When speaker Jerry Gilles told his audience of would-be writers that they should buy one hardcover book every week to support the industry they were part of, there was an audible gasp in the room.
What Gilles was suggesting wasn’t radical at all. It is just one way to put into action the idea to “Support That Which Supports You.” Successful people do that all the time.
As entrepreneurs, we have numerous opportunities every day to spread the entrepreneurial spirit. Here are a few ways to do just that.
° Be joyful in the world. Make other people wonder why you’re so happy. As you go about routine errands, think about those you interact with and how they’re part of your success team. The postal clerk, bank teller and print shop are helping you accomplish your goals, after all. Let them know they’re appreciated.
° Adopt a protégé. Even if you’ve only been in business a short time, you’ve probably learned more than you realize. Helping someone who knows less than you do can serve a dual purpose: besides making their journey smoother, you’ll also see how far you’ve come.
That can be a huge confidence booster. Coach, encourage and support someone who’s just getting started. Ask them to pass it on.
° Share what you’ve learned. Write a What I Learned From Starting My Own Business article and get it published in a local business paper or post it on your Web site.
What do you wish you’d done differently? What was the best surprise you got in starting your own business? Pick six or ten key lessons and find a way to share them.
° Talk to the media. Local media is always on the lookout for stories about interesting folks in their midst. Let them know you’re there. Don’t just be a publicity seeker, however. Come up with an angle that’s newsworthy.
Artist Greg Evans had a great piece written about him in Colorado Avid Golfer magazine after he sent out a press release titled “From Corporate Life to Creative Life.”
Might your personal story be of interest? Or do you have expert advice to share that could add to your visibility?
° Do the opposite. The entrepreneurial path is not about following the crowd. One way to keep your creative muscles tuned up is to find ways to do things differently than everyone else.
Thinking in opposites is an easy starting point for finding a unique way of doing even simple things.
° Be a student of success. Eavesdrop on conversations and you’ll hear how many people are clueless about success factors and the behavior that leads to genuine success.
Teachers like Jim Rohn devoted their lives to studying winners and their findings are documented in books, in seminars and on CDs. Be more than a casual student of what they have to say.
° Conduct regular interviews with entrepreneurs. My niece Gretchen is associate business editor of the Ventura Star. She was telling me that one of the best parts of her job is talking to passionate entrepreneurs. “If they know you’re interested, they love to talk about their business.”
You don’t have to be a newspaper reporter to take advantage of all this enthusiasm. Seek out entrepreneurs and be genuinely interested in hearing their stories. Easy as that.
° Support small business whenever possible. There are numerous ways to do this beginning with patronizing the entrepreneurs in your community. You might pay a little more at your local hardware store, but you may also discover you’ll get useful advice along with your purchase.
And don’t overlook opportunities to form alliances and create joint projects with other entrepreneurs. Collaborations can create positive synergy.
° Help a kid. One of the most common regrets I hear from adults is that they weren’t exposed to entrepreneurial thinking earlier. So cheer a young upstart on.
° Connect with your tribe. While some old organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, may not be a fit for the new creative entrepreneur, look for places where the joyfully jobless congregate and join them.