Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Generate Your Own Luck

Well, I hadn't expected the lag from my past post to this one to be 30+ days.  I guess I've been pretty know...starting up my business.  Nevertheless, I'm back...

Often times, the startups that "make it" usually can point to a few major events in the course of their startup life that others would call the product of good luck. Whether it's the random VC that took a liking to their business -- or a customer relationship that just fell into place -- people from the outside looking in are all too quick to chalk success up to luck.  When the entrepreneur hears that, I'm sure that they usually smile or laugh it off -- but believe me when I tell you that on the inside, they're screaming in your face.

Here's why:

There's a saying that goes, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."  

I love that saying, because it rightfully suggests that completely random luck is more rare than generated luck. Entrepreneurs need to do everything that they can to generate their own luck rather than count on completely random luck (i.e. find a winning lottery ticket on the ground).

The biggest way to generate your own luck is keep building your personal and professional networks.  Mark Suster has a great blog post on one way to do this:  Take 50 coffee meetings.  You're busy?  I know, I know.  But guess what:  If you're not out there making connections, your (future) competitors probably are.  Believe me when I say that these connections will come in handy when you're hiring, looking for consultants, securing funding...and on and on.

The next way you can generate your own luck is by doing people favors.  I'm not talking about taking your Aunt to the airport when she's on her way to her next vacation (although that would be a nice thing to do).  I'm talking about taking meetings when other people are trying to grab a coffee with you.  I'm talking about helping a peer or former colleague solve a business challenge pro-bono.  And then...once you do these things...expect nothing in return from them.  When your reputation paints you as being helpful, people will only want to help you when you're the one asking the favor.

You might think this sounds overly simple.  You might think this might be too time-consuming.  But know this:  If you make an active effort to generate your own luck -- success will find it's way to you. It just will.