August 16, 2017

Outreach for the introvert

A number of people have written in with questions and comments about the outreach campaign that I’m currently undertaking. Folks are expressing thoughts like:

I hear you. Not everyone is starting from the same place, and not everyone has the same inherent strengths. I’m going to suggest a way to think about this that I think will help, but first I need to set some context.

Some context

If you are a service provider (e.g. freelancer, consultant, agency, firm, dev shop, etc) you’re in the relationship business.

To grow, you need to be willing to build relationships.

You don’t have to be amazing at it, but you have to be willing to work on it.

(NOTE: If you are not willing to work on it, you will fail. Instead, go get a full time job at someone else’s business.)

Pro tip

Here’s a tip for folks who feel like their relationship building skills are kinda weak or maybe just a little rusty:

Focus on helping people who need your expertise.

You have a set of relatively unusual skills and capabilities - your expertise. You know that there are people in the world who would benefit from the application of your expertise.

Find them and help them.

This does not have to be about closing deals, or working for peanuts, or giving away your expertise for free. It’s about doing what you can to help people who are in need.

A few examples:

This is the easiest and most effective way I can think of to build relationships, even for an introvert.

Moral of the story

If a sales-y term like “outreach” makes you squeamish, label it more like what it really is:

Being helpful.

You can do that, right?