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How Straying From the Pack Can Open the Door to Success

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With the barriers to entry low and the cost to launch a startup minimal, going against the grain is kind of a necessity for young entrepreneurs looking to make it the world of startups.

Yet, it can be a little intimidating finding your sea legs in entrepreneurship, stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting new people that can benefit your endeavor and help it succeed. Serial-social entrepreneur Miki Agrawal feels your pain and offers up some tips on getting out there in her recently released book Do Cool Sh*t (HarperBusiness, 2013).

Fake it until you make it.

Feeling insecure in a new setting is natural, but it can stop you from making amazing new friends. Just go for it. People will generally be thrilled to meet a new person.

Related: Confidence, Excellence and Independence: Business Lessons From 4 Great Leaders

Get something out of every opportunity.

Everything in life and business needs to be mutually beneficial. When you build relationships with friends and colleagues, there needs to be give and take on both ends. Do your part but make sure you get something in return.

Look to those who offer inspiration.

When I say inspire, I mean people who love life. They have the confidence you’ve always wanted. They are involved in relationships that you admire, and they're achieving amazing things in their lives. Plus, they should support and care about you.

Ditch the 'Debbie Downers.'

If you feel bad every time you see someone, it’s time to step away. These people include those who have a negative attitude, make you feel insecure, guilty, unsuccessful or deflated.

Related: Richard Branson on Taking Risks

Get involved in your passion.

Take on new activities and relationships that are in line with what you want to be doing and that energize you.

Physically go to a place where people are doing the things you love. If you want to start a business in technology, you could go to incubators or co-working spaces, like General Assembly or WeWork Labs and connect with people there. If you want to create a design product, look for local meet-up groups.

If you are intimidated, bring a friend.

Want to hear a story about how Miki put herself out there and ended up forming life-long friends? Check out the video below:

What other tips do you have for people wanting to put themselves out there? Let us know in the comments.

Andrea Huspeni

Written By

Andrea Huspeni is the former special projects director at and the founder of This Dog's Life.