Everyone has to start somewhere, and for most of us, that means experiencing all of the challenges that come with taking the plunge and deciding to work for ourselves. It can be a rocky road that almost always results in a prolific learning experience.
We rarely make the journey completely alone, though. Chances are that someone has influenced you in some way that has helped you succeed. If you’ve been in the fortunate position of benefiting from someone else’s expertise with no financial gain or other form of payment expected in return, you’re in the perfect position to pay it forward.
According to Wikipedia, “paying it forward” simply means repaying something good that has happened to you by doing something good for someone else. It focuses on living with reciprocity – consistently responding to a positive action with another positive action. You get something, so you give something. It’s simple, and while it may not change the world by itself, your good act can be one of the factors that contribute to someone else’s success and happiness. Not a bad deal.
So are you ready to start paying forward all of the good fortune you’ve had in your business life? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Mentor someone just starting out – When you’re new to the industry everything can be overwhelming. Having someone to show you the ropes, help you keep things in perspective and provide direction and focus can be invaluable.
Share your knowledge…for free – Instead of writing the bare minimum on your business blog just to keep it alive, start to provide real and valuable tips, advice and tools. Change your focus from having a blog to promote your business to having a blog that improves someone else’s business.
Offer encouragement – Have you ever done something that you thought was pretty fantastic but it seemed to go unnoticed by everyone else? Be the person who openly acknowledges a job well done by recognizing the efforts of your team members and colleagues.
Give props out loud – One great way to pay it forward is by promoting someone you typically would not openly support…a competitor, for example. Be the first to congratulate them, then write a review of their new project, share the news with your network and publicize their accomplishment.
Provide a pro bono service – Despite the fact that we’re always reminded of the importance of charging what we’re worth, there are situations when a free service can be appropriate. Pick an organization you believe in and volunteer your time, solely with the goal of helping them out.
Did you benefit from someone else’s expertise when you were just getting started? How have you paid it forward?
Image credit: nosheep