Be the Product

There’s not a week that goes by where I don’t read some article explaining successful people’s morning routines. I’ve stopped reading them as I generally end up feeling like I’m still not doing enough. Feeling bad about yourself is not a great way to start the day. That said, my morning routine includes reading articles that have collected in my digital feed from the previous day. I’m a big fan of using Feedly to make this easy. I scan through roughly 300 articles a day. One might say it’s a bit of a problem.

However, this prolific reading is a great source of inspiration and ideas for the work I’m doing. Which brings me to a conversation inspired by one of those articles: Andrew Medal’s 5 Investment Firms Reveal What They Look For In Startups.

You should read it yourself, but the five pieces of advice were:

  1. Fix a problem others ignore.
  2. When you pitch, focus on the big picture.
  3. Create products that have a glimpse into the future.
  4. Reach out to VCs physically near you.
  5. Have a balanced founder team.

Here’s thought for you: Imagine for a moment that you are the startup, you are the product. I have no doubt you are valuable to your company because you are a strategic thinker, problem solver, and team collaborator. However, you are not a robot just doing a task. If it’s annual performance review time or not, apply these five pieces of advice to consider your contribution to the team.

Fix a problem others ignore –

do you see opportunities to solve problems and solving them? Remember, it’s not always the “new” idea that transforms companies. Uncovering and correcting current issues can be just as impactful.

Focus on the big picture –

are you bringing all your talents and abilities to the table. I’ve often been surprised that team members have amazing talents outside of their work that they don’t integrate into their daily work. You can bring your artist, athlete or coach to work too. Don’t be afraid of bringing the whole you to the table.

Glimpse into the future –

I’ve made the mistake of expecting credit only for what I’ve done rather than sharing ideas around what I’m going to do. Yes, your accomplishments are significant, but being able to predict and react to tomorrow’s world allows companies to grow and change.

Reach out to people physically near you –

Look around, brilliant people surround you — people who can teach you things you never thought you needed. Just because they don’t have the fancy title or position doesn’t mean there isn’t something interesting to learn.

Founding team –

Remember that you don’t have to be alone on your journey and you can’t be everything for everyone. My coach Allan Milhamadvised me once to build myself an advisory founding team to solve that problem. I can’t tell you the number of times advice from one of my trusted “founders” has rung in my head during key decision points.

There’s a ton more I could say on this subject, but I hope this stirred some thinking the way it did for me. Because if it’s true that “you are the product,” then the people “buying” you are might be looking for the same things. Have you created your personal pitch? Something to think about.

This guest post was authored by Joanna Bloor, CEO The Amplify Lab

Joanna is a People Accelerator, Futurist/Technology Nerd, Belief Agent for Brave and Curious Women, and Founder of The Amplify Lab. Joanna believes that if every decision made about you and your opportunities are made in a room you’re not in then you should have a plan. Because in your life there is no professional conversation more important.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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