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Who Not How: Three reasons you (& I) should outsource

Written by Sydney Sam & Jackline Njagi

I, Sydney, wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist but my ego has me believing that I am the best person for my business ventures. In fact, I dare say no one can compare at least that’s what I believe. All my business ventures have been inspired by problems that are close to home. How could I trust random Tom, Dick, and Harry to be part of this vision? How could I not be like the many self-made entrepreneurs who got there by working their *** off? Reading ‘Who Not How’ had me sitting at the edge of my seat wondering why Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy had to hold a scolding conference for me. I had to bear the cold hard truth so you have to hear it too. Some of the key insights are:

Your dream is bigger than you

The first thing I learnt about entrepreneurship by practicing was how lonely the journey can get. My first business venture had my roommate, Kobby, and I selling tickets around campus. I remember the mental gymnastics it took for an introverted extrovert like me to approach people to encourage them to attend my comedy show. I wound up personally doing it for only a short time even though the public interest was there. How could I spend the whole day smiling at people and approaching them to buy tickets then go home and post the famous ‘‘I hate people” meme used to announce how much of a recluse I was? I had to pick a side! Dry jokes aside, in retrospect Moonlight Cafe, had many successes, but only became what it was after we had the courage to find the right ‘whos’. Shout out to Kofi Kyei, Sydney B., Amaka, and Kwame!

I believe that being an entrepreneur is to conquer yourself to thrive. I thought the best way to conquer myself was to learn every skill that I need to keep my venture running. Plot twist; the way to conquer me was to let go of the idea that I need to be superhuman for my ventures. I need to be okay with the fact that when they tell my success story (Look at me deciding I will grace Forbes), they will not say that I slept only two hours trying to keep everything afloat. They will say that I had many ‘whos’ working to keep everything afloat. The kind of business I want to create is bigger than me so how could I expect to do it alone? This dream has to be bigger than my ego and fears. It deserves to be worked on without any reservations. I needed ‘who’s to get there. My dream deserves to have more skills and perspectives working together to actualize it.

Investment over Cost Mindset.

A few chapters into the book ‘Who not How’, I kept thinking about how privileged Dr. Hardy has to be to tell an entrepreneur who starting out to not do everything themselves. Then he challenged me about my cost mindset. I view hiring someone to do social media marketing for me as a cost without realizing how much time I free for myself or the expertise that I just added to my arsenal. It is funny how I am an entrepreneur who chose to venture into uncharted territory yet I’m still so afraid to invest. When choosing ‘whos’ that need to come to your business, it shouldn’t be about the cost but the value that they are going to bring. When you bring someone into your vision, you have a new set of skills, perspectives, and experiences added to it. You have someone to hold you accountable actively by reminding you and inactively by knowing that your productivity affects more than just you.

Sometimes the cost of ‘who’ doesn’t have to be monetary. I am about to tell ask you to start networking to find like-minded people and inspired them enough for them to be altruistic toward your dream. I know I know, this word always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If you relate then you probably have a stack of business cards that you have no idea what to do with them. So far the only use I have found for my acquired business cards is using them as rulers and bragging rights.

Well, worry not I have two tips courtesy of ‘Who Not How’. One is a quote from Rumi “What you seek is seeking you.” You will attract people who are just like you. What should matter to you when networking for your venture is not the perceived success or status of the people you meet. It all comes down to whether you are drawn to them and nothing else. Having a relationship with a person should not feel like a chore. Two is ‘Don’t reach out to someone unless you have something meaningful to offer them’. I have always struggled with idea that networking feels like an accepted way to build an arsenal of people to use. However, Joe Polish, founder of Genius Network and GeniusX, as well as the nonprofit Genius Recovery Foundation, says that to connect with people you need to ask ‘ What’s in it for them.’ You need to create value in order to cultivate a profitable relationship. Don’t use your business cards as rulers!

Time is finite. Time is money. (By Jackline)

One of the most offensive and eye-opening remarks in my life would be when one of my facilitators told me that my business idea was not special and that there are likely a hundred people attempting what I am trying to do. When I came up with the dream to make mental health support affordable, available, and accessible, I had just been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and I kept thinking how different the quality of my life would have been had I known my diagnosis. Beautiful story right, imagine my shock when my facilitator had the audacity to tell me the truth. The truth is that your business idea is only special to you and there’s nothing stopping competition from arising. Just because you choose to do everything yourself doesn’t stop other people from doing the same.

As entrepreneurs, we must have the courage to accept that we are ignorant in many ways. The most we can do for our dreams is 80%. Your life story is not enough justice for your idea. You need a fresh set of eyes to complete your vision. Every day that you choose to DIY in areas where you are ignorant, you are giving up on your dream. You are delaying your vision. Invest in a ‘who’ in your weak areas to allow you to blossom in the areas where you are strong. This way you will save time and also find happiness in only working on your passions.

The idea that my idea is not special also got me thinking about all the people who were trying to do the same things as me. At first, it had me feeling an urgency to actualize my idea but Dr. Hardy now has me thinking about collaboration. Each day that passes that I fail to actualize my dream, people struggle with mental health issues without access to mental health services, information, and a community. What if I joined forces with another platform looking to do the same as me? This would bring my resources and theirs together. Oh, what magic we would create!

So in conclusion, ‘who’ is going to be?

“This article is written using this very principle - Jackline being my WHO to help me start writing again. Many more to come!” - Sydney Sam


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