As an entrepreneur, I launched my first start-up company at age 23, and in 2022, I helped founders earn more than $15 million in investment funding, bringing the total to nearly $50 million over the past five years.
3 Steps For Developing Your Pitch
1. Envision your life a year from now. Where do you want to be? What do you want your life to look like?
2. Find your “why,” or the meaning in what you do.
3. Take small and consistent actions to realize your goals and dreams.
Where I’m from in rural China, girls have a pre-determined path, but I knew that wasn’t the path for me. I never could have imagined the roads I would one day travel.
Where I was born and where I am today are two worlds apart, but what I discovered along the way is a universal truth. The truth is, if you don’t pitch for what you want in life, your path will never change.
Pitch for What You Want
One of my teammates would complain to me about his job. One afternoon he quit, leaving behind a nasty letter. My manager was surprised, as he had never known this employee to be unhappy. Instead of advocating for what he wanted, he kept his misery to himself.
How could he expect anything to change if he never pitched for what he wanted?
If you’re in a similar situation, you can start to articulate what you want and what your vision is. Not just when you’re at your breaking point, but on a regular cadence instead of one day saying “I’m done” and moving on. Create a dialogue with your manager or upper leadership in a safe and honest space.
It’s your responsibility to tell people what you want versus just hoping people will know. After all, how will they know if you don’t tell them? Communicate what you want and pitch for yourself.
Once, at a Fortune 500 company, a talented colleague was overlooked for promotions despite being a top performer. She never made her ambitions known.
I encouraged her to pitch herself for the promotion. With her vision clear, she drafted a plan and made the pitch to her manager. A few months later, she received the promotion.
How To Pitch for What You Want
The first step is to decide what you want. Next, go out there and tell the person, for instance your manager, what you want.
Once you have decided what you want and communicated that, the “how” can come quite easily. The how is the vision you have for yourself, but it’s imperative to keep that in line with how it can help your manager or your team. How does that alignment support your manager or department to grow?
Once you can articulate your vision, draft your plan and make the pitch, it’s only a matter of time before you have traction leading to the achievement of what you want.
In working with founders in their journey to grow and scale their businesses, I’ve helped them crystalize their vision and tell their stories in order to pitch for what they need. Once we get to the bottom of what they really want, it’s smooth sailing, whether pitching for investor sign-on, additional funding or new customers.
To make your pitch, decide what you want for your life. Will you sit back and let it happen, or will you grab life by the horns and pitch yourself?
Let’s design your pitch.
Step 1: Envision Your Life A Year From Now
Close your eyes and envision it. Maybe it is just a vague feeling or an unclear image. You do not need to have everything figured out. All you need is to trust your instincts and trust that you have the answer you are seeking. Deep down, everyone knows what they want. Sometimes seeing or visualizing it is a matter of giving ourselves permission to claim it.
Some questions you can ask yourself:
- Where do I want to be in one year?
- What do I want my life to look like?
- Where am I?
- What is around me?
- How can my business support this direction?
- What steps can I take today in order to get one step closer to that goal?
Whatever your vision, don’t let fear hold you back.
Step 2: Find Your Why
“Why” is where we find meaning in what we do. Whether your vision is picking up a new language, learning a new instrument or starting a side hustle, having a clear “why” will keep you going when times get tough.
As you think about what you want, ask yourself, “why is this important to me?” Continue to ask yourself that same question as you answer each question; this will help you drill down into your why’s deeply rooted meaning and purpose.
You can continue to reflect on why this is important and go back to your vision if you veer off course. Your why is what keeps you going when challenges pop up, and challenges and roadblocks will always cross your path. Your “why” will always ground you and remind you of the reasons and importance that you continue to move forward.
Step 3: When and where?
Major transformations are made possible through small and consistent actions.
What is one thing that you can commit to doing, today, this week and this month that will move you toward that vision?
It could be 30 minutes of research or calling on a friend to be your accountability partner. Big or small, every pitch you make will take you one step closer to getting what you want in life.
My Own Pitch Story
As a young girl, I can remember wondering what was beyond the mountains that surrounded my village. No one had access to transportation beyond the village so if you were born in the village, you stayed in the village. But I could feel there was something more out there for me.
One afternoon, I discovered an English cassette tape that would give me the opportunity to alter my path forever. In four months, I had learned enough to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam. Despite high scores, they weren’t high enough; the cassette tape had only taken me so far. So I decided to take the Graduate Record Exam. Besides studying on my own for the exam, I had to get a passport to take the test in Malaysia, the closest country offering it.
My first trip to Malaysia was canceled; I didn’t have the visa needed to travel. The second time, I passed the GRE with a nearly perfect score and was on my way to realizing my American dream. This was never the path a girl from rural China was supposed to take. Even though it didn’t come easy, I kept pitching my story to the universe. When I got shut down, I pitched harder.
I realized if you don’t pitch for what you want in life, it’s never going to happen.
So, what is your pitch? Declare it to the universe and watch it unfold. Because if not now, when, and if not you, who?