I’ve built a big a loyal audience over the years. Because of this, I’ve had many people come to me and ask if there was any way they could be involved with what I’m doing.
Some people have offered to do specific jobs, but most of the time the offer is to do anything you need, just tell me what it is.
Most of the time, I’m offered their time and effort for free. And free being a pretty persuasive price, I’ve taken a few people up on their work-for-free offers.
Most of them have not lasted even a month.
The reason? From my perspective, it’s because they realize, very quickly, that what I do is actual work, and not all fun and games.
(And even if my business was all fun and games, I’d make you prove yourself by giving you one of the decidedly not fun and no games jobs, just to see how dedicated you were to the opportunity.)
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”h4″ animation=”none” background=”plain”]The Mental Workbook: The Daily Program To Transform From Who You Are Into Who You Need To Be[/dt_quote]
What this means to you, as the person seeking opportunity:
- Never offer your services expecting a joyride. Any serious employer will want to find out, very quickly, how serious you are – thus you’ll be tasked with a hard job that tests your dedication. The more mentally prepared you are for this, the better you’ll handle it if when it happens.
- You and the person you work for are not friends. Is it possible that your work relationship eventually goes outside of work hours? Could you develop a personal relationship with your boss that is not strictly professional? Yes, of course. But if this happens, know that it will and should be at the sole discretion of the boss, not you.
- Come to work to work, not to have fun. When you ask someone if you can work for them, don’t expect anything other than what you asked for: WORK. The fun, exciting things that you may have noticed about this person’s life may not have any association to the work you’ll be doing. And you should be 100% alright with that, without needing it explicitly told to you. Come to work expecting to WORK.
For the employers, those of you who have fans and admirers who ask if they can work for you in any capacity:
- Find out who’s signing up vs who’s showing up. Signing up is easy. Pledge your allegiance, say you want to work, and supply all the right answers when questioned. If a person has any interpersonal skills whatsoever – or have been on any job interviews before – she can pass the sign up part easily. You need to put people to the test early… Signing up is easy. Showing up is hard.
- Make it clear that there is real WORK expected of your workers. Often, people want to work for/with you to have access to you and the frisson/knowledge that comes with such an association. Don’t be so careless and freely giving of your time and proximity: that must be earned.
- You’re running a business, not a social hour. Be sure, especially early on, to establish a clear line of professionalism with people who are working for you. They should know, with your help if necessary, that you are in charge. If they’ve come in to work for free to prove themselves, they should know that they haven’t yet proved anything.
Know this: The most fun and enjoyable businesses and people are still working. They’re probably working harder than those at places which look to require boring and strenuous labor. If you volunteer yourself to be involved, expect to earn your spot with just as much time and effort as the person you’re working for had to put in.