People complain all the time that nurturing the digital channel takes time. “I just got on Twitter. I don’t have time to get a hundred thousand followers!” Of course you don’t. You have all the time in the world to figure out ways to automate or falsely inflate or do a hundred other efforts that won’t help. And you’ve neglected to just start.
Do you know who also says it will take to long? Kids. On everything they don’t want to do. Homework, room cleaning, etc.
Start your digital presence accounts and get in the habit of spending even 20 minutes a day on them. 20 minutes.
Spend 10 of it talking and 10 of it listening. Or if you want to really do some amazing work, spend 5 minutes talking and 15 listening.
When I say “listen,” maybe you’re not following your prospects and potential community of value. Go to Twitter.com/search and spend time there, searching for people who might benefit you. On Google+, go to Find People On Plus, who match your demographic needs in some way.
No One Starts As a Celebrity
Imagine being a young woman working on your high school radio station. From there, you get the improbable job of working at the local TV news show. You work for years and then are given the lowest-rated spots on the air and told to make something of them. Eventually, it starts to pick up. But this is years later, almost a decade. And then, ten years later, you’re given your own TV show.
Now, at a net worth of over $2.7 billion, Oprah Winfrey is the richest self-made woman in the history of America. A decade.
But I Don’t Have Time
I hear this often, too. No one has time, if they’re fortunate enough to have work worth doing. But when you say you don’t have time to build a platform of value, you’re saying, “I am working on my health but I have to swing by the Drive Thru window for lunch.”
“Time” comes from preparation. I told you 20 minutes before. Would it surprise you that it really doesn’t take much more than 20 minutes a day for most of what needs doing even now, after years and years of building a platform?
What does take time in building up a network of any kind of value is creating interesting content that is of actual use to your community. That takes time. I can’t see a way around that. But the acts required to show people that you care? To connect and make people feel seen doesn’t take very long at all and pays off greatly. Because it’s people that will fuel your growth.
But I Have to Eat Today!
Here’s a truth: farmers don’t starve while they plan their crops. They eat the yield of the previous harvest. And if they can’t make a meal of what they’ve grown before, they forage. This is the basics of what platform building is about. You eat what you have while you plant and nurture what is to come. There’s no other way to do this. Buying your way into the future is purchasing an expensive lie that won’t pay you back.
The Time Problem is a Bravery Problem
The trick is this: we always have time for that which brings us great success. We find it. When something gives us feedback and that feedback feels rewarding, we’ll do more of it. But what happens is that when you’re starting out, when your voice isn’t quite as heard (yet!), you fear it will never be heard. You can’t hear the roar of the crowd because you’re still working your way up to that stage.
Be brave. It takes work, yes, but the value is there. You’ll see.
Oh, and our book, The Impact Equation, is definitely helpful in this regard. : )