Here are some of the things I think that matter most when building a business that stands the test of time (in no particular order):
For me, these combined create a business that is profitable, that I'm proud of and that rewards me financially over and over again.
Today I wanted to talk about relationships with you, the first item.
When I first got online I just wanted to sell soap from my website. I figured I'd just put up a website, sell to strangers on the internet and go about my daily life.
But then I started looking for help and I found these online communities of people in forums who became my friends (long before Facebook).
I had no idea at the time how very important and valuable those friendships would be to my long-term success!
You've heard it before that people do business they KNOW, LIKE & TRUST. That's not just a catchy thing to say, it's TRUE. And if you're trying to get people to know, like and trust you at the time you are launching your program then you are making your work multiple times harder than it needs to be and you're risking it being unauthentic and ineffective.
Let me be really clear on what I mean and how relationships help your business. I'm going to give you the steps to take to make relationship building a business task:
- Step 1: Connect with people you like and have something in common.
- Step 2: Build an actual, real, beneficial relationship with them.
- Step 3: Offer ways to work together when it makes sense.
Let's break this down a bit more:
Step 1: Connect with people you like
Let me give you examples:
- I became friends with Charlotte Caunter of HealthShero last year when I joined Juice Plus and ever since I've connected with her as I asked her questions to grow my business. I thought she was awesome and she says she thinks I'm awesome so then we met up to go to events and we took our kids to hang out on the beach. She's my FRIEND. My BFF as Ella calls her lol! And now we know when they're an opportunity that fits for us both to work together, either of us can reach out.
- I met Cindy Bidar of CindyBidar.com on one of the original forums I joined back in 2005 and since then I've hired her, we've promoted each others products countless times as affiliates and we've been accountability partners for YEARS. It's been amazing to grow our businesses together and that's what friends who've built a relationship do.
- Tawnya Sutherland of VANetworking and I met many years ago when I was a Virtual Assistant and we've partnered together many times. I've been a speaker at her training, VA Viruosos, more than anyone else as of the last event and we've both promoted each other as affiliates.
That initial connection to building relationships is really as simple as find a human you like and start talking to them. You can see where it goes from there. Don't push it, let it develop naturally or not. Keep repeating this! You need to build many relationships so that you have opportunities that are mutually beneficial all around.
Step 2: Build an Actual, Real, Beneficial Relationship With Them
Not everyone you meet will become a friend or you'll be able to build a relationship with but when you find someone who you have mutual appreciation with, foster that. Connect with new people in pure interest of building a relationship. Be interested in them, offer to listen to what they're doing or what they have to offer!
This benefits you because you now have the information you need to decide if you can work together.
One of the best ways to connect with people is to find out what you have in common. You can often find this out through their website, social media or if you have a mutual friend in common that's great, too.
People often ask me how to find affiliates. That's easy - ask the people you have a relationship with! Now many people just getting started having built those relationships and so now the question becomes how to build relationships... and that's what I'm answering for you in this email.
Don't forget your customers, either! I've become friends with so many of my customers because I care about them as people and their success. I've also become friends with people I've bought from, as well, by showing them my appreciation for the products I've purchased. That started the conversation, often by my sending a testimonial, and we took it from there.
This is important! It works! Just because you're reading it in an email and not a paid product (it could be) don't dismiss the value of this information. What I'm giving you right here is a major key to building a long-term, profitable, sustainable business.
By the way if you are thinking that I had 19 years to build relationships and that's why I'm where I am. Yes, I did have 19 years but in the last year I've made dozens of new connections and a few of those have turned into great relationships already that have also already turned into partnerships.
You can have friends and partnerships within 3-6 months. It doesn't have to take years.
Step 3 - Offer Ways to Work Together When it Makes Sense
Once steps 1 & 2 are in place then you are set up for the results, the partnerships.
This is where you can find affiliates, be invited to events as a speaker, do guest blog posts, get or give referrals, etc.
Your friends are the people who know you best, they're the ones rooting for you, they're the people you want to be selling your products, telling others about you and more! It makes the most sense ;)
p.s. As you build your friendships you'll also want to be super SMART with your time. Everything you do in your business can likely be done faster if you've not been tracking the most effective actions. In order to do that I've written a quick and precise guide on how to do more in less time. It's only $15 under Wednesday and you can buy it here: Your Time-Freedom Action Guide
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