The way you value people, and the way people value you, isn’t perfectly measurable. However, we can see trends that occur between different types of people.
Many entrepreneurs, including myself, believe that the people we spend the most time around will dictate who we are as people. It was perhaps best described by entrepreneur Jim Rohn, who stated that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. While the math may not be perfect, the idea is pretty clear. We pick up the habits, thoughts and actions of those we spend time with. If we surround ourselves with hard workers, we tend to pick up their hard-working ethic.
Conversely, the people we spend the most time with are picking up habits from us. If we are hard workers, people will naturally want to keep us close. The closer you look, the more you’ll see that you’re picking up the habits of those close to you -- and they’re picking up yours.
While we may not be the average of just five people, we are an average of our circle of influence. The more successful people we know, the more likely we are to be successful ourselves. I like to measure the value of people within your circle of influence with something I call social currency. Social currency is your value, and it can mean everything if you’re striving to be an entrepreneur.
Social currency isn’t a label that says one person is better than another. Instead, it represents your value to the world. By developing your social currency, you can move closer to living the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Developing your brand
Entrepreneurs understand the importance of branding. But we can brand much more than a business or an idea. Everybody is their own brand, and they’re trying to sell themselves to other people. We tend to attract certain types of people based on our brand, and we can influence our own value to others by the way we brand ourselves.
There are plenty of ways to develop your brand, but the easiest might be by changing your circle of influence. This can develop your brand in three separate ways.
The first is based on how you interact with others. As you surround yourself with people who live the entrepreneurial lifestyle, you’ll begin to get associated with certain people, projects, ideas, etc. If people know you’re spending time with successful entrepreneurs, it will gradually change the way they view your personal brand.
The second is based on your subconscious development. The more time you spend around entrepreneurs, the more likely you are to pick up on the subtleties that make them unique. You will then tend to act similarly, and this will help fuel your entrepreneurial spirit. Others will see this, and it will be represented in the way you brand yourself.
The third is through content, an idea that I’ll explain more in-depth at a later time.
Your circle of influence
Your circle of influence is going to be the best way to increase your social currency. The better the quality of your circle of influence, the more social currency you’ll command.
When you think about your circle of influence, who is in it and what you want it to look like, remember that there’s more to a circle of influence than other people. You’ll be responsible for creating a strong circle, and people will be hesitant to join your circle of influence if you aren’t holding yourself to high standards.
If you want to expand your circle, expand yourself. Don’t wait to be surrounded by people who will gradually improve you because of association. You have to start somewhere, and you need to do some of it on your own.
Think about what your current value is, and ask yourself this -- would you want to keep you close? The entrepreneurial lifestyle doesn’t happen just out of the blue. You need to work hard to get anywhere, even if your circle of influence offers you the connections you need.
Build yourself as an individual. Think about what sets you apart from others, and begin to develop that. Of course, there are plenty of other steps to take after this, but this is the first step if you plan on getting anywhere as an entrepreneur.
The next step
Social currency is an idea that doesn’t start and end with your circle of influence. Your social currency is going to be constantly changing, and it requires constant attention if you want to try and maximize your value.
At the same time, your circle of influence isn’t going to be the only way you can change your social currency. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to be much bigger than the people you know. Others will want to see what you’ve done, how you sell yourself and what you can do for them before they buy in.
A big factor that determines your social currency is the content you produce. Content can be just about anything, from a business you create to a blog post you write. The better the content you produce, the more people are going to respond to you. This, in my opinion, is the real key to growing your social currency.
Making sure you’re developing the right content to grow your social currency isn’t an easy task. Just like the path to entrepreneurship, it takes hard work, time and dedication. However, those who are able to commit themselves will expand their own value, and they’ll reap the benefits through the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.