5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned Whilst Building Adzvice
I was so honoured to have been invited to speak along the likes of Jay, (co-founder of Curlture), Ronke Lawal (founder of Ariatu PR) and Tatenda Nyamande, (founder of ubuntugraphy), all of whom are people I’ve admired from afar. There was one issue though that caused me to (in normal Ade fashion), stress unnecessarily over- what the hell was I going to talk about?!
Choosing the right topic
After consulting with my nearest and dearest (shout out Yemz and Stelle), I decided on sharing 5 of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned whilst building Adzvice. Not only did I manage to get over my nerves and deliver the talk, people actually took notes and asked questions. I thought it would be only right that I share a much more polished version of that talk with you, hence why we’re here.
These 5 things can be applied to many facets of life. Whether you’re building a brand, launching a blog or just trying to get yourself out there a bit more, I’m hoping you’ll take something from this post.
1. Don’t fear change
I’ve been blogging off and on for over 6 years (inconsistently would be putting it nicely). I’ve started and scrapped many blogs during that time.
However, one common theme with all of these was the desire to share the little knowledge I had picked up along the way on a number of topics. Sharing knowledge with someone and having them really appreciate it has always brought me great joy. Despite that, I never could find the right platform to build what eventually blossomed into Adzvice.
That annoyance which I assure you is a very uncomfortable feeling is actually a great thing. Nothing revolutionary ever came from being comfortable. Cavemen were not sitting back feeling toasty and warm when they discovered fire. People didn’t just get bored of smelling horse shit before cars came into mass production. At the other side of discomfort is a fantastic innovation - welcome that feeling, it means you want better than your current and that acknowledgement is a sign of great character.
"Keep throwing things against the wall, eventually something will stick."
2. Always seek out synergies
Look for people who add real value. Synergy happens when the combined result of the combination is greater than the individual parts. Connect with the right people and you can produce things that none of you would have been able to alone.
When building something, we can often overlook the power of personal networks. I am blessed to be able to say that some of my biggest inspirations happen to be some of my closest friends. I wouldn’t have been able to build Adzvice without their involvement, support and recommendations.
I see it all too often. People forget the fact that not only can social media sites be great for posting funny memes and videos, you can also use social networks to network! The clue is in the name.
The person who started Uber found his partner through Twitter and now that company is worth around $6.5 billion. I met every member of the Adzvice team through Twitter. The majority of our amazing contributors were people I’ve connected with on Twitter or Instagram.
A bi-product of synergising with like-minded people is you will receive organic support. By this I mean you can avoid the common pitfall that so many content creators and founders find themselves in - expecting support from loved ones as an obligation.
Personally, as soon as I accepted the fact that my friends in most instances are not my customers or necessarily invested in all the things I’m passionate about, I became much happier. I discussed this theme with Dele, co-host of Guess What Podcast and Misha, co-founder Toast2YoungLDN on episode 11 of our podcast.
Get your dose of support from people who’ve expressed a view or perspective aligned with yours and leave your social and family ties as just that. Of course, if you have supportive friends and family naturally then that’s amazing but I don’t think you should bank on it.
A lot of people throw around the word collaboration carelessly and it does my head in. The next time someone or a brand offers you a collaboration, ask yourself this key question:
“Are there mutual benefits?”
If the answer to the above is no then do not call it a collaboration. A collaboration is similar to a relationship and if it’s one-sided it's destined to fail or leave 1 of you hurt at the very least. If one party is being used, that party should be okay with that and the terms of the agreement should be understood clearly - don’t play yourself!
Do your values/brand align?
Before jumping into a collaboration (or relationship for that matter), do your research! What are their values? What is their branding like? Have they got a good rep? Essentially, you need to know that you do not have conflicting interests or perspectives that could cause embarrassment (or even more serious problems) further down the line.
4. Utilise (but never use) people’s skills and interests
Knowing when you should utilise (and by this I mean not simply taking advantage of) others’ abilities is such a major key.
I used to get frustrated at my team for not always showing the same level of enjoyment or desire for things that I did when it came to Adzvice. I really wanted to be that diplomatic team leader that made sure everyone got involved in everything and we’d all equally contribute to everything, hold hands around a campfire and sing Kumbaya.
After speaking to my team properly, I realised that I had missed a key step in team building. I hadn’t taken the time to understand what everyone’s unique set of strengths and interests were. The team had no roles, which meant there was no real ownership. I was expecting things to happen but didn't create the right conditions for success.
I can say all this with a smile because once I had realised this, it was much easier to go move forward. Empowered with clear job roles aligned to each of our interests and skills, the team has gone from strength to strength.
DIY vs Specialists
I’ve become quite nifty at building and designing websites due to all my years of blogging and creating content. This skill came out of necessity; I didn’t have the money, time or quite simply I didn’t really know what I wanted so it made sense to learn how.
However, you have to know what your limitations are too. If there are people out there who are specialists in areas that you need help in, don’t shy away from purchasing their services and also supporting them. Whilst I designed the Adzvice website, the logo concept, design and colour scheme was commissioned by a friend’s agency, StartTeck.
5. Take time
Netflix launched in 1997. I repeat, Netflix launched in 1997. Greatness really cannot be rushed and sometimes, you can have the right idea but the timing just isn’t right.
Remember these 5 P’s: Proper planning prevents poor performance
Rushing to get something done shows in the final product. Put some 'respek' on your brand name and give it the justice it deserves. Make sure you’ve tested out your concept on strangers, identified the long-term vision and understand how you can monetise in the medium to long-term (if not from the start).
Apparently, the average attention span is just 8 seconds! You combine this with these nonsense algorithms that all the social media sites now use and you have a major challenge. Things change so quickly and our attention fades all the time. To me, it makes much more sense to make sure that you use your 8 seconds wisely and make the maximum impact you can. You want to make sure that if someone only gives you 8 seconds of their time, you’ve put your best foot forward.
Of course, and in line with my earlier point, you shouldn’t fear change later on but you should in the moment you launch, be confident that you’ve given it your all.
Whose deadline is it anyway?
If you’re the person creating the content or launching the brand, you are ultimately in charge of your own timings. Do not be a slave to self-imposed deadlines if it means your brand will be half-assed. See thread below for my thoughts on this.
Anyone working on something & feeling like you're taking too long? Unless you're just dilly dallying you shouldn't feel bad tbh, heres why..— 💥Adé Akins | PUSH (@ImAdeAkins) November 8, 2016
Before you go...
I hope you’ve taken something useful from my ramblings. I could probably have added double the amount of lessons learned but I’ve already abused your 8 seconds attention span.
If you haven’t noticed from our promotion on the site and on social media, we have an epic event coming up on the 29th July - Adzvice Presents: PUSH. The first in a series of events aimed to promote development of you, your brand and your mind.
Make sure to grab your tickets soon as I genuinely know it will be an amazing experience. Click the flyer to find out more.