No man is an island. Aside from the idea that anyone can do it, one of the most common misconceptions that people have about blogging and making money online is that everyone else is your competition. If you blog about electric cars, every other website that covers electric cars is fighting over the same traffic, the same ad revenue, the same opportunities… right? You have to work your hardest to get the biggest slice of the pie.
But wouldn’t it be better if we could just get a bigger pie for all of us to share? The truth is that you cannot and should not expect to go about doing all of this alone. We can all learn from and support one another, raising that tide and lifting all boats. This can happen over social media, in forums, at conferences and trade shows, and even from camping trips. But before you can do any of those things, you need to build your tribe.
And you need to know who you want to have as part of your tribe. Here are five invaluable qualities you should seek when looking to build up your squad of mutual supporters.
By our very nature, most of us are greedy and self-centered to some degree. It’s only natural to think, “What’s in it for me?” But if you only surround yourself with people who are only in it for themselves, it’s unlikely that you will ever gain much value from the relationship. Conversely, if you go into these relationships with only a “take” mentality and no inclination to “give,” you’re not going to get the most of these connections either. It’s not about win-lose or who comes out on top. It’s about creating a win-win, and that’s starts from a more generous mindset.
We’re not talking about money here, at least not specifically. Seek out people who are generous with their time and expertise, their guidance and their compassion. While we all have to look out for the bottom line, most assuredly, we also need to look out for one another. That’s what a squad is all about. Think instead, “What’s in it for us?” or even, “What’s in it for them?”
We all have people in our lives who seem listless. Or even if we weren’t to go quite so far, many people may have dreams and ambitions and goals in their lives, but they don’t actually get up to do something about it. They’re either not willing to put in their effort or they’re too afraid to take the risk. Or maybe they’re just waiting to get all their ducks in a row before they take the plunge. But of course they never do.
If you surround yourself with people who aren’t self-starters, you’re not going to feel especially motivated to start yourself. When you surround yourself with people who are more enthusiastic, more passionate, more willing to go out there and give a try, you’ll be more inclined to do the same. Motivated people are great sources of motivation. Challenge one another to do better.
Okay, so maybe you find some people who are excited about getting started. They start a blog. And then a YouTube channel. And then a podcast. And then they start writing an ebook, building an online course, and launching an Etsy shop too. Why not? They approach each of these projects with unrivaled fervor, only to see that enthusiasm vaporize as they move on to the next shiny thing. The passion fades as the views, likes, subscribers and conversions fail to roll in. It’s not enough.
Call it tenacity, perseverance, or even stubbornness on some level. If you have friends who are willing to tough it out, who are willing to stick with something even though it’s hard or the results aren’t coming in, then you’ll have friends who will be willing to support you when things aren’t going your way either. A tribe that stays with you through rough roads can celebrate with you in smooth sailing.
This relates tangentially to the previous point, but perhaps in a slightly different kind of way. When it comes to running a more traditional kind of business, particularly larger corporations and organizations, keeping good people around is one of the biggest challenges. Employee turnover is really high, as workers are constantly looking for new and better opportunities elsewhere. They’re looking for greener pastures where they’re treated better or have the potential for greater upward mobility.
That’s understandable, certainly, but it’s decidedly not desirable when seeking out people you want to include as part of your tribe or squad. You want loyal people who will stick together through thick and thin, even when they may or may not have a lot to gain individually. This goes back to the point on generosity above. If everyone in your group is going in with a “what’s in it for me?” mindset, they’ll jump ship when they think they’ll have more to gain elsewhere.
Ambition is good. It’s necessary. You should absolutely have goals in your life that you are working toward achieving. At the same time, you shouldn’t attach your happiness to your success and achievements either. Far too often, we get caught up in a “I’ll be happy when” line of thinking, not being grateful for all the great things we already have in our lives. In this way, we can feel miserable when, by objective standards, our lives are already well ahead of the curve.
Being grateful is not at odds with being ambitious. If you surround yourself by people who genuinely express gratitude and joy in everyday things, in their everyday lives, you’ll be more inclined to do the same. This, in turns, leads to greater happiness overall. It doesn’t matter if you make a million dollars a day if you dread waking up in the morning. Be happy first, then you can work toward your success.
Together. As a tribe.