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Recently, an entrepreneur contacted me with a question that struck the house. She said she wanted to withdraw from herself, but the idea seemed lonely to her. She asked me, “How do you get people to believe in you and support the work you do both emotionally and financially?”
It’s a good question. I know I have had times when halfway through a project, I felt alone and overwhelmed by everything I needed to bring the project to life. Last year, I decided I wanted to write my first book, but I stopped, doing all the things I didn’t know how to do, like finding an editor and printing and distributing copies.
This project, among others, taught me the importance of asking for help, both for the support and the support that make a project successful.
Related: Coping with Anxiety, Finding Support: The Story of an LikendisLike
1. Recruit your close friends. Overwhelmed by my book project, instead of working, I jumped into one of my favorite teen movies: 10 things I hate about you. In this document, a character cannot go out with a girl he loves unless his sister also has an appointment. So two of the characters, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Krumholtz, decide to pay someone to go out with the sister.
But to pay the date, they needed money. Which leads to the lightbulb of Krumholtz’s character: “Yeah, well, what we need is a funder.” Joseph then wonders what a funder is, and David replies, “Someone with money who is stupid.”
It was also a moment of light for me. The characters were partially right. Donors are important. But you want them to be smart, not stupid and have a vested interest in your success. I started talking to my closest friends about the project and, above all, about what I needed.
Although none of them had written a book themselves, that didn’t stop them from helping me. One friend recommended someone she knew who offered publishing services, while others suggested printers and designers. Slowly, I gathered the resources I needed to bring the book to life.
2. Find soul mates. Of course, you can’t just depend on your friends. Even though it was wonderful to have their help and to know that they believed in me, I needed others to believe too. I wanted the book to have a large audience. And since I started the project, marketed it and sold it myself, I also wanted a sponsorship to cover the printing costs.
I made a list of a hundred companies that I think would be interested, asked my assistant to find their contact details, and then sent them a short email explaining the introduction. Femgineer, the book, and ask them if they would be interested in offering a small sponsorship.
But we did not email them once, we did several emails until we got a clear answer.
Of the 100, 15 people responded to one of our emails. I jumped on a call with each of these people. I started the conversation by asking them about the values, the goals of their business and what caught their attention on Femgineer. Instead of just asking for sponsorship, I developed an offer, emphasizing how I could present them in the book, and how it would be aligned with the values and goals of their business.
I ended up convincing 7 companies to sponsor and help market the book to their audience. This success was based only on three factors:
- Communicate my passion for the project.
- Find alignment with companies able to support the book.
- Create an offer, knowing not only what I wanted but also how it would help the other person.
It’s about talking to people and remembering: nothing big is ever done alone. Respect this and you will find the right help for the right projects.
Related: To achieve your goals, get help