If you’re just starting out your career, changing careers or starting your own business you need to say “YES” to every single opportunity and experience. Say “YES” immediately and figure it out later.
You need to look at every encounter or experience as an opportunity to sell, self-promote and get noticed.
Saying “YES” to opportunities is different from being a people-pleaser, a doormat or victim. I’m not saying to get used by others or to constantly do your work for free. No. This is different.
What I’m saying is that in order to grow your business, you need to start somewhere.
I haven’t had a single job in my entire life where I didn’t have to do free work. But in the end, working for free (at times) can have incredibly positive repercussions for your career and create more opportunities for success. Working for free has almost always been very beneficial for me and my career (up to a point…..and then once you’ve accumulated enough experience and skills, you should definitely NOT work for free).
Over-delivering and producing outstanding work is almost always mutually beneficial in more ways than simply financial.
For instance, for 10 years I was a research assistant while in school (Holy crap! I’ve been in school forever!), —and I NEVER had to apply for a position. I always had research gigs because I had a solid reputation as a kick-ass qualitative researcher who always finished the job (i.e. not just some 9-5er, who clocked out).
I did great work = great reputation = great recommendations = more research jobs
Let me give you an another example of saying YES:
I was recently buying some furniture and was speaking to the saleswoman about my upcoming book. She was super interested and suggested we partner up. YES. YES. YES.
Yes, I will come to the store and give a free talk about my book, because it’s an opportunity to get out of obscurity and get people interested in what I’m selling.
At my local Starbucks, they’ve agreed to put up a poster advertising my book and promoting a free talk with the author. YES. YES. YES.
Yes, I will talk in bookstores, in Costco, Colleges, and furniture stores.
Yes, I will promote my book at Home Shows, Book Shows, & Jewelry Exhibitions (who doesn’t want to read a good book while lounging in a statement necklace?) See what I mean?
I’m saying YES to everything right now, because I don’t have a team of publicists and agents getting me on the morning show circuits and profiling me for the Huffington Post.
So, say YES until you’re so successful and so busy that you have to say no. But, until then……..keep promoting yourself and your brand or ideas and say YES to everything. You never know when the next great opportunity is going to be right in front of you. So, be prepared by being everywhere. Be seen. Get noticed. (And you better have your elevator pitch perfected!).