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.
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.
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 Meetup.com.
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.