In 2013, my company produced almost $7 million in annual revenue. That's almost $20,000 in sales each day. We had almost 40 employees and a highly motivated and engaged following of consumers.
But just two and half years prior, it was only an idea. I remember storming into the room of my good friend (and roommate at the time). I looked him in the eye, shared my idea, and he responded with, “I'm in!”
Looking back, I never realized how important his willingness to follow me really was. He was in his last year of college to become a civil engineer and had no previous plans to help a friend start a new business venture.
And of all the pivotal moments on our journey, I now understand his decision was the true catalyst for Sevenly's success. The video below will explain what I mean.
So if you're a lone nut (entrepreneur or dreamer), you need to remember a few important things:
1. Your first follower is incredibly important. You must nurture this person. Offer them good pay, or give them stock in the company, and give them public praise often. They must feel like a partner or an equal in a bigger mission, not just a follower of you.
2. Be Easy To Follow. Your vision must be clear, concise and not too outrageous. You must have integrity and not stretch the boundaries of team member's comfort zones. They are still learning if your vision is even worth their time.
3. Your first follower must show new followers how to follow. My COO (and roommate) did an incredible job of backing my vision. If he disagreed, he would speak up (privately) and more times than not, we would find a solution. But it was his public calmness in times of adversity that brought peace to the other team members.
Looking back, I wasn't the best lone nut. I missed a few of these lessons on the road. Luckily, my first follower was capable of pushing through without them. He was the true brave leader in my story.
Who's your first follower? Are you nurturing them, caring for them, and making them feel equal? Let me know in the comments below.