This year I’ve been focusing on relationship building for my business.
And in some ways, it felt like the first day of high school where 75% of the school district is coming together for the first time.
- Will they like me?
- Will I be cool enough to hang out with the people that are like me?
- Will I be called out for my clothes by the popular crowd and be made fun of?
But that was ALL in my head!
The online communities I participate in and love hanging out in were not like that when I started reaching out to build relationships.
They were supportive, helpful and caring. And I’ve met some truly amazing women entrepreneurs by networking online.
In case you were a little like me and wondering what the heck kind of relationships you were supposed to be building or COULD build outside of straight friends and clients here are some suggestions.
Look for opportunities to collaborate
- biz besties
- support community
- brand ambassadors
Create meaningful relationships
How do you create meaningful relationships? It may sound crazy but aren’t all relationships meaningful?
Some are and some aren’t. Not every person you meet is going to be a biz bestie, new clients, or lifelong friend. But they are out there and the trick is to build relationships based on meaning rather than fluff!
Relationship building sounds nice but just how the heck do you do it? And how do you make intentional meaningful relationships online??
I know when I set out to meet people online I just sat there staring into the abyss that can be Facebook. There was no strategy, no plan, no idea how to even get started. I wanted to connect with people but it felt like a club I needed an invite to in order to start building relationships.
From the outside, it looked like everybody already had a friend. Where the heck was I going to fit in getting to know people online that I’ve never met in person (this was my only experience in friend making up until I decided to get to know other online business owners).
- engage with other people in the group and really check out their content
- share their content, people remember who helped them out
- reach out and connect over a coffee chat
Being genuine in the online communities will help you stand out and will show people that you are really interested in getting to know them…not just trying to book you a client.
Networking online or building relationships?
Networking had me STUCK with building relationships.
Building relationships is the new word for networking! And why the heck wasn’t it the original word? It’s so much less pressure at least to me to focus on building relationships.
I let the word networking stop me. It sounded so formal and scary…and it didn’t feel like it applied to MY business.
I wasn’t corporate, yes I was professional but not in the sense that I got up every morning and put on a suit and heels. I was still just me. I wanted to connect but networking didn’t feel right.
So I let myself get stuck here, for a long time. Worried that I would mess it up, worried that I wouldn’t form any real connections. I’ve been to “networking” events before where it felt like everyone was just trying to sell to you rather than build any kind of connection with you.
I didn’t find those fun at all… so what was I going to do?
- Find the right channels for you and your business. Experiment and try new things.
- Balance asking and answering questions. Serving and getting help is huge to connecting with people in the online space.
- Take advantage of pitching your product/services, when appropriate, so people can connect your value content to what services you provide.
- Check in on the group/channels regularly. It doesn’t have to be an all day thing but popping in only once in a while won’t build recognition for you in that group. You need to be showing up consistently
What is your #1 struggle with building relationships online? Let me know below!
Nurture your relationships
What the Sims taught me about relationships that have stuck with me!
I don’t know if you ever played the Sims but I got one of the most valuable pieces of advice on relationships. “Friendships are like plants. If you don’t care for them, they wither and die”
Boy was this an ah-ha moment!
Over time and interactions, you build relationships whether online or in person. And while you don’t loose “friend status” as quickly in real life as you do in the sims your relationships can suffer if you don’t nurture them and love on them.
Then you get that little dialog box that reminds you how terrible of a friend you’ve been to John Sim and how you let him down….terrible feeling even when they are computer generated people.
But this one small piece of the game really drove it home how important nurturing your relationships really is.
Yes, you will have that friend who you can pick up with like not a day has passed, but most relationships need a little love and attention along the way.
- Follow up
- Support others with an open heart
- Keep in touch
It doesn’t need to take a lot of time or cause your whole schedule to get moved around, just take a few minutes a day or a bigger chunk once a week and nurture your relationships!
You never know what will come of your few minutes nurturing, I’ve had clients book new services, collaborations grow from a quick message, and great friendships come from these few minutes I spend nurturing.
Connecting not collecting
It’s really about connecting not collecting
I was writing out my version of success the other day, an exercise my coach encouraged me to do, and I came across this nugget in my journaling.
My version of success is about connecting with people and not just collecting numbers.
When you start out in the online world with your business, blog or even personal social media profiles you get sucked into the numbers game very quickly.
It seems like everyone is talking about traffic, pageviews, followers, leads and growing those numbers. And you get caught up as well in trying to make your numbers more…it’s all about the number.
But it isn’t.
It’s about creating real genuine connections with people even if you have never met them face to face. And that is the kind of relationships I want in my business.
Those are the kinds of relationships I want people to grow with me. I don’t want anyone to feel like a number nor do I want to feel like just another number on someone’s list.
So today, my hope is that you are able to focus a little less on the number and focus on the people side of growing your business.
How can you create a deeper connection? Who can you reach out to and pay a compliment to? Who can you schedule a coffee chat with?
Now it’s your turn!
I’d love to hear your comments on relationship building! What was your biggest takeaway from this article?
Do you struggle with relationship building like I did?
If you are saying yes then I have an AMAZING free resource for you. After months of experimenting and making notes on my relationships building process, I put together a daily guide of things that you can do to help build relationships online for your business.
To get this free guide fill out the form below!