Money, Nepotism & True Stories from Alt Summit

In this week’s IFB column I talked about the delicate topic of money. Specifically, how much money you have to start your business in comparison to others. Today, we’re elaborating on that & the equally sticky topic of nepotism. You can read part one here & then join me after the jump for some more honesty & graceful squirming.

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Last week at Alt Summit I heard one lovely blogger share a moment of her story in “hitting it big”. As I heard others reference it throughout the week I kept realizing they were missing a component that I knew:

The reason she got such buzz right out of the gate, was that her friends were powerhouse bloggers. One blog post & a few social media links from them, & she had a steady stream of traffic most new bloggers would give their right arm for. I begrudge her this not! First of all, she’s mega talented & I’m so glad the world’s hearing her voice. Second, we all want to support our friends over strangers.

This story was the same when I did musical theatre professionally. I’d hear, “Well they got cast because they’re friends with the choreographer” said with an annoyed tone. But it made sense to me. If I had a plum job, I’d want to give it to my friend too! Why go with an unknown when you have a friend whose talent you’re already confident in?

But. It’s an important part of the stoy when you’re a new blogger/actor/entrepreneur/fill-in-the-blank & looking to someone else’s path to success.

Another friend at Alt Summit told me about a very popular blogger. One big component of their success story is when a high-powered celebrity retweeted them. In one day, everything changed. The numbers skyrocketed. A business was born. What this blogger used to share in their story & has now started omitting, is that they paid the celebrity to retweet them.

Again, that doesn’t ruffle my feathers. That was a smart marketing decision. But when the finacial part is left out of the story, it leads you to believe that it was providence. “What if I could be see by someone big?” And so you wait for the what if. It’s a different story than, “How much money can I invest in marketing? What’s an outside the box way I could use that to buy me traffic?”

This topic feels a bit like my post on “What No One’s Talking About on Social Media”. It’s about just how much of the whole story we share publicly. And my conclusion is the same as it was in that post:

The best way to go about building your dream is to have super honest, specific, real conversations with people face-to-face.

And to take every other story you see or hear shared in a large setting with a grain of salt. There may be a detail, a factor, a number, they don’t quite feel like sharing with the world. Which is perfectly fine. But don’t pin your dreams on following someone else’s playbook, unless you’re positive you’re seeing the whole behind-the-scenes.

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P.S. I'm so excited to say I'm speaking at the IFB Conference next week! First session on Wednesday, so don't be late! And if you'll be there pretty please come say hello. 

P.P.S. Have you heard a behind-the-scenes story like above? What details do you know that get left out that are good reminders of taking each path to success with a grain of salt?

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