I've always been open about leading my entrepreneurial pursuits with passion instead of strictly hustling for money. I turned my last agency into a multi-million dollar company before burning out and selling my stake to take a much-needed break and explore new passions. What I've found is that I just really don't care that much about money, and would rather help people grow their businesses and solve their problems instead.
Don't get me wrong--there's nothing wrong with earning a great living and turning companies into multi-million dollar enterprises. Working can be a rewarding journey when done correctly. But we all know there's more to life than money.
The upside to advising others is that it will directly help you earn money in a rewarding and sustainable way. I've made more than I can imagine just by focusing my efforts on assisting people in growing their businesses, rather than on just making money.
Fortunately, encouraging others is free and can energize you and bring more focus to your life and business. There are many ways that helping people can impact both your personal life and your bottom line, including all of the following:
Develop Better Relationships
Tired of lackluster business and personal relationships that fizzle? When your priority is focused on assisting others, you're fully vested in the well-being and success of those around you. It's impossible for those relationships not to be nurtured and deepen as a result. Instead of ending up with a client list of people you barely know, you foster an ever-growing relationship list. That list is full of people you admire--and you have direct insight into their struggles, hopes, and dreams, while contributing to their success.
Attract Endless Clients
Once you start actively working to benefit others with no regard to your own financial gain, an interesting thing happens: people start seeking out your services, eagerly wanting to connect you to qualified leads and give you an endless supply of genuine testimonials and references. New opportunities flood your way when you actively assist others. And your new supply of leads means you can skip over clients that just aren't a good fit for your services, and focus on your ideal target audience instead.
Build Income Streams
There are plenty of ways to earn money by helping other people, whether you're referring them to a company or service you use, or following an existing business model. For example, RealtyMogul.com helps seasoned and amateur investors crowdfund their way into commercial real estate with as little as $5,000. Meanwhile, LendingClub can turn anyone into a benevolent lender by helping others get out of debt. You could end up with a healthy return of over 10% just by cutting someone a break.
Position Yourself as an Expert
One of my favorite things to do is pass on my experience and knowledge in online communities like Inbound.org. I'm happy to let people pick my brain, and will answer just about anything as honestly as possible. Spending just a few minutes of my time puts me in front of thousands of readers who need my help, and they may also turn into blog readers or future clients.
I can also use those experiences online, at speaking gigs and networking events to turn myself into an expert in my field, without trying to be anything I'm not.
Hone New Skills
Mentoring others gives you a powerful advantage over your competitors who are busy strategizing new ways to make money. You start to develop and hone new skills you never knew you had, like genuinely listening, seeing more of the big picture, and acting as a business coach. The more you work through someone else's problems and offer them solutions, the more creative you become as you uncover new answers and techniques.
Redirect Your Focus
The life of an entrepreneur isn't for the faint of heart, but it doesn't have to be so difficult. Stop dwelling on your bottom line and instead create a helping mentality. Your focus needs to shift from the stress and tensions of the office onto something more altruistic to avoid burn out.
Working around the clock might push your career forward to an extent, but eventually you hit a brick wall of burn out. I would know.
Gratitude isn't typically on the top of most entrepreneurs' lists simply because they're focused on business and network building. But research shows that gratitude can help you feel better, experience less stress, and lead a healthier lifestyle. The other benefit of being more grateful is that people notice. Feeling gracious and happy in a pessimistic world is contagious. It's impossible for people not to seek you out and respect your company.
I once defined opportunity as a calculated business meeting or working until I fell over just to get ahead. Today, I define opportunity as a way to genuinely connect with others.
In fact, one of my major goals for 2015 was to connect with or help one person a day. I actually connected with 368, of which 21 are now great friends, 78 took my advice (and then emailed me about their results), and 3 became my partners in new companies.
Ask someone who could use your insights to lunch, offer to give some preliminary advice on a business idea, or test a new product just because you want to help. And it's okay to ask your new network to pass on your information to anyone they think you would find interesting or would want your help. You never know where those new connections will lead.
The real point in helping others is to share your knowledge and skills without any expectation of a favor in return. Unfortunately, expecting favors is now the norm in business. But just because you get energized by helping others and sharing your services doesn't mean you can't make money at the same time.
In other words, align your personal values with those of your business, keep putting yourself out there, expect nothing in return, and be grateful for everything that comes your way.
What about you? Why do you like to help others, and how has it helped your career?