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When reaching your goals in life, you need other people. Even if you are not in it for the money, we need other people for domestic comfort, companionship, etc. When interacting with others, it is essential to have some level of social skills. This includes listening, speaking and having the ability to read body language. Having these skills is especially important as an entrepreneur.
When I was 15-16 years old, I went to create my first business once my YouTube channel got demonetized. This business was a social media marketing agency. To acquire customers, I had to put myself out there.
This includes making lots of cold calls, attending networking events where everyone was over 30 and putting myself in many social situations far out of my comfort zone. Here are the three steps I took to build my social skills as an entrepreneur:
Related: 5 Social Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Master
1. Consuming content
The first step I took for building my social skills at 15-16 years old was consuming content.
The first business-related book I ever read was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. This book completely changed my view of the world and further expanded my interest in self-development books. Some of the books I read during this one-year phase that improved my social skills were:
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
How to Develop Self-Confidence & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life by John McCain
All these books gave me a deep insight into how to communicate with others for various purposes. The common theme among all these books was to listen, ask questions and focus more on the other person.
Whenever I didn’t have time to read books, I would tap into audiobooks, short videos and podcasts. Consuming content through these alternate mediums allowed me to learn and build my social skills while busy doing other things.
My book phase lasted for precisely one year. I read over 56 books, and eventually, I got tired of reading them because some of the information was clashing against each other.
Don’t get me wrong. Consuming content is good, but you don’t want to consume too much. Eventually, you need to put yourself out there and apply what you are learning. This brings me to my next point of putting yourself out there.
Related: 4 Important Social Skills You Need to Succeed at Work
2. Putting yourself out there
The best teacher of reality is reality. No book, video or class can teach as well as reality can. When I was in high school, I was constantly putting myself out there.
I would skip school and show up to networking events in downtown Atlanta. I was always the youngest person in the room when I showed up. The first couple of times was terrifying, but eventually, I got used to it.
When I moved out of my parents’ house, I made it a priority to plan my day outside of the house. Doing this made it easier to make friends and develop my social skills. Putting yourself out there sounds quite intimidating, especially when it comes to getting rejected.
Related: 4 Tips to Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone and Living Your Dream Life
3. Don’t be afraid of rejection
Let’s be honest. Getting rejected sucks. No one likes the feeling of hearing “no.” I used to be the worst at handling rejection until I started cold calling. The first ten times of getting hung up on did not feel good, but after a while, you begin to realize that rejection isn’t as bad as it sounds.
I once set a goal to meet two people a day. Throughout that journey, I quickly realized that not everyone wanted to talk to me. As far as a reason, it wasn’t because they didn’t like me or anything like that. It was often bad timing. Maybe they:
This experience shifted my mindset that rejection is just bad timing, and that mindset change helped me stop taking rejection personally.
It doesn’t matter if you are a business owner, entrepreneur or someone just going through school. We need all need each other to reach our goals. Trying to make it on your own is very hard and often may take a lot more time, energy and money.
Take the time to learn basic social skills, and polish them through daily practice. You will make mistakes early on, but eventually, your hard work will pay massive dividends.