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Archive for July 24th, 2009

Business and Relationship

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby and nonconformist entrepeneur (is that redundant?) has a great website full of opinionated articles holding excellent advice. Mostly he’s preaching to the independent/indie musician crowd. However, what he says often rings true for any self-employed person.

OK, so I’m opinionated and so is he, I naturally sometimes disagree with his opinions. Normally, I tend to think the guy is brilliant in an area I can find little good advice about: very small/one person creative businesses. I’m grateful to have his resources at my fingertips.

I was poking around in his archives and found an interview he did with Tom Williams, who was fourteen when he was hired by Apple. The whole interview is pretty interesting, about a person who just has more focus than I do, and who enjoys working and thinking and growing. I had never heard about him before, so the story was fresh to me.

You can read the whole interview here. However, one part really struck me. I have said for years that my own industry is all about relationship. Knitting and related work tends to be a business of mostly women, and women need connection and trust. I work hard at building relationship with both those who buy from me and those who hire me.

I am imperfect at the process, but I believe it is essential to my own success both personally and professionally. I love being with people and I enjoy the people I work for, so my interest in the folks around me is real.

If I am going to go into business, I am going to make human connections with colleagues and customers. It is how I approach life. This was true even when I was a computer consultant, emphatically not a female-dominated field. It is just part of who I am and how I approach my life.

So this quote, pulled from the middle of that interview, really stuck out for me. If you find the time, you may wish to read the whole article.

It was about relationships, first and foremost. If people like you, they want you to succeed. If they want you to, they will help you succeed. It has to be genuine.

A lot of people approach their relationship-making as mercenary transactions. As much as you appear very genuine they can see your endgame. Take the time.

Earlier this week, I was traveling back home with my Mom and we agreed to take a particular ferry home, which would allow me about fifteen minutes of face time with a friend and mentor of mine.

She said: “Why bother if it’s just fifteen minutes?” I said, “Well, because it’s face time, and that fifteen minutes should be spent building and strengthening the relationship.”

What can you accomplish in fifteen minutes? Nothing other than strengthening the relationship.

Recognize that by being useful and good to others, you will eventually build a very strong team of supporters. They’ll lift you up to new heights and protect you. If you falter they will be there to bring you back up and support you.

I think it’s one of the most overlooked components of business. Simply, we’re always able to say that at the end of the day, all you have is your friends.