Chances are, if you’re building a side hustle, running a business, or trying to grow a startup, you need two things:
- Eyeballs on your product
- Connections with people who can help launch or grow your business
I spoke with Chad Grills about how to do just that. Chad is an Army veteran turned entrepreneur. He has shared the stage with Tim Ferriss and created apps featured by Apple. Now, he’s working on a stealth startup in education and growing the publication he started on Medium called Life Learning, which is devoted to accelerated learning, antifragility and definite optimism.
I asked Chad five questions on how to help you get eyes on what you’re doing, and how to connect with the right people to help you on your journey.
Plan and prepare before you send your message, and consider if it should be sent at all. I would estimate that 80% of the emails most people send don’t need to be sent. In most cases, I advise not trying to connect with hard to reach people. Try to forget about it, but if you're absolutely sure you need to, ensure that the subject line of the email conveys the benefit you want to provide them.
Keep your email simple, yet eye catching. Like we mentioned before, try to convey the benefit you want to give them in the subject line of the email. Then structure the body of the email in advertising/copywriter format: AIDA.
- Attention: Convey the benefit of what you’re offering. Ideally, fit this into the email subject line.
- Interest: Answer why your proposition is interesting for them.
- Desire: Clearly communicate how easy it would be for your proposition to help them.
- Action: If it makes sense for them, how can they say yes, or take the next step?
Write your email in this format, and then edit it down until you have 1-2 sentences for each line.
Just like when reaching out, convey the benefit to the reader as quickly as possible. Like Paul Graham says, make something that people want. If you only have ideas about what people want, go ask them and confirm if you’re right. When you’re sure you are doing, writing, or creating something people want, you can test it. Figure out how to get it in front of the people who want it. Put it in front of them, and watch their reaction.
After you figure out that people want something, you then have to figure out how to make it easy for them to share. Look at what you’re working on, and ask yourself:
- How is this remarkable?
- Will people be incentivized to tell others about this after they see it?
- How can I make it very safe for them to bring up in conversation or share online?
- Do my clients or customers know how to convey the benefit of this to others?
After you’ve asked yourself those questions, go back and improve the product or offering. Ultimately, more eyes on what you’re working on comes down to conveying benefit, making your work remarkable, and then incentivizing others to share it.
It’s hard to define the "right idea". It can mean so many different things to different people. If you’re going to be a maker, a creator, or make a business or relationship succeed, you’ll need a steady stream of good ideas. You’ll need to be generating ideas consistently, and improving on the ones that are working the best for you. In my own life, I look for signs about what to pursue wherever I have the most ideas. I look for what pursuits give me energy, or are a challenge, but feel rewarding once I’m done. There won’t be one right idea, but there will be hundreds of little ideas that move you in the right direction.
Leonard Kim is managing partner at InfluenceTree, a brand accelerator where Kim and his team build and develop your (personal or business) brand. He also spearheads digital strategy for USC's Medical Enterprise. On the side, Kim&nb...