Building a trust circle is not difficult. These people are, most likely, already in your life and already helping you.
I stumbled into having a trust circle in 2012. I built relationships with people through social media, through attending conferences, and even wearing t-shirts for their businesses, and felt a certain level of trust with them. When the idea for BuyMyLastName appeared in my crazy marketing brain in August 2012, I knew exactly who to share it with first.
Building your own trust circle is not difficult
These people are, most likely, already in your life and helping you. I find it important to establish the relationship with them ahead of time and let these people know you’d like to be able to count on them for honest and speedy feedback.
My trust circle ranges from 6-12* people at any given time and not a single one of them knows they’re in a “trust circle.” They’re simply a group of individuals, who aren’t connected in any way, that I would feel comfortable emailing for advice.
*There’s no hard and fast rule about how big or small a trust circle needs to be. If you only have three people in your trust circle, that’s cool!
You don’t need to ask someone to be in your trust circle, that could be weird. Just ask them if they’d be willing to have you bounce ideas off them from time to time.
No one has ever said no to me when I ask them if I can reach out to them with ideas (probably because I always have some sort of rapport with these folks). When building your own trust circle, don’t harbor any ill-will toward anyone that might say “no” to an invitation to give you advice. Simply understand that some people are busier than others and you wouldn’t say “yes” to everyone that asked you to be in their trust circle.
What you should expect from your trust circle
I expect the folks in my trust circle to do a few things for me, but only because I’ve vetted these folks and know they can meet my expectations.
1. Give quick and helpful responses
This is honestly the most important thing for my trust circle. Sometimes you get an idea and want to move on it quickly. These people are an email or text message away and they always respond swiftly.
2. Offer brutally honest feedback
My mom and my grandmother are not in my trust circle (as silly as that sounds). This is because they love me to death and will support any crazy thing I come up with. I purposely don’t have close friends or family in my trust circle either. I have business acquaintances that I respect who have built businesses of their own. I want them to say, “Jason, this idea sucks. What about this…?”
3. Be more than just yes/no people
While I want quick and honest feedback, I also want more from their feedback than just a “yes” or a “no.” Your trust circle shouldn’t be people who are going to pat you on the back. They should be people who are going to massage your back for hours (not literally, well, okay maybe).
4. They have a diverse background (not in a “bubble”)
The people in my trust circle are best selling authors, entrepreneurs, artists, marketing coordinators, fashion designers, bloggers, and more. I love that they’re all different because they all offer a unique perspective. It’s also a plus when they all think an idea is awesome (that usually means the idea has wide-spread potential!).
Keep your expectations realistic with the folks in your trust circle
Notice I didn’t say anything about buying, sharing, or offering any type of fulfillment with the folks in my trust circle. Your trust circle is brainpower. It’s feedback. It’s a group that has a varied set of experience from which you can learn.
You may not fill up your trust circle right away and that’s okay. In all likelihood, you have three or four business acquaintances right now (maybe through friends of friends?) who would be willing to help you.
These people shouldn’t expect anything from you in return. Remember, this group is built completely on trust for you.
So, who’s in your trust circle?