Entrepreneurs, You Are Not Entitled To Anything
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Every now and then, I get stopped by someone – both literally and figuratively- who asks me, often in a rather accusatory manner, as to why I haven’t responded to an email that they sent to me. This can sometimes happen in real life, at an event or some other sort of gathering, or even on social media, where I’m jolted sometimes by a PR professional asking for feedback on a press release, or other times, an entrepreneur demanding why they haven’t been featured in the publication yet. Now, I understand the need (and importance) of following up on things- it’s often a critical step in getting things done in the real world. But let’s take a step back here: is whatever you are chasing up on really worth a follow-up?
For instance, here are a couple of situations I come across in my day-to-day life as an editor: does that generic press release that you shot out to all your media contacts really need you to call up each one afterward asking “if it is going to be published?” Or, for that piece you wrote, which is clearly not in line with the publication’s style and tone, do you really need to ask the editor as to why it hasn’t gone online yet? Surely, you know that editor is busy and has a limited number of resources- so, what makes you so special that everything else be dropped and you be taken on as the first priority on the to-do tasks list?
And, oh, let’s not forget the repeated requests from the often young, budding entrepreneurs (who are only just starting out on their businesses) asking/demanding to be featured in (or worse, be on the cover of) the magazine: really? Are you really that confident about the prospects of your company you’ve only just began- after all, we’ve had much “bigger” individuals with stronger backgrounds and deeper pockets announcing ventures that have ended up floundering in the market.
So, for all of you who wonder why your press release hasn’t got a response from an editor, or why your pitch deck has been ignored by an investor, or in general, why your plea for help has gone ignored, here’s what a well-meaning friend (with a penchant for no-nonsense quips) once told me: “You’re not entitled to anything. The world owes you nothing.” For the record, I know that my friend is not the one who originally made this statement, but regardless, in my opinion, this is a paradigm that should essentially be drilled into everyone’s heads, but especially so, for entrepreneurs.
Listen up, ‘treps: you are never going to gifted anything on a silver platter; you’re going to have to work hard for everything you want or dream about. Don’t expect anyone to drop everything they have on their hands to help you out- trust me, they have enough on their plates already, and so, no, they are not obliged to do you a favor, for any reason whatsoever. So, when you follow up, when you chase up on something, consider who you are approaching, and please, don’t be arrogant about whatever it is you are doing. You might have not got a response because maybe the pitch was too weak, or maybe what you were offering was not up to standard, or yes, maybe it was simply not interesting enough to warrant a reply.
What you need to do is figure out what was wrong, how you can make your offering better, and, quite simply, keep at it- you’ve got to hustle, and earn everything you want.
You are entitled to nothing.