“My partners taught me that in order to create wealth, I need to pair up with people whose strengths compensated for my weaknesses.”
Would you hire someone whose experience consists of barely a year in the space?
Chances are, you won’t. After all, who needs advice from someone who’s barely starting.
That guy was me.
Few months into my first venture, I got approached by aspiring entrepreneurs who needed help in refining their concepts, building their solutions and monetizing their products.
The problem was that I hadn’t fully experience many of those stages and most of the time, I couldn’t add tangible value. I hypothesized: if I partnered with others who complement my skills and are a few years more experienced than I was, I should be able to fill the knowledge and skill gap.
Long story short, this approach helped me 10X my revenue overnight and it didn’t require thousands of dollars to build a team with high skilled members or years building a portfolio or costly campaigns, all I needed to do was surround myself and partner with “people whose strengths compensated for my weaknesses.”
Have you seen The Pursuit of Happyness?
What was the turning event in Chris Gardner’s internship that got him the job besides his hard work and hustle?
Chris met Walter Ribbon who introduced him to a pool of potential clients. Some people will call this networking, I think it’s more than just leveraging the power of connections.
By knowing and building a relationship with Walter, Chris instantly built credibility, trust and therefore value in his services as compared to his peers who spent whole day everyday cold calling people. With this, in the eyes of his employer, Chris is no longer perceived as an intern but a person who’s worth millions of dollars. Not because of his knowledge or experience, but mainly because of his relationships that can also serve as an insurance policy to future clients.
At the beginning, when LeadPages with its small self-funded team couldn’t match the marketing budget of funded startups and large companies, they built revenue sharing partnerships with influencers. Some people will call this influencer marketing but for a small startup with just a vision and an OK product, it’s way more than influence. Associating their brand with influencers meant recognition, trust and credibility. It instantly increased their perceived value, once again, not because they had thousands or even hundreds of customers using their products, but mainly because their partners’ strengths compensated for their weaknesses.
Regardless of how limited resources can be and regardless of what you do (not necessarily business), there is always a way to 10X your wealth by leveraging the power of those who are ahead of you.
Here’s how it goes.
1. Define your value proposition. State how your solution is different or better. This also applies if you are seeking a job. Someone will ask you: why should we hire you? or why are you a great fit for the company?
Value proposition statement: for (target customers) who are dissatisfied with (the current alternative). Our product provides (solution) unlike (the current product).
Let’s use an example:
Product name: Bootstrap a Startup Program
Value proposition: For first time and aspiring entrepreneurs who are dissatisfied with lack of funding and fear of losing their savings from business failure, our product provides a blueprint for each entrepreneur to help them self-fund their ventures using different bootstrapping strategies and methods within a predetermined period unlike books and courses that offer standalone information without guidance or expert involvement.
2. Define your ideal target, their needs and expectations. I made $1,000 from my first consulting project. This wasn’t necessarily low or bad however with a small portfolio and limited experience, it was difficult to acquire clients let alone charge more.
With research, I learned that the return generated by consultants who are 3 to 5 years ahead of me in terms of experience is 10X greater than what I was earning. I also learned that client persona didn’t change much except for needing more services. I knew that I could easily over deliver on $10,000-$15,000 projects but I didn’t want to take the responsibility of $50,000-$100,000 yet.
After defining your ideal target and what you need to have to sell them on your services,
3. Identify value adding stakeholders. Simply put, those are the people, organizations and/or companies that your ideal target already works with and/or trust. In my case, it was founders with over 5 years of experience building or getting involved in building startups.
To meet the needs of my ideal target, I also knew I needed to provide other services like programming and design so one of the key stakeholders in my list were web/mobile design and development teams and individual freelancers with a strong portfolio.
I researched and listed 25 potential partners. After that, it was time to
4. Build relationships. I started by cold pitching everyone over email much like Chris Gardner was doing whole day. Out of the 25, one person agreed to work with me (discussed in 5.). I put a new list of 25 more people and companies but this time, focused on getting to know the person/team by complimenting their portfolio, helping them find new clients, and sharing their work and blog posts. Eventually, after they got to know me, I pitched them my proposal.
5. Create win-win partnerships. I said that I always come across many projects that I unfortunately cannot handle alone. I offered if they’d be interested in getting new projects from me, something that people will rarely say No to. Once they approved, I asked if I could consider them as team members when speaking with clients and more importantly, if I could share their portfolio.
I only needed 2 of the teams to approve. I got 5!
6. Adjust your brand. The way you present and discuss your services has to match the language of your 10X. From your website to sales meetings, networking, blogging and everything you do will change to represent a more established company or person. Leadpages would not have been able to fully leverage the power of partnerships if they didn’t brand their company as equal or better than existing established competitors.
7. Over deliver and repeat. None of the work you do in earlier stages will matter if you don’t at least meet expectations and better yet, over deliver. If you do exceptionally well, the transition into the higher level will be seamless. The goal from these strategies is to always 10X your wealth and although over time you will experience a diminishing return, there is always room for such exponential growth.
When you over deliver on 5 to 10 projects and even less, you can follow the same strategy by identifying and partnering with value adding key stakeholders, leveraging their power to acquire bigger clients, etc. One of the examples in the downloadable file below uses the story of an already successful entrepreneur taking his company to another level.
Whether you are starting or growing a business or working your way up in the company, always be looking for ways to leverage key stakeholders’ success and influence to 10X your performance and consequently wealth.
I have added 3 more examples in the supplemental material of this post. Download it here.
Have you experienced something similar? Eager to hear your stories and comments. Write me one now.