For those of us who have just begun to take action towards internet based entrepreneurship, the most common phrase we are hearing from our successful predecessors is to “create and provide value”. There is no question in our minds that this is the key to our success. There is, however, a very big question constantly looming in our minds. What value do I have to offer?
Most of us are aware of our own talents and strengths. We can probably even think of a few situations that those talents and strengths would be considered valuable enough in the online world for people to pay money for them (if the right people happened to come across us). The wall that we find ourselves facing, however, is the way to exorcise those talents in a way that is unique. Unique enough to separate us from the hundred+ other individuals or companies out there that possess and are being paid for their same valuable talents. Getting paid to do something that you are good at and passionate about makes all the sense in the world. The reality is, however, that there are many other individuals who possess and are passionate about those same talents and are attempting to make or have already made their place in the world of internet business as well.
I met someone recently who unknowingly gave me a good deal of encouragement, and pointed me towards the answer to this question in a very simple way. I went to a local bookstore in the attempt to get some work on the content for our upcoming podcast. The only open seat was at a two chair table, one of which was occupied by a man in his late twenties (about my age). I asked if the seat was taken, and he said “no, sit”. He then proceeded to ask what I was working on. I have had little to no experience with the pitching of our familypreneurial venture, and typically people respond to what I do say with questions like “how is this a moneymaking business?”. I was surprised by this mans genuine interest in what I had to say as soon as the words “Familypreneurs” left my mouth. He immediately asked what content we had available, and sat and talked with me for 30 – 45 minutes (the most I have talked about our Familypreneur story to any complete stranger so far). I actually had to end the conversation so I could get a little work done before my shift was over. The last thing he said to me before he walked away was “I could just go on sitting here and talking with you” (I felt the same way). All of a sudden, it hit me. I was providing this guy value simply by telling him my story, and he was providing me value by listening.
It may sound crazy that my wife and I are about to start a podcast, and I am just now realizing the power of the giving and receiving of value in the form of conversation, and I know it is. He genuinely valued my story, and I valued the fact that he listened. I’ve been listening to a good deal of new and noteworthy podcasts on iTunes, and have heard quite a few “thank you so much for listening”, and “we are so honored you chose to listen to us”. Previously when I would hear these statements I would think, “Why are they thanking me for listening? I want to listen to them, I need what they have to offer. If they stop providing me with value, I’m not going to just keep on listening because they are thanking me for it”. I now realize that most of them are not thanking me for patronizing them, they are literally thanking me for the value that I am providing them by simply listening to what they have to say. For the podcasters out there who are genuinely trying to provide people with words of value, BRAVO!
I have been unknowingly providing value to my favorite online value creators simply by digesting their content in whatever form possible, and I am more confident than ever that our story as Familypreneurs will provide value for others in whatever form we choose to tell it through. Our digital content only becomes valuable when when it is received by someone who finds value in it.
I want in on this giving and receiving of virtual value, and I realize more and more that I really don’t care if I make money or not. On the other hand, we need money to survive and to be able to continue functioning as givers of virtual value. Therefore I must find a way to make the two work together, and I will. However, until then, I am going to enjoy every valuable step of the way.
My greatest passion is my family, and our relationship with each-other. This puts me in a pool with just about every online entrepreneur I know. So, while I may not know how I can really leave my unique mark in this online community yet, and while the big question of how I will monetize from my passion is still looming in my mind, I am more excited than ever to figure it out…… giving and receiving value all the way there!