this is not about being Mr. or Mrs. Extrovert. It IS about connecting with others in an invested relationship.
A great friend of mine is Justin Lukasavige of CoachRadio.TV. We’ve been friends for a decade or so and live about 4 miles from each other. On paper, he’s an introvert and I’m an extrovert. But he knows the value of connecting with people, and he’s amazing at it. He’s constantly contacting people he sees value in and encouraging them and helping in any way he can. He SHOWS UP a lot socially. And through doing this, it’s ridiculous how many opportunities he gets to be part of immensely cool endeavors. Often it starts with a Twitter or Facebook contact, or a blog comment. He’s classic for doing a quick phone call or accepting a coffee or lunch (that I’d often decline) and then BOOM…he ends up being asked to be a part of something. And whenever he’s in need, he has people show up in a heartbeat.
Case in point…yesterday we spent a couple hours at his office and here I am talking about him. From this, chances are some people will look him up, hire him for coaching, ask him for help or to be a part of something.
THUS…how do you go about generating all these ‘friends’ and connectivity? Go BE a friend. Anytime you find someone you’d like to be connected with (yes, for your own benefit), connect with them. Some sample ideas of things I like doing, or having done to me:
- Facebook – ‘friend’ people, or ‘Like’ their fan page, and leave a word of encouragement and testimony. Repost things they share or do when appropriate (meaning, it authentically gave you value, don’t just be a groupie).
- Twitter – follow people and retweet their stuff when it’s relevant (to all those who know I don’t use Twitter much, I know, I know…)
- Blogs – Leave comments that testify to how their message spoke to you. Thank them. Don’t try to one-up them with your own brilliance.
- Reviews or Testimonies – You can leave reviews to iTunes podcasts or books on Amazon, these are biggies. And if you do, let the person know, as those things don’t send the author any notice. If you publicly testify to someone online or even to an audience in person, and you know it’s not likely the person will every know about it, contact them and let them know. Not in an “I want credit” way, but in a “I felt someone(s) would benefit from what you do or have to say” way.
- Inquire – What if you want to connect with someone who doesn’t really have a presence in those above aspects? Just contact them and tell them what you see in them and that you’d be honored to connect to ask for their counsel. Buy them coffee or lunch. Find out what they are pursuing right now and send them a helpful resource or contact.
Again…be a friend. Be their ADVOCATE. Reciprocity is more powerful than money or bribery.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t post two famous quotes from Zig Ziglar. Quotes people give a lot of lip service too, but few really make a priority and take action on:
- “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
- “If you go out looking for friends, you’re going to find they are very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
QUESTIONS for you
- I’m going to be addressing anything you offer in the Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2013 Free Agent Underground Show at 4pm MT / 6pm ET, which will then be posted for the FAU Podcast in iTunes
- Got a story of how connecting with someone led to an opportunity or fruition for your free agency?
- Have a primary way you connect with folks that I didn’t cover here?
- Sounds good but you don’t understand how this can fit you or your circumstances?
Post in the comments so I can cover it in the show
If you’d rather hear the show where I expanded on this topic:Right-click to download / Listen or subscribe via iTunes