Relationships Are The Key To Online Success – Here’s How You Make Them


You will never be successful online by locking yourself away and working independently on your masterpiece. Here’s why you need to foster mutually beneficial business relationships online:

  • you promote each other’s content
  • you collaborate on ventures together
  • you benefit from each other’s advice
  • … it’s a cure for entrepreneurial loneliness

The mistake most people make is to build too many relationships. They end up being shallow.

Concentrate on only a few people, with exactly the same passions and on a similar path as you

For example, you may think someone like Pat Flynn, someone who’s passionate about helping people become successful entrepreneurs, is someone who shares your passions. Broadly speaking, yes. But Pat Flynn has dozens of people trying to connect with him everyday, no doubt.

Find people who share exactly your passions and who are at a similar point of the journey as you are. You will know who they are when you meet them. Keep them small in number.

They may be a little further along the journey than you or not as far – it doesn’t matter. Don’t just chase the successful ones.

Use email to communicate with them

Sure, the relationship may be instigated through blog commenting or social media but the conversation should be moved on to a more “intimate” medium as soon as possible. This can be messaging on Facebook, Skype or, my favorite, email. Even better, move the conversation offline to a face-to-face meeting as soon as possible, if geography permits.

Don’t be an ask-hole

Communicate by discussing your shared interests. Don’t ask multiple questions and not act on the answers. If you do this you are not only wasting someone’s time but you are more likely to rub them up the wrong way. Not a great way to start a win-win relationship.

Help people

The best way to create win-win relationships is to help people. Help people with no expectation of gain.

“Say my name, say my name”

This should be a no-brainer but so many people get this wrong. If you’re addressing someone online, call them by their preferred name. So say, “Hello John”, don’t start emails with just “Hello” – and don’t get their name wrong.


How do you cement a great relationship? You spend time in quality conversation with someone. This is exactly what happens when you host a podcast.

Do you want to talk for 30 minutes to dozens of thought leaders within your field of expertise? Don’t we all? This is want you can do. Setting up a podcast will benefit two ways: you will receive instant credibility by being the interviewee and you can forge relationships with the interviewees.

Meet face-to-face

The best way to foster these win-win relationships is by meeting people offline rather than online. Alas, geography comes into it and we can’t all go to New Media Expo. But we have the next best thing

It doesn’t matter where you live, you should at least be able to find a general business meetup in your area. Go there and meet people. Some of my best contacts from the last two years have been through Meetup. If you can’t find one, set up your own meetup group in your area.

You can do it

You can build a small group of professionals around you who are motivated to help each other succeed. It’s all about being honest in your interactions.

Did this help you? If so, please share!

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  1. says

    Hi Rob,

    What a great advice! :)

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Although I find Pat Flynn a great example to all of us, I don’t think engagement with him will even come close since everyone wants to talk to him. And so find someone who is in the same path and niche with you, who you can engage with and develop a better relationship.

    On this Video Blogging Challenge group I have been involve with, my relationship with others who are in the same path with me has been incredibly wonderful and productive.

    Meet-up is another one to have engagement with. I mean nothing beats face-to-face. During the time I have been going to eWomen Network and Like-Minded Professionals, I have met a lot of client leads…which I still need to follow up. Due to lack of transportation this put on hold in the back burner but know that we have a 3rd car I will be able to follow up my offline business!

    Thanks for the great advice, Rob. As always you’re the best!


    • says

      Hi Angela, that video blogging challenge reminds me of something else you can do. You can do a survey of people in your niche which is another excellent excuse to speak to them and start a relationship. That eWomen Network sounds really good as well.

  2. says

    Hey Rob,

    I made it, told ya I’d be by.

    I LOVE this topic and you’re so so so right. I shared a tale last year on a blog post about making those connections and how it’s never a waste of your time. You know it’s like when someone starts visiting your blog and you’re trying to make a connection with them but in the back of your mind you’re thinking this person isn’t my target audience and they’ll never buy from me. We all are geared to have those thoughts because none of us want to outwardly waste our time right!

