Welcome back to the She Dreams All Day podcast, which is now both a podcast AND a show!
I am uploading this very episode to Youtube, as we discuss a topic that I know is going to help you a lot on your entrepreneurial journey.
Today’s episode focuses on making connections online as an entrepreneur.
Now I know this is hard, and as introverts, we love being alone. But making connections is one of the best things I did for my business, and I’m here to share actionable tips you can use as soon as you feel ready to.
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I wish I had made connections sooner.
It’s hard. You love being alone. You started this business so you can spend more time in solitude, recharge your social batteries and spend time alone. I get it.
But I will be the first to admit that I took way too long to make connections online.
With my secret blog, staying in my bubble for so long, I wish I had known what I know now about connections and friendships online. If I did, I would have left my comfort zone a lot earlier.
Let’s be honest.
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. So lonely in fact.
And although we, as introverts, thrive in solitude and love to spend time alone, it doesn’t mean we want to feel lonely.
I sure don’t want to feel all alone in this world!
It’s human nature to want to feel part of something and to belong. Part of the pack.
Human beings are wired for connections. It’s in our nature.
For me, this solitude went on for way too long. Almost three whole years. And if it goes on for too long, it can really impact your mental health and overall well-being.
I felt isolated. It was not a vibe, or something I’d recommend to any online entrepreneurs.
Believe it or not, even if you are an introvert, making friends and building connections online is so important.
My first online connection and why it meant so much
At the start of my journey, I didn’t make any effort to talk to anyone about my business endeavours. I was, of course, worried about what they’d think of me. And also, they just didn’t get it.
Anyone from my real life didn’t realise that I needed to build an email list. Optimise content for SEO. Post weekly. Utilize Pinterest. Create engaging content. They just didn’t understand.
But you know what I should have done? Made connections online with REAL people, like-minded peeps, who got it.
People who were on the same journey as me. And it wasn’t until three years later that I realised this.
The very first REAL connection and friendship I made was through hiring my very first business mentor, Erin May Henry.
Erin had been someone I had followed for a while and even though we are extremely different in some ways (she’s a major extrovert and well, you know what I am). But we were so alike in many other ways, and I felt an instant connection with her.
Our relationship wasn’t strictly professional, and after our first call, we both (I can only assume and hope the feeling was mutual) felt like we had made a new friend.
That was the start of a beautiful friendship.
In fact, I just re-hired Erin as a coach. I want her guidance and amazingness in my life.
Six months after this, I joined a mastermind which allowed me to connect with more amazing people, who again, ‘got it’.
They were business owners, content creators and entrepreneurs themselves. We shared struggles, dreams, ideas. It was so beautiful. And so fun.
Being an introvert, I didn’t realise how much these weekly calls would give me energy.
Honestly, I thought they would drain me.
But it had the opposite effect.
I felt more energized, connected, more seen. Less alone. Generally happy and in a good mood.
It was actually the same case for me when it came to working 1:1 with my clients.
Before I launched my coaching program, I didn’t think I would enjoy it. I didn’t think the 1:1 coaching space was for me, as an introvert.
But again, I was so wrong. Being able to connect and go deep with someone on a weekly zoom call was exactly what I needed (and now I’m obsessed with my clients and the work we do together).
You don’t have to hop on calls with people or join an expensive mastermind, but my I hope my experience encourages you not to wait as long as I did.
Because you might be feeling like I did right now, and feel like you’re better off alone. But that gets old.
As humans, we crave connections. Even small ones.
When you’re in a 9-5, go to college or work at a café, or just live a life where you have natural interactions with people on a daily, it affects your mood. It might not be obvious to you, but the small connections actually make a difference.
Even saying hi to the guy who makes your coffee every morning (and this might be enough for us introverts).
So, how do you make friends and connections in the online space? As an introvert in business?
All of the tips and suggestions I’m about to share exist outside of your comfort zone.
But please, just take one step at a time. Take baby steps. Because it’s beautiful out here!
Join community groups
Most community groups are free. There are free memberships, Facebook groups, and communities that you can find online.
Type in a couple of your keywords and see what comes up. Join a couple of them. Look around and see if it’s your vibe for a few days.
Engage with some of the members of the group.
And then try the scary part – introduce yourself. This may sound crazy, but what do you have to lose?!
Create your own community for your business
Another option is to create your own community for your business. There are so many platforms to host community groups on now, from Facebook to Vibely, Circle and Slack.
Send your group out to your Instagram followers and email list.
Build a group of people who resonate and want the same things as you.
Stalk and talk
This may sound a little out of your comfort zone, but stalking people and then talking is a great way to build online connections.
Type in your keywords to Instagram.
Follow the people you resonate with.
Engage. Be genuine.
Comment on their posts (but make sure you follow them before you comment).
Genuinely engage, like and comment and become more approachable.
Be yourself and be honest about how this feels!
You can always say something like “I’m a huge introvert and reaching out to people like this is not really something I do very often, but I just felt something when I came across your profile, and wanted to say hi…”
Then seek out other introverts. Chat to them in their DMs and get the conversation flowing. Then maybe ask to catch up on Zoom for a virtual coffee. What have you got to lose?
This last part may sound a bit nerdy (I’m such a nerd when it comes to organisation), but track your connections. I have a board on Clickup which includes everyone I’ve reached out to to follow up further down the line. It’s even been the way I’ve found guests for this show.
Join a mastermind
How do you find a mastermind?
Seek out people you look up to.
Content creators that you love and resonate with.
Dm them, or see if they have a mastermind on their profile. Reach out to them to seek the high-level support.
Hire a coach
I’m not saying you have to spend thousands to make a friend. But, if you need accountability and guidance, working with a coach might not be a bad idea.
And you’re going to make a connection and friend for life (if you’re a match made in heaven, which I’m sure you will be).
Things to talk about /think about / prompts:
Ask lots of open questions to keep the conversation going. If you’re struggling or ideas, Google some (but make sure your convo isn’t just copied and pasted, that would be awkward).
Be vulnerable and open up. Discuss your struggles, and what you’re going through in business and build a deeper and stronger connection.
Be vulnerable, share your struggles, and also share your wins.
It’s also not about having too many friends you can count. It’s all about quality over quantity when it comes to making connections online.
It’s okay if some of the relationships you started don’t work out, or if you just don’t vibe. As you’re doing this work, you’re also becoming quite the badass of networking; which as an introvert isn’t something we’re good at!
But don’t think this is a case of having to hold a conversation through small talk. This is about creating something more meaningful and deeper than that.
It’s about cultivating long-lasting relationships, real connections, where sparks fly and all that jazz.
Not to talk about the weather. Deep connections.
After all, that’s what we, as introverts are into right?
Deep connections, none of that awkward and shallow small talk stuff.
Introverts are pretty darn amazing at talking when we get going.
Plus, we’re excellent listeners which make the experience all the better!
We’re excellent at a lot of things.
We see people, we read people, we know people.
We’re intuitive and amazing human beings. And we have a lot to share right?! All that thinking, ideating, reflecting and ahem overanalysing? Put it out there and share it with someone.
Making connections and new friends online gets to feel safe, gets to be fun and gets to be simple.
Life’s too short to be alone all the time. Especially in the entrepreneurial world.
Plus, having a couple of Zoom calls every week will still give you enough time to recharge your social batteries now you’re living (or about to) live the PJ lifestyle.
Make sure making friends and connections online is a thing you now take action on. Do it this week. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Because like I said, it’s beautiful out here!
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