Recently, I met a young lady who, after one conversation, sent me an email full of value, full of ideas and with a list of contacts attached. Data she had collected over a number of years, advice based on years of experience in the recruitment industry and ideas that could evolve a number of my businesses.

It shocked me that this was sent to me before there was any talk of a job and without any mention of fees.

As our relationship has developed I asked her why. Why didn’t she charge for the introductions and information? Did she have expectation and what were her experiences of doing this same thing with others? I found her responses useful, inspiring and have summarised them below.

1. Pay it forward – If we are being honest, all of us have been given a break, we have been given an opportunity, a tip off, an introduction or some advice that has changed our future – and the lady I met said she has received this in abundance. The people that helped her have got contacts and their businesses are established, successful and in many cases, sold. So, rather than paying the favour back to them, she made an active decision to ‘pay it forward’ so that other entrepreneurs could have the same bit of luck she has had previously.

2. The Same Difference – To me, this sets out the entrepreneurs from people that simply want to own a business. I work in the recruitment industry, the lady I met works in the recruitment industry but rather than seeing each other as competition, we are united in trying to make the world of recruitment better – for clients and candidates, for advertisers and consultants and in making the world of recruitment better – or any element of the world better for that matter – there will be space for more than one successful business, for more than one successful entrepreneur and therefore, sharing, collaborating and supporting one another helps everyone work towards their collective goal and by working with one another rather than against one another. This approach is of course driven by passion, by purpose and a desire to innovate and to improve – it shows entrepreneurial spirit, determination, ambition and drive – and it shows me the type of people I want to work with, the type of people I want to invest in and the type of people I want to pay my knowledge and experiences forward to.

3. Opportunity – This isn’t a sales approach and it is important that you share your knowledge, make introductions and provide guidance from a place of passion and generosity rather than a place of expectation. The result is that some people will simply take – and those people aren’t the individuals you want to work with anyway. Others will give you matched support – knowledge, guidance, introductions and value and others, like me, will want to invest in you or buy from you and help you make your dreams a reality in the same way.

So, my advice to you, whether you are an investor, an entrepreneur, looking to carve a career as a consultant or looking to get yourself into the world of work, give your all, give what you are good at and give your value, with no expectation, with a true passion to help others, to make positive change and leave an impact on everyone you meet. Pay it forward, remember the concept of the same difference and of course, opportunities will come.

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