Want to know my secret to success?
Learn from others further along the path than you.
It’s that simple.
I wouldn’t have gotten half as far without the help and support from others, like Tom, who have given me advice and guidance along the way.
I now have a whole slew of internet peers that help me and vice versa. It’s very much give and take and in some sense, it’s always been.
Today I want to share with you four ways that building strategic relationships helped to make my business successful and why you should be networking your little heart out. In a nutshell, you’ll get much further with people then you will on your own! Let’s dive in.
1. I Was Introduced to Clients
This is a biggie.
When you’re first getting started, you need clients! Without clients, you’re pursuing a hobