Lately, I have seen a lot of people in different contexts online asking, “What do I get from that” or “Is what I will get out of it really worth my time/money/effort?”
I’ve seen this series of questions in regards to Social Media in general. I’ve seen it in regards to blogging. “But blogging takes so much time. What do I get out of it?” I’ve seen it in regards to Twitter. “Nobody is talking to me now. I don’t get it. I don’t see what I can get out of it.” More recently, I’ve seen these questions revolve around sites like Third Tribe and 501MissionPlace where you have to pay for the privilege of networking with experts and other people who are in the exact same boat as you. “What can I get out of it?”
You see these questions offline, too. “What am I really getting out of this job?” “I could join this group, but what would I get out of it, really?”
Over the last few months, I have developed a single answer to all of these questions. Are you ready?
You will get out of it exactly what you put in.
Nice greeting card. What does that mean?
Let’s talk about this in regards to the different things I mentioned above.I’ll skip the big wide open Social Media question since I’ll be tackling pieces and parts. So…
What do I get out of blogging? If you don’t put much effort into your blog, you probably won’t get much out of it. Your lack of passion for what you are doing will act as repellent. Your ambivalence about responding to the comments you receive will further turn people away. Your question will turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. What *can* you get out of blogging? If you take the time and effort to find out how you can help people, you can get an extraordinary sense of accomplishment. You can feel good about yourself. You can watch people evolve and grow on their own based on things you have helped them with. You can create conversation, if you are willing to converse. You can create new ideas if you pose questions and discuss the answers you receive. You can gain a sense of community via your readers.
What can I get out of Twitter? If you don’t want to put some time and effort into Twitter, or if you don’t want to invest in Twitter, you will not get much out of it. If you stop talking because it feels like no one is talking to you, no one will talk to you. If you are willing to put something in, what can you get out of it? You can learn new things every day. You can meet new people. You can build your professional network. You can make new friends. You can think about things in new ways. You can have the power of innovative thinking, genius minds, and the spirit of entrepreneurship wash over you and rev your engines.
What can I get out of paid sites like Third Tribe or 501MissionPlace? I’ve seen these questions a lot, not just in regards to these two websites but in terms of books you have to buy, webinars you have to pay for, and more. I am not made of money. I like money. I like it best when it is in my pocket. However, one must sometimes look at money not as a collector’s item but as something you can use to buy important things. When people in the business world create an opportunity online and then ask you to pay for it, there is usually a pretty good reason for it. Even so, it’s easy to say, “Okay, what will my x dollars give me?” Well, again, that all depends on you (unless the resource you have invested in is just awful, which may happen, but seldom). What have I gotten out of the things I have paid for in this space? Information I wasn’t finding anywhere else. Contact with people whom I probably would not have been able to intersect with anywhere else. Networking opportunities. Education. A chance to broaden my horizons.
In order for this to work, you can’t go into these opportunities sitting on your hands. If you say, “Well, I have already invested money, now make it worth my time,” you will likely be disappointed. It would be like paying your tuition for college and then being angry that the professors don’t visit your dorm room to teach you. You have to go. You have to ask questions. You have to point people to the kind of information you are after. You have to determine for yourself what would make these opportunities worth that investment for you. You can get exactly what you want out of it because you mold the opportunity to yourself.
What can I get out of my job? I’ve talked about this before, but I think it bears repeating. When I first started working for my family’s marketing firm six years ago, I was not on the path that I had intended. I didn’t see how my background in Library Science and History could translate to what I was doing on a daily basis. I could have just said, “Well, I guess all of that is going down the drain. I can’t get what I want out of this.” Instead, I searched actively for ways to bring my experience and education into an unexpected realm. I feel that doing so enriched my ability to serve our clients. I hope that they feel the same way. This is not to pat myself on the back, but it’s just to say that I gave the time and thought to how I could get more out of my job, and I ended up getting and giving more than I could have anticipated.
“What can I get” is a lazy question
There, I said it.
In this space, in this world, “what can I get” signals to me that you are looking for people to come to you. Online especially, so much is being presented to you in terms of opportunities, in terms of free information, in terms of networking opportunities, that this question simply does not make sense to me.
If you do not think you can get your money’s worth out of a $45 webinar customized to people in your profession, then do not pay it. If you think you cannot get a $27/month value out of a site like 501MissionPlace, then don’t do it. But what I would advise, based on the extremely good experiences I’ve had here in this space, is that you invest. You invest money, but even more than that, you invest time, your brain power, and your effort.
What will you get for that? It could be the world at your fingertips. That’s a pretty good deal. Don’t you think?
1st image by Daniel Andres Forero. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/coolza
2nd Image by ilker. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ilco