In business, you can’t do it alone.
You can either A) Desperately try to control everything and never ask for help from others (any of my control freaks relate?? Why do we do this to ourselves?! B) Work with random people who have no sense of your vision, or C) Find people who inspire us, understand our dream language, and help us reach those goals while enjoying the process along the way.
I’ll take C – please and thank you!
And oftentimes, the people that fit the bill ALREADY EXIST in your life.
They are right in front of your nose for crying out loud!
They are your best friends!
But sometimes navigating the blurry line between personal and business relationships can be a difficult task, so in this series we are looking at the top 4 archetypes of personal to business relationships, and the best ways to transition them for professional success. We will take a look at:
Today we are going to get down and dirty with a group that I like to call The Light Bulbs…full of luminous possibility – within a limited time span.
These are the friends that hear about your business, admire your work, and they feel inspired to team up with you and work together to create something new.
I love the Light Bulbs…if only they wouldn’t burn out!
THE FAIL: I’ve had several incredibly creative and talented people propose working partnerships with Soultiply, but very rarely do these projects reach fruition. An idea is exciting and houses endless possibility – but the execution of an idea requires continual hard work, dedication, and vision to complete.
Most friends are more than willing to team up with you on a project (in fact, if you are like me, I get downright giddy about it!), but they need you to have a clear idea of its parameters before heading into development. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time.
• THE REMEDY: If you know a friend that you would like to team up with and work on a project, have a full plan of action in place before asking for their input or assistance.
Friends are usually very eager to help, but you want to make it as easy for them as possible, out of respect for their time and energy.
When presenting the idea to them, have all the plans in place beforehand, let them know exactly what aspect of the project they would be contributing to, and describe the value that it will bring to them and their business.
Then, if they seem interested in contributing to your project, feel free to ask for their input and adjust plans as you both see fit. Presenting them with a clean slate is overwhelming, and runs the greatest risk of that beautiful light bulb of an idea burning out.
Don’t know where to begin? You don’t have to craft your plan alone .
You don’t have to have every last detail planned. But to have a clear vision and direction set for where you want to go is MONUMENTAL.
A vague idea leads to vague results.
There is a difference between saying that you want to “start a blog” versus wanting to “start a blog about antique kitchen bowls from the early 1900s”. (By the way, I know nothing about that topic, but boy does it sound focused!)
There is a difference between asking a friend to be involved with your blog (bleh, too overwhelming, too unfocused!) or asking a friend to write a guest post for your blog about a specific topic, or to ask them for a podcast interview. The first proposal is vague and doesn’t show your friend how they can help you the best.
Know what you want and ditch the rest. Focus and dream out loud. It doesn’t matter how long it will take, as long as you remain focus and determined. Your friends will appreciate that, and they will feel more inclined to help you get there.
Light Bulbs are the dreamers… so I love them to bits.
But make sure and manage expectations from the beginning, lest you find yourself planning and executing a project that isn’t even something you are passionate about completing!
There is nothing worse than agreeing to help a friend with a project, but finding out it’s not a good fit down the line. That’s when the personal and professional friendship lines get blurred.
I once agreed to help a friend with a project that lacked a clear focus, and found myself spending months running errands and cold calling strangers. After hours of busy work, I had to take a step back and reevaluate my involvement. If I would have had ANY idea that’s what the job would entailed from the beginning, I would have rethought my commitment level and worked to find a plan that brought both of us value.
Instead, I wasn’t passionate about the work, and my involvement in the project started to crumble, putting substantial stress on our personal friendship.
Again, like with The Moochers , it’s NOT WORTH IT. Your personal friendship should ALWAYS come first.
Whether you are the friend asking for help, or you are the friend agreeing to help another – a clear plan of action and value for both parties is crucial.
We all have burning dreams inside of us, and it’s our duty to bring those dreams into the world. But that doesn’t mean that it’s YOUR responsibility to take on the dream of another person. There is a difference between supporting a friend’s dream and carrying your friend’s dream on your own shoulders.
If you sense you are working with a Light Bulb, kindly set the expectations first.
You can say, “I’m very excited about your idea and would love to work with you on it. How about you reach out to me once you have a set vision and plan, and then we can discuss the details moving forward?”. That way, you can clearly manage your involvement and you won’t bite off more than you can chew, leaving you time and energy to complete miraculous projects of your own.
Feel like you might have had a Light Bulb moment? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there and could use a reminder. as a friendly note to MAKE THOSE PROJECTS HAPPEN with the friends that can get you there.
And check out the next post in the series about the friend group that will do more for your career than all the best marketing gurus ever could – I like to call them “The Observers” .
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