Recently I had the opportunity to watch the movie The Intern. It started with Robert De Niro as a 70-year-old retiree looking for more in his life and ends ups getting hired to work for a small start-up eCommerce business in his local neighborhood.
Now I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone but if you haven’t had the chance to watch this movie I highly recommend it. In the movie, he comes into a business at a much older age working for people who are half his age and at first you would think he wouldn’t fit in.
However Deniro does something that changes the entire situation, he becomes very helpful. More than that he comes into the movie just trying to genuinely help people with the problems in their life.
In fact, in one scene the owner of the start Ann Hathaway gets so frustrated about a table filling up with junk that De Niro’s character takes notice, and the next day when she comes into work she notices that the entire mess has been cleaned up and before you know it De Niro’s character goes from someone who doesn’t fit into everyone’s favorite employee.
Why did this happen?
Because he was genuinely helpful to everyone. When someone had a problem he was there to help in any way he could. If he didn’t know the answer he found someone that did. Whether is was getting them a hot meal or just driving them to their next appointment he was grateful to help.
The reason I bring this up when it comes to the online world this seems to be the exact opposite. Instead of giving help, people tend to be in a more taking mindset.
For example, have you ever been on Twitter and all you see is people saying check out this article or get a discount on this product? Meanwhile, none of these people have ever even considered trying to bring value and at least attempt to be helpful in some way first.
Side Note: I’m not saying I’m perfect at this either. I’ve made this mistake plenty of times myself.
So you might be saying how does someone actually go about doing this? To do this I’m going to share with you a real-life example of someone who does this very well.
A Real-Life Example of Being Helpful and How it Can Pay Off
By now most of you have heard of Pat Flynn, if not I highly recommend that you check out his blog over at Smart Passive Income. Pat is probably one of the most genuine and honest guys I know of online. I don’t know him personally but he has always given tons of great value and tried to help out in any way he can.
One way he does this is with his Ask Pat Podcast where he answers questions for his audience 5 days a week. In fact, I was struggling with an issue a while back and asked him a question.
Resource: You can check my question by going to episode #417 of Ask Pat.
What I found interesting about his answer is that he didn’t just give me a one-sentence answer. Instead, he took the time to fully research the answer to my specific issue. I found huge value in this and as a result, it got me through a tough point in my business.
He also does this in other areas of his business. I’ve also heard Pat say on his podcast that every month he reaches out to people at random on his mailing list just to chat and help them out. This guy just does whatever he can to be helpful and it has paid off hugely for him.
Sure in the beginning this may have not seemed like it would turn into anything but in the beginning, we typically have more time than money which makes this a great opportunity to do things like this.
In fact he still gets thank you letters from raving fans every single month thanking him for his help.
The Be Helpful Compounding Effect
I think the reason a lot of people aren’t as helpful is because they don’t see the immediate return in it. Today we live in this instant gratification society and if their isn’t an immediate benefit we don’t pursue it anymore.
However I’ve found being helpful to have more of a compounding long term effect much like your retirement account. For example, if you had a retirement account earning an 8% return it would roughly take 9 years at that return to double the money in your account.
If you were planning to retire at the age of 67 and at the age of 58 you had only $500,000 in your retirement account you might be thinking their is no way I can save another $500,000 in the next 9 year before retirement. However through the method of compounding even if you never added one more dollar to this account and earned an 8% return you would likely double your investment.
Being helpful to others works in the same way. If you were to help one person per day at first the gratification may not seem so evident. However if you continue to do this something starts to happen. People start to take notice and eventually start to take notice ask you for help.
Over time people are coming to you like they do for Pat Flynn and before you know it people are mentioning your name everywhere.
6 Ways to Be Helpful to Others
Now that we know being helpful to others can do a lot to grow our businesses you might be wondering how do you go about doing this. In this section I’m going to share 6 ways you can be helpful to others.
- Start a Private Facebook Community. One way I’ve been working to be helpful to other is by starting a private Facebook Group called Side Hustle Mastermind. In this community I encourage others to ask questions and share their wins. Anybody can join the community, in fact people within the community can even join in and answer questions themselves.
- Comment on Other Facebook Groups. Another way to do this is comment in other Facebook groups that you join. For example I’m in several other groups similar to my niche and I constantly scan these groups once a day to look for ways I can help.
- Comment on Blog Post. Another unique place you can go to help others is commenting on blog post. For example, if someone has a question in the comments section take the lead and answer the question. But don’t leave a one sentence answer, instead leave a long detailed answer. This will help you stand out from the crowd.
- Refer Them to Others. Another simple way to help people is to refer them to other people. I recently did this when a group I’m in someone was asking if anyone knew of a course on email marketing and I pointed them over to a course I knew was very good.
- Create a Video for Them. Another interesting way to help someone is to create a video. I saw this done a few years back when Pat Flynn wanted to figure out what kind of clothes went best with him and someone heard this who specialized in this topic and actually created a video explaining what style and kinds of clothes would suit him best for his build and style. ( Side note: I tried finding this video but I couldn’t find it.)
- Offer to Help Them at No Charge. Next if someone is struggling with something in particular offer to help them at no charge. One way I see this working really well is if you see someone having trouble with their website you could offer to step in and help them at no charge. So if you see someone on social media struggle with an issue offer to help at no change and you will look like a hero to them.
To wrap this section up what other ways do you know of to be helpful to others? Share them in the comments below.
Don’t Overstep Your Bounds
Before I wrap this article up I also want to share that you don’t want to overstep your bounds here as well. I know that in some cases you just want to help but you also want to do it in the right way.
- Don’t ask for something in return. First if you’re being helpful don’t ask for anything in return, just offer your help and leave it at that. If you’re always asking for something in return it’s going to look like you’re always doing something for your benefit alone.
- Don’t force your idea down their throat. Also you don’t want to force your idea down their throat and force them to do. This happened to me once when I was building my house and I had a family member telling I had to do something a certain way. In the end it’s up to the person you help to take your advice. If they don’t then leave it alone.
- Only remind them once. Finally, if you offer to help someone don’t remind them repeatedly. You can remind them once after a few days but I wouldn’t do any more than that. Again it’s totally up to them to take your advice.
A Challenge For You
Finally, as you can see being helpful is a great way to grow your business and I want to offer a challenge to you. Based on the tips I’ve given in this article I want to challenge you to go on the helpful challenge over the next 30 days, and once a day just offer to help someone. Whether it’s offering advice in a Facebook group, blog comment, or any other idea you can come up with.
I plan to do this as well and I plan to share my results back here at the end of 30 days. You are welcome to share your results as well if you wish.