Making friends while building your business

I want to touch upon this because this is important to realize as you're starting out your idea, product or service. Often times, as builders, as Anthony from Indie Worldwide points out, we have a tendency to say "hi" to people because we want something from them. Rarely, do we think of giving first.

What usually happens

When you think about to a friend you appreciate or a stranger you respect, is it because they took something from you? Or is it because you enjoyed your time with them. It's the latter.

Whether you're interviewing a target user / potential customer or surveying them, it's crucial to realize that more often than not, your conversation with them may become a one-way street where you only take something from them. Whether it be their opinion or their time.

As you keep repeating this with 20-30 people within your circle or within an indie community, you end up being resented or not taken seriously by people because they "know" that you're that guy who says "hello" to only get their end of the deal and run.

This needs to stop. For your own personal good. Not mine.

Give first, take later (maybe)

Now let's flip the switch. Turntables. I like Michael.

When you begin a conversation (even your interviews) with the mindset of adding value (I had this word), it shows in your words and your behaviour. All of a sudden, you become a girl who seeks to understand the other person because you genuinely want to help in some way. Small or big.

This is important especially when you're talking with important people / those who literally value their time at multiples of $1000. I'm looking at Sam Parr and Nik Sharma from Twitter. Oh, btw you should follow me eh - https://twitter.com/sparrowstartup

Anyway, I digress. I like keeping articles short and sweet, so I'll give you some bullet points to keep in mind when going into your next interview / informal chat session with founders, friends, acquaintances or your competitors. The last one's cheeky.

  • Do your homework: School might not be for everyone, but everyone needs to do their fucking homework. Read up about the person you'll be talking to. Are they on Twitter - What're they talking about? Where did you come across them and how active are they on that platform? Are they happy about any recent accomplishment? Are they traveling and blogging about cupcakes from Sweden? (This actually happened to me).

When you do your DD (due diligence) it makes you look 10x prepared and arms you with topics for small talk and to keep fuelling the conversation throughout the call, without sounding like a robot.

  • Ask yourself what they absolutely really need: For me, when I talk to potential customers of Sparrow, I almost never enter the convo with any assumptions or prejudice. I'm here to listen, listen very well and get to the core of what they need for their business and how a Sparrow Advisor can help them.

I don't beat around the bush and neither should you. Value your person's time. If you have what they need, tell them how it'll help and see if they agree. If you don't have what they're looking for, then dude, please don't pretend. No one respects a liar. And if you lose your credibility, you're 10x likely to fail fast as bad word spreads faster than the good stuff. Sadly.

  • Always, always innovate: So here's a story. I got on call with this dude who runs a successful growth firm in the valley. He has A1 clients. Great chat. Loved his energy. After our call, I sent him a $10 Starbucks giftcard. On iOS, it's actually super simple to send and receive these cards. +1 for my boys at Apple / Starby.

Anyway, I did that not because his hour is worth $10. But because his birthday was coming up and I wanted him to know I valued his time and advice very much. End result? Him and I are still good friends and we text each other every 2 weeks like he's my neighbour. I didn't do it to become his friend, I did it because I genuinely fucking appreciated him.

Now $10 or $25, it does take a certain mental push to just send someone money like that in a heartbeat. But this is just one idea. Innovate and find ways to gift people things that'll make them love you, like you and appreciate you. It can be a e-birthday-card because they told you when their birthdays are. They're auto-scheduled if you set them up. Or, just send a hand-written note to their office saying "Thank you." It can be anything, and the value / cost of the item generally doesn't matter. It's the gesture guys. Rock it.

Alrighty. I'll export this article to Medium and my blog over at https://SparrowStartup.com/stories. I always write from the heart. I'm always down to chat, so just tweet me and we'll get talking! Love you indie hackers very fucking much. Take care. Get rich.

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