How to Get Ahead

Want to get ahead in your life and career?  Here’s a really simple way to think about and approach it:

Find something someone is currently doing that you can do better.  Convince them to hire you to do it for them.

That’s it.  That’s pretty much how every job and customer has ever been won.

So how do you do it?  First you need to observe.  Look around and see what people are doing.  Look within and discover what you do well.  Look for places where the quality gap between what you can do and how most people are doing it is large.

Then you need to convince.  This part seems pretty hard.  It’s actually fairly straightforward, though it takes a lot of grit and determination.  There are really only two ways to convince someone to give you a chance to do something for them:

  1. Demonstrate beyond a doubt that you can create value for them.
  2. Be so cheap they’re willing to take a chance on minimal evidence.

Many people get stuck on number one.  They think it’s a catch 22.  How can you prove your ability to create value if you need proven ability to get the chance?  That’s where number two comes in.  Make yourself so cheap – minimal to no money, minimal instruction and maintenance – that it’s hard to say no.

Once you get the chance to create value for someone for free, you’ve got a calling card.  You’ve got proven value creation.  Now you can go to the next opportunity and prove that you can do whatever they’re doing (or paying someone else to do) better.

Every one of the best people I’ve worked with began working for free.  I had a hunch they could create value for me, but it was a risk.  They mitigated the risk by offering to work free until they demonstrated how valuable they were.

This advice, if you take it to heart and really apply it, will get you further than any degree or credential you can buy.

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