How to Thrive in the Caring Economy
Think less about strategy and more about people.
There has been a dramatic shift in how we do business over the past decade, and I’m happy to announce that we have thoughtfully created and arrived in the caring economy.
There are still local companies and online businesses that haven’t made the shift. They treat their employees like shit, put down their competitors, and cut corners, compromising their products and services for a better bottom line. They may never change, but the good news is that the better we are treated by caring businesses, the less tolerant we become of bad behavior.
Choosing to do business with people who care and these guidelines will help you thrive in the caring economy.
Guidelines for thriving in the caring economy …
Reach deeper, not wider
Instead of reaching more people, reach people who are most interested in who you are and what you offer. If someone signs up for your mailing list, or follows you on Twitter, they are interested. If they don’t act, then they aren’t ready or they aren’t the most interested. Don’t worry about making them ready or more interested. That’s not your job.
Turn your attention to the people who care now, who are ready to connect now.
In her book Thrive, Arianna Huffington shared this quote from Seth Godin, “The irony of getting in return for giving is that it doesn’t work nearly as well as merely giving … Bloggers who measure the return on investment of every word, twitterers who view the platform as a self-promotional tool instead of a help-others tool, … these folks are all missing the point … It’s not that difficult to figure out who’s part of the online community for the right reasons. We can see it in your writing and in your actions. And those are the people we listen to and trust. Which, of course, paradoxically, means that these are the people we’ll choose to do business with.”
Yes! We see you and will choose who we do business with based on what we see. If you want people to listen and to trust you, give freely and genuinely care about them.
Caring is not an event
You can’t put caring on your calendar or reserve it for special occasions or favors. It has to be in everything you do and think and are. Caring has to be built into what you create, and evident in every interaction. You can’t fake this, and if you do, it’s not sustainable. You can’t trick people into working with you for very long. You may create a snappy sales page that demonstrates that you care and brings in the dollars, but if you don’t care, that purchase is a one time event.
Caring doesn’t expire when the launch is over, the contract is signed, or the deal is done.
Be caring in business, caring when you go out to lunch, and when you are hanging out with your family. Care about your business, your community, and the most important people in your life. If you care over and over, you will begin to care through and through.
Self care matters too
Staying up all night to get your work done and eating junky food in your car because you don’t have time for lunch are all signs that you don’t care about yourself. If you want to thrive in the caring economy, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first. You’ll never be able to fully care about the people you do business with and the work you create if you feel like crap.
You’ll make shitty decisions if you are tired, be less creative if you don’t exercise, and burn out fast without healthy energy from real food. You need breaks too. Breaks from your work, your computer, your email, and your thoughts.
The caring economy is open 24-7, but you aren’t.
You can’t measure love
Love and caring don’t have a column on your spreadsheet, or a place in your weekly report because they are immesurable. They are more powerful to your business and your life than the number of Twitter followers you have, subscribers to your blog, or prospects in the pipeline.
The next time you are struggling with direction for your business, think less about strategy and more about people.
Being sweet is different from caring
Caring about people doesn’t mean that you sugar coat the truth, give your work away for free, or say things you do not mean. Sometimes the most caring thing you can do is walk away from business, or tell people what they need to hear, even if it’s not sweet.
The caring economy isn’t about rainbows and butterflies, it’s about solving problems, helping people recognize their strengths, and sharing their work. It’s about lifting each other up in the best possible way.
Here a few real life examples of doing business in the caring economy
Gary Vaynerchuk responded to every email and tweet he received for almost 5 years. I remember reading his first book, Crush It and taking him up on his offer to email with questions. He responded and I’ve supported his work ever since. He elaborates on how being engaged and responsive helped his business in this video.
Tammy Strobel and I exchange notes through the mail. Yes … the actual mail. We brainstorm over the phone too, and help each other do better work.
Chris Brogan publicly wishes subscribers of his mailing list and other people happy birthday on Twitter. He’s also taken the time to help me directly via email.
Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus hug every person that shows up to their live book tour events. Every one.
Sarah Peck swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco wearing nothing but her birthday suit and raised more than $30,000 for charity: water.
Paul Jarvis, high end graphic designer and best selling author responded to one of my tweets recently. I couldn’t figure out a technical thing on my site, and within 10 minutes he solved my problem.
Leo Babauta gives away presents on his birthday. This year, he gave away The Letting Go Ebook. You didn’t have to subscribe or share or jump through a single hoop. It was a gift.
These are only a few in a sea of examples of people lifting people.
The best way to thrive in the caring economy is to care about people first. Before stats, sales, goals, and any other way you measure the success of your business. Offer help, ask for help and deliver.
When you do that, everything will change. Welcome to the caring economy.
Courtney Carver helps you simplify your life and work so you can focus on what really matters. She determines what matters most by eliminating everything that doesn’t. Learn more about her work at Be More with Less or say hi on Twitter @bemorewithless.