I was dropping off my son at school one morning and as usual, saying hello to other parents and teachers who I knew. Among those was a father whose son was in my son’s class. We started chatting and he said he spotted one of my restaurant reviews on Google Maps while planning for a dinner party. We both laughed, then segued into talking about our work. When he learned what I was doing, he asked, “Hey, I’m looking for someone to help me with this project. Are you interested?”
“Really?” I thought. That was an actual job offer. And how did I get it? Via a restaurant review. Neat!
I have few good habits and one of those habits is providing feedback. I like to provide useful and actionable feedback to people as well as to businesses where I can.
One way I give feedback is through reviews on Google Maps. Almost every time I visit a cafe or a restaurant, I leave a review. Because of this habit, I’ve got nearly 600 reviews on Google and over 2500 photos. Google says there are over 47 million views of my photos… though I have no idea what that actually means. I wish they’d pay me a cent for each view, or better yet, a dollar. 🙂
These reviews didn’t happen in a day or even a year. I’ve been writing reviews for nearly ten years. And I do it simply because I enjoy writing them.
This job offer was not the first time that my reviews rewarded me. I’ve had other opportunities before this one. Some were quite small, such as 2 TB of free space on Google Drive for free or tote bags… but some more substantial, like a chance to visit California.
However, this post is more about the lessons that we can learn from our experiences than a chance encounter with an acquaintance and a job offer.
Here are the lessons that this experience taught me.
Consistency pays dividends. Sometimes you have to keep doing the same thing for years without any expectation of a reward. The growers of Chinese bamboo know that. For five years, they water and fertilize a plant and see nothing. After 5 years, the plant grows to 90 feet in five weeks. In my case, I was doing reviews consistently without expecting a reward.
Enjoy what you do. Again, doing what you enjoy can be rewarding. At the very least, it can bring a sense of satisfaction. For me, leaving online reviews for businesses is a stress buster and a hobby. I get excited when a business owner responds.
Then, sharing pictures of something I cherish, like a good meal or a good experience at a theme park, feels good. I don’t think I would enjoy writing business reviews for the sake of it, and I’m sure I’d get super bored very quickly if that happens. So, do what you enjoy.
Let others know of your interests. I enjoy writing business reviews and I love telling people about it. Actually, I’ve been told that I come across like an excitable child when I share this hobby of mine with others.
Any hobby worth talking about must be talked about. People like to know interesting things about others and love to share the interesting things they do. By sharing your interests, you build connections and grow your network. And a good network is rewarding in many ways.
Last, but not the least:
Learn to give and receive feedback. I learned about the importance of feedback from Gerry Weinberg, the famous computer scientist and author. His book, “What did you say? Art of giving and receiving feedback” is fantastic.
Good feedback is always valuable. It is equally valuable to the giver as well as to the receiver. In fact, giving feedback is more difficult than receiving it, because it says a lot about the giver.
I hope the lessons I learned were somewhat useful for you too. Did you have any similar experience to share? Let me know as that would be great to hear. And please don’t hesitate to pass on any feedback or suggestions with me.