The #1 Secret Weapon of the Best Entrepreneurial Communities

Ironically, this is also the most common advice we learned from interviewing 60+ of today’s top entrepreneurs on theHandshakin Video Series. But David Cohen, the Founder of Techstars phrased it best:

“It always produces unexpected results when you give first, it’s a secret weapon of the best entrepreneurial communities,” I heard David Cohen say in an interview with Startup Grind.

Give First.

Or, some people call it ‘pay it forward.’ Above is more from David Cohen when he was on our video series.

From my experience, ‘paying it forward’ or ‘giving first,’ is the most powerful tool as an aspiring entrepreneur that no one thinks of. This is because when you first start out, you’re basically unemployed, have no sales, and are quickly losing all of your money.

Most entrepreneurs who start out feel like a nobody in the startup space, no matter how impressive you climbed the corporate ladder for several years. But you are somebody to all the other entrepreneurs who have felt that way before who are now successful. Here’s how to pay it forward and why to pay it forward.

How to ‘pay it forward’

  • Volunteer your time working on another startup idea.
  • Introduce mutual contacts to each other if they have a common passion, over happy hours or e-intros (like no one does this). Help them handshake ;)
  • Be blunt and straightforward with someone on why it could be perceived as an unvetted idea. Your inexperience matters less than your first impression of their pitch.

Reasons to ‘pay it forward’

  • Helping someone with their startup when they are further along than you, typically pays you back tenfold, even though it’s hard to measure. Some are takers, but most give back in value that is higher than what you provided them.
  • Introducing contacts shows off your ability as a community builder and connector. This increases your credibility and helps you be seen as a person of value.
  • Being blunt helps you weed out everyone who says your startup is a great idea. It gets you around the entrepreneurs who are making real change instead of talking about how great their ideas are.

I hope this inspires you to help someone out today! Just try someone in your personal network right now without thinking about it too much or spending too much time on it.

If you can’t think of someone in your network, you can pay it forward by giving us feedback on our product offering, just tweet me what you think @handshakin :)

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