“There is a reason, after all, that Gen. Y–which is only becoming more important as we get older and begin pushing and stimulating our economy–has been dubbed the entrepreneurial generation. Many of us couldn’t land the jobs we wanted, so we just made our own. Sure, the training isn’t traditional but my generation is brilliant; we are over-educated and often over-qualified for the jobs that we do take. Tradition and innovation have little to do with one another and in the battle of success and relevance between the former and latter, the latter has proven itself quite victorious.”
I was catching up on some très important blog reading last night when I came across the above quote in this post by Leandra Medine, the genius behind the Man Repeller. The sentiment of her post had me nodding my head and saying yes, emphatically, yes! We are an entrepreneurial generation, we have been blessed with the ability to pull ourselves up by our fetching bootstraps, and we’ve had to make a name for ourselves because no one was there to do it for us; but it’s not just Gen. Y that has felt the need to innovate and make themselves relevant, it’s every entrepreneur. Whether you’re opening a cafe, starting a fashion line or branching out as a freelancer for the first time, one thing is true- if you build it, they will not come. Not necessarily, anyway, not unless you entice them. You can do this by making yourself relevant.
So, how do you do that? Easy! Here are 3 Simple Ideas for Making Yourself Relevant by creating something, sharing it with your people (whomever they may be), and growing your tribe. Let the drum-banging begin!
- Respond to something already relevant. If you’ve recently read an article that made you fist-pump the air and yell, “Yes!”, or, conversely, made your hands start to shake as you muttered, “No, no, no, NO!”, then take a page from Leandra’s
book blog and passionately respond to that piece. Your response could be a blog post, a video, a song– anything that allows you to share your point of view in a shareable and articulate way. It doesn’t have to be long, but be sure you make a claim and succinctly support it. Share your piece via social media and encourage others to join the conversation, too. Sure, some people will disagree with you, but the ones who don’t, the ones who share your feelings, they’re going to become allies, clients, supporters.
- Join or start a movement. Perhaps you’re passionate about clothing designers paying their employees a liveable wage, perhaps it’s recycling to-go coffee cups, or saving the seals– whatever it is, join-up and start sharing your experience. Not only will you have just joined a ready-made tribe, you’ll also be attracting others who think like you, too. (Nudie Jeans has done an excellent job of building a tribe of like-minded customers around their economic and environmental initiatives; you can read my post about it here.)
- Host an event. A tea party, picnic, gallery tour or themed walk– anything that will get a group of awesome people together for something out of the ordinary. Invite everyone: friends, local business partners, mentors, and clients, then share snippets of the day online (via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Vine). Encourage others to do the same and BAM, you’ve allowed your tribe to multiply, your message to spread, and your existing clients to see you in a new light. Fun!
Of course, there are a bijillion other ways to make yourself relevant, to spark a dialogue and better connect with, and grow, your tribe, but I hope these three suggestions helped to plant some seeds. I firmly believe there’s more than enough business for everyone out there, it’s just that we need to think creatively to find it, sometimes.