Adding Value for Free

The world is far from fair and perfect. There are so many things that get in the way of whatever you want to do. One of those things that is often obstructed because of unfair disadvantages is getting a job. Whether its because of who you are or who you are not, often times things get in the way. And that sucks. And there are lots of people fighting agains these biases in an incredible way.

In the meantime, though, I think it’d be helpful for me to share a philosophy that I use when I approach interesting companies + challenging problems.

The only thing that I’ve found to be able to neutralize any other factors is to work really hard, for free. To provide a ton of value and not expect anything in return.

Most people are not comfortable with this concept because it requires you to put a ton of trust in the unknown. Right? Because you are just helping for free, you probably will not get anything back. And you have to be more than okay with that. You actually have to love that.

The next challenge of course is providing the value. You have to get creative. You have to do it on practically no budget it all. You have to do it so there is little to no struggle / cooperation needed for the company you are helping.

And it is often as easy as that. Help, for free.

“Hustle is repeatedly understanding how to contribute to someone else’s success without asking for anything in return.” — @Mazzeo on 20 minVC

If you can consistently put yourself in a position to be helpful to others, in the long run you will always find your own success. Being helpful is not something you can do selfishly, it’s something you must innately find yourself working towards.

It’s a weird concept. Being helpful. Even without being asked. It’s a balance between forcing your “wisdom” on someone else and simply providing value.

Ironically, the people that are best at this are actually able to do the least (or appear like they are doing the least) and provide an incredible amount of value. A great example of this is an intro email. Believe it or not introducing someone to someone else, or connecting your network, can literally change someone’s life. It has for me multiple times, and I am forever grateful for that.

So in summary — helping, for free, is the best way to get a job at a startup.


Originally published at www.jordangonen.com on October 15, 2016.

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