    So I connected with someone like that several years back and I thought she knows everything I’m sharing already. But the more we chatted and yes we moved it to email and then we moved it to Google Hangout. We are now mastermind buddies and have been meeting weekly for almost three years. We hold each other accountable, we help each other out when needed and I really feel like she’s become a good friend I SO needed at that time.

    When you’re doing things online you need those connections. Granted she’s not my only one either so find those groups of people who you can have those connections with and watch them take off and grow. It’s truly an amazing and beautiful thing.

    Great share Rob, thanks for bringing this up. Love it!

    Have a great weekend and keep these awesome suggestions coming. 😉


    • says

      Hey, Adrienne, what a pleasure to have you pop by! Good to hear that story. And, true to point out that you should always nurture these relationships if they feel right to you. You never know what may come of them. If you’re both genuine about helping each other, then only good will come of it. Masterminds are awesome too. Thank you, and you have a good weekend too. :)

  3. says

    great advice Rob, for years I’ve been slaving away in isolation. Then my main client wound down, this forced me to market/seo/meet people, I’m having a great time and meeting lots of people.

  4. says

    Rob, you are so right. Connections with other like minded people are so important particularly in the blogging world. I agree that you should concentrate with only a few although more liked minded people you connect with the better it is. There are some people (like yourself) who are like gold and if you ask a favour like a tweet or review or something else then they do it for you. Adrienne who left a comment is one of them. I have never met these people offline but would love to. Next time I am in London will message you.

    • says

      Thank you for the comment, Shalu. It would be great to meet you and all these fantastic people I bump into online. One day we will! I don’t know if is any good in India but it’s excellent for finding like-minded groups in the UK. :)

  5. says

    Hello Rob; I followed you here from a mention on google plus by one of my wonderful friends adrienne smith. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Knowing Adrienne I am all about building relationships. You did say one thing that I really loved that is don’t just go after those farther along than you but also each out to some a bit behind you on the path. this fits in with my belief about blogging that you can never learn it all. If you think you have, the online landscape will change on you. So it has to be a balance of learning and teaching thus the name for my new blog. I have followed most of your suggestions here. I must admit that most of my collaborative works were other people’s ideas. :) I’m thankful for them and hope to have more chances to work with other bloggers and podcasters in the future. look forward to your future posts. Take care, max

    • says

      Thank you for your comment, Max. As I say, you never know what these relationships will bring and, for you, it was collaborations. That’s great! And, another thing about forming relationships with those who are behind you on the path is that one day they might be ahead of you on another path and can help you. You never know what’s going to happen so that’s why, as you say, we should all learn and teach. :) Awesome!

  6. says

    Hi Rob,

    This is great stuff and the reality for online success.

    I hate the ‘ask-holes’ and probably give them more time than I should.

    Like you said ‘helping’ gives you a great advanced too – ‘Helping’ is my main technique to starting relationships. Who doesn’t want valuable, free, help?


    • says

      Hey, Naomi, thanks for stopping by. Indeed, we all probably spend too much time on “ask-holes” but it’s not the end of the world and is a necessary by-product of being genuinely helpful. Thanks for your comment. :)

  7. says

    But the more we chatted and yes we moved it to email and then we moved it to Google Hangout. We are now mastermind buddies and have been meeting weekly for almost three years. We hold each other accountable, we help each other out when needed and I really feel like she’s become a good friend I SO needed at that time.

  8. says

    Hi Rob,

    First time here :) and I stumbled upon this article on relationship. For relationship building is the safe bet whether I succeed or not. My good relation might lift me up, or might not. Did I lose than? No, because I still have these 1, 2 or 3 people who are making me feel worth doing what I do. As someone told me once “If there is only one writers to your blog, you should keep writing for him”.

    Good day!

    • says

      Hello Ion, Good to hear from you and welcome to the site. I agree, there may be negativity but the overall result of relationships in business will be positive. And, I quite agree, if you have one reader you should keep writing. :)

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