Reaching success through osmosis

You become like those around you

They say that you become the average of the five people that you hang around the most.

I think about this a lot - though I loosen it up a bit and say it’s not limited to 5, nor do they necessarily have to be the people you spend all your time with.

Surround yourself with the right people

In 2016, after many years of building apps that went nowhere, I decided to do something selfish. I started a podcast with the same name as my current newsletter, The SaaS Bootstrapper, where I interviewed founders who were having the success I was striving for.

I reached out to people I admired and asked if they’d be on my podcast.

Most of them said yes.

I had people like:

This was a somewhat selfish endeavor because it was a way for me to pick the brains of all these people that I wanted to talk to. I knew that if I just reached out and asked if they’d hop on a video call with me one-on-one, chances were slim they’d accept.

So instead, I asked if they’d be willing to be on my podcast. This gave them an incentive and was therefore an easier way for me to get access to their brains.

Osmosis does its work

It wasn’t long after I started that podcast that one of my apps started to take off (Castanet, a LinkedIn outreach tool).

I attribute the success of that app to several things, one of which was the podcast. More specifically, being around that energy, learning from them, and seeing that while they were all incredibly smart, they didn’t necessarily have any skills or talents that I didn’t have or couldn’t learn along the way.

This gave me a lot of confidence and fueled my fire, and before long, I was one of “them.”

The unfortunate part of my app doing well was that after a while I didn’t have the capacity for the podcast anymore and needed to shut it down. In many ways, I wish I hadn’t done that, but… tradeoffs.

Regardless - especially for those just starting out - immersing yourself in the energy of people on the same path as you is invaluable and will upgrade you in more ways than you know.

Continue building relationships

At each progressive stage in my journey, I make sure to find ways to surround myself with those in different places on the same journey. For example, yesterday I got back from my fourth MicroConf. This time in Lisbon, Portugal.

I’ve now attended two in the U.S. and two in Europe.

Something about this one topped them all.

I think it was a combination of the people and my mindset.

Like many of us, I can have a hard time inserting myself into groups of people I don’t know.

It certainly helped seeing familiar faces from last year’s conference in Malta. With them, we picked right up where we left off.

Whenever I surround myself with people with generally the same goals as me, I grow from it.

There is something about being around that energy.

You absorb it and it becomes a part of you.

You grow from it in ways that you aren’t consciously aware of.

I believe this can be done both in person but also online.

In-person is always preferable, of course, but I’ve also found my people on Twitter and you can get similar energy from that if you put the effort into building relationships there.

You can also join communities or just reach out to people you admire. You can join a mastermind, online cohorts, or communities like Small Bets or In person, you can attend conferences and meetups.

Do whatever works for you, but I promise if you push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn by osmosis, it’ll quickly give you an upgrade, plus you’ll make new friends along the way.

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