Bring Me In!
Bring Me In is a recommendations and personal development website started up in 2016, seeking to keep our readers and followers up to date on information that can help them along their individual journeys. It initially started off as a blog to keep me busy whilst also doing something that comes naturally to me which is to give advice. Very quickly it started to attract an audience who were interested in what I had to say even though back then I wasn't really completely sure that I had it all under control. After just a couple of months we managed to get a team of contributors on board as well as become Community Partners with Startup Stories Worldwide who saw our vision and have stood by us as we have continued to go from strength to strength and we currently have another community partnership in the works with another brilliant organisation.
Advice for startups? Don't be too defensive, when you're starting something you will get opinions from any and everyone but you need to learn how to pick out the golden tips from all the other mess you feel these tips/pieces of advice are packaged in. So, what you do is actively challenge your inner voice every single time it immediately jumps too deep into those extreme thoughts like "who does this person think they are?" or "why are they talking to me anyhow?" or "this person doesn't know what they're talking about”. Every single time thoughts like that enter your head combat that with thoughts or affirmations such as "what can I take away from what this person is saying that will benefit me", "this person is a part of my audience so what part of this reflects how my audience or target market may feel?" and so on.
The next advice I'd give is when you don't know how to fix one issue go onto the next issue and hand over the other problem to someone else you know can fix it. Sometimes we're afraid to ask but eventually when you get into a space where you can honestly say your time is precious, you'll even go as far as paying for whatever you need done within a certain period. When you waste a whole day trying to fix something or researching ways of fixing things (especially when these things are way out of your depth) and a friend/someone who knows someone can sort it out in a split second, you'll learn to choose that option more often, make the most of freelancers and sites that provide those kind of services. Admittedly, the only up-side of spending days figuring out everything is you become a wiz in that field but you can also become a wiz if you ask freelancers the right questions and make a note of their answers.
Now I know this kinda looks like i'm going against previous advice, I do think sometimes you have to take breaks and take your time. The idea of keeping up with everyone can kill what it is you're trying to achieve. Sometimes it's important to accept that you're not in the right head-space to currently achieve what it is you want to achieve to the standard you have in mind. This isn't for all start-ups but it is for start-ups that are taxing on the mind. If you don't stop and pause, your mind will do that for you, no matter how hard you try at that one thing, your mind just goes into freeze mode, you end up going into shut down mode anyway.
Another piece of advice would be to open your mouth more often and make use of your network. I honestly do not believe you'd be given a vision for something if you don't have everything you need to make that vision a reality. Make use of those around you, make use of those who know people who also know people. Networking is essential, often times I find myself thinking if only I knew this kind of person, but if you don't what makes you feel like your friend doesn't. This leads me onto my next piece of advice, on a normal day I'd hate accepting help from someone I know is going to hang it over my head but you need to regain that power. Someones help does not take away from all the long sleepless nights you have spent on what it is you're doing. No-one gets to take credit for everything you have done unless you allow them to take that credit, so it is okay to say, yes this person helped me but I also did xyz which has made my brand what it is today and if someone does happen to get a bit too loose at the mouth, don't be afraid to correct people. Also always remember you are making decisions for your business not for your feelings, so if someone like that can ultimately help you and you don't really have options, accept that help and put your pride to the side.
Finding contributors was a bit of a problem for me initially, I'd put our email out there and get no response, then I asked the founder of Startup Stories Worldwide, our lovely community partner, and she just basically said you're gonna have to go out there and bring them to you. You see, I'm team no force; but one thing I've realised not everyone is as forthcoming as you are, people not coming to you doesn't always mean that they don't want to be involved, sometimes people may be shy or may think they're not qualified enough to do it...sometimes they just keep forgetting to reach out. So when it comes to this, a great tip is to think of the not so negative reasons why you haven't reached out to do xyz for so and so platform and think, ahhh this could also be the reason this person had. So I put out a series of tweets for the various areas I needed them to write on and basically said "fav this tweet if interested", then entered every single one of their DM's and sent them a proposal of what it is we do and what we'd like from them and if they're on board they just need to provide their email addresses and phone numbers and I'll be in contact and that's basically how I built my lovely team now.
Another struggle before I eventually got some contributors was the struggle that comes with having to do everything by myself, what you'll find is that you will receive a lot of "well done's" and "what you're doing is great" but only a select few are actually willing to help or advise you when you need it, so you actually have to seek help in other places sometimes. At the time I was working 8am to 5pm and I was balancing working on the site and trying to get back into music and also visiting friends and so on, so it was really hectic. I'd take every opportunity to work on my site at work lol and during breaks. I also would make use of freelancers when I couldn't work things out and I'd always ask them what they did to fix it. If I'm paying you to fix a problem I genuinely do not think you need to be withholding that information from me, especially if the money will only enter your pocket if i'm satisfied with the service you have provided me so that's why I'm clued up on a lot of Wordpress stuff right now and sometimes help out friends to set up their own sites.
Balance. Sometimes I'd get people write in and say "why aren't you doing your app/technology recommendations stuff anymore" and I'm like "ahhhhh I am but no-ones reading them" and they'd respond with something like "but I am". Listen sometimes you really can get disheartened when something you actually like isn't getting the same attention as other things you like in my case app/tech recommendations vs personal development. But that doesn't mean you stop doing it completely, maybe repackage it, make use of your social media accounts, try out new ways of approaching it, do anything but drop it...because if indeed that is the reason people fell in love with what you do, then there's no reason for you to stop it.
Sourcing interviewees for your site. Anyone who says this is easy has either already got a big platform or has some inside connects in the industry they're targeting. This ish is the suckiest part of the process for me and I'm not afraid to say it. Not getting responses to emails from people I KNOW in my heart would genuinely love me if they actually met me or at the very least would be connected to my vision is the most annoying thing ever, you know what it feels like? It feels like not getting a job you know you'd be more than good at. But I guess when you're dealing with people representing someone and not the person directly it can kind of become something like "will this put money in x's pocket?" if the answer is NO then it's air, or it's "does this platform have over X amount of followers?" if not it's air again. It's frustrating but you have to keep on shooting out emails and uploading great content, the big names do come eventually just slowly really and also I need to go out more lol, guys don't be like me, leave your house from time to time, although I used to be worse.