In life whether in school or at work, we have been ingrained at the importance of a “Do List.” As the founder and entrepreneur behind The Brave Unicorn I have learned that a Do Not Do list is indeed great for staying focus as well reminding ourselves that often we kill our opportunities.
Firstly, I would have to say that there is “luck” involved in any success. However, luck is defined as preparation intersecting with opportunity.
Don't be lazy. While we marvel at the glamour of super entrepreneurs such as Hip hop mogul Jay Z and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, few realize the focused hard work that the put in. Gladwell in the book Outliers mentions that it takes about 10,000 hours for someone to master a skill. A great example are actors and actresses on Broadway. When the silky curtain come up, they perform with exuberant enthusiasm. Every note the sing is one key and angelic. Yet, behind the scenes they rehearse day and night.
Don't leave things to chance. When I lived in Hong Kong, I knew that I needed to learn about the landscape of entrepreneurship. When I was working at my co working office, I was piercing out of the window and I saw a mature man with peppered hair get out of his Ferrari Italia 458 walking toward the elevator. Without hesitation, I dashed over to the elevator in attempt to “run into” him in the elevator. I did. I said, “ Mister, you have great taste in cars. Congratulations. I am a new entrepreneur and do not know much. How did you become successful enough to drive a Ferrari?” He smiled and told me the story of how he started his taxi business. Entrepreneurs are people who understand that they have the power to create value in our society and being intentional with your success is key.
Don't ask for something without giving first. I am a good networker. Good networking is not defined by the 2,500 Facebook friends I have or the stacks of business cards I get after an event. A good networker does not ask for referrals for business or request any favors upon the first meeting. When I walk into an event my job is to play the role of detective. I often arrive early and get in front of the stage so that I am the first to congratulate the guest speaker after a great job well done. Next, I ask questions about his company and my goal is to find a need. Often times start ups are always looking for a good user interface designers. So I would recommend and help them get connected. “Help people attain their goal first and then ask for the favor.” Great networkers simply have an arsenal or bullets that provide values. I arm myself with a list of realtors, accountants, or lawyers I can recommend to people.
Don't talk too much. Often times, we talk too much. God gave us two ears to listen twice as much we talk. When we listen, we can better assess how was can provide value for someone. Also, the key to reaffirm people we are listening is by repeating what they said. Many rookie entrepreneurs brag or talk to much and this can signal insecurity. Being calm and a good listener is a great attribute.
Don't follow up with a generic email. After a networking event, it is easy to write an email thanking the people you meet in a template form. This is in face boring and not effective. Instead draft a customize email that contains details of the conversation and also the strategy you can help them. A great example is to refer to them a realtor that can help them find their next home.
Rayfil Wong is the author of the self help children’s book The Brave Unicorn rated five stars on Amazon. The Brave Unicorn is the first children's book to use Gangham Style and Pop Culture to teach one important lesson.