The Best Business Advice I Received Summed Up in Two Words

I’m a member of a number of different groups on Facebook. Some of them are related to my professional work as a freelance writer, some of them relate to my career as a blogger, and some are simply connected to more personal areas of interest. Like Star Wars. Something that I’ve learned very quickly is that invaluable lessons can be gleaned from the most unexpected of places.

You might be struck by an epiphany in the middle of watching a romantic comedy or while out playing a game of basketball at the local community center. In this particular case, perhaps some of the best business advice that I have ever received in my life came from a Facebook group populated by over 1,000 so-called “dad bloggers.”

The vast majority of these guys have day jobs of some sort or another. Some are stay-at-home dads. Very few actually earn their primary income from their “dad” blogs and that’s okay. I enjoy the company and we discuss all sorts of issues as they relate to modern parenting and the evolving role (and perception) of dads in modern society.

So, what does this have to do with making money online or Internet marketing or influencer marketing or social media marketing or any of these sorts of things? It comes to a very simple but poignant piece of advice.

Just ask.

That’s it. Two simple words. In the context of our dad bloggers Facebook group, it’s almost become something of an inside joke, manifesting itself as the hashtag #justask to summarize what might otherwise take a little more to explain.

But those two words can easily apply to just about anything you might be thinking about doing personally or professionally. When you ask someone, the worst thing that can happen is they can say no. Or they might ignore you.

Absolutely, you have to go in with some semblance of being reasonable and you should have some consideration for what’s in it for them. John has talked about this before, how some readers have emailed him asking him to set up their site, create the sales funnel, start generating some commissions, and send the money all back to them. That’s unreasonable. What’s in it for John? Why would he do this for free?

You still have to work for your own success, but you also shouldn’t be afraid to make a bold “ask” if you think there is legitimate value for both parties involved. Do you think you’re too small of a fish to pitch a bigger company like Nike or Canon to sponsor some content on your blog? Think again. Just ask. You never know what might become of that relationship.

Did a brand approach you, expressing interest in you working for them on some collaboration, but they make no mention of any monetary compensation whatsoever? Guess what? You can’t pay for your rent and your utility bills in “exposure,” so just ask to get paid. Set out a reasonable rate and see what they say. The worst thing that can happen is they can say no… and you’d be in no worse of a position.

Are you genuinely interested in a new SEO or social media tool and you want to take it out for a beta test before it officially launches on the market? Just ask for early access, saying that you’ll share your early impressions with your audience. You might even be able to sneak in a good affiliate link or two to further bolster your efforts.

Just ask. Don’t be afraid of rejection. You will get turned down, to be sure, but every time that they come back with a yes, you’ve effectively moved yourself an extra step forward that you would have otherwise missed.

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4 thoughts on “The Best Business Advice I Received Summed Up in Two Words”

  1. Many thanks for best business advice the vast majority of these guys have day jobs of some sort or another….my society is my own business this advice is very useful and informative..

  2. Susan Velez says:

    Hi Michael,

    Great advice that many of us overlook. Most of us are afraid to ask because we’re afraid of being told no.

    That’s part of the business, we’re going to be told no. Unfortunately, we won’t always get a yes to our questions.

    However, we’ll never know unless we ask. We just have to be willing to put ourselves out there and be okay with the response.

    The great thing is that you might get a no today. If you ask later, you’ll probably get a yes. I’ve gotten so many no’s when I’ve approached people to guest post.

    However, if I’d have stopped asking after my first no, I would’ve never had any guest posts out there.

    Thanks for the reminder, that we just have to get up the courage to ask for what we want.

    Have a great day 🙂


  3. I am pretty blind to the fear of rejection Michael 😉 I just ask. Because only fear stops you from asking if someone wants to partner with you or join your opportunity or hire you or buy your stuff. I end all emails and posts with a clear cut call to action. It is only money. It is only an opportunity. Someone can decline. Or not respond. No big deal in either case.

    But it will be a big deal – and a bad one 🙂 – if you are so scared to ask, that you hide away from what you do and how it benefits folks. Between my video calls to action, post calls, podcast calls and hell, all calls LOL….I probably have 20,000 calls to action all over the web to buy 1 or 126 of my eBooks. I just ask. Because only good things can happen if you have full clarity in what you do, and fear not asking folks to be on board, and struggles will happen if you refuse to ask, because you cower to your fears.

  4. Love this post, John. Back in the days of selling security systems in my early 20s, this was the hardest thing for newbies to sales to get past. They couldn’t “just ask” and they couldn’t handle rejection.

    I learned early on that it’s all a numbers game and every “NO” you hear is one closer to that “YES”.

    “You might be struck by an epiphany in the middle of watching a romantic comedy or while out playing a game of basketball at the local community center.”

    I wanted to comment on this part of the post, too. It seems my best ideas, best blog post titles and nearly all my eBook titles come at the oddest times. I am constantly throwing things into the “notes app” on my phone or jotting it down on a restaurants napkin (even a cloth napkin once….hope that’s not stealing).

    Ideas pop into our creative minds as the oddest times and we have to be ready or we may miss out. Gotta have a notebook, phone or something with you nearly all the time as we all know how hard it is to convince ourselves to remember something for more than about five minutes.

    Thanks for the great post!


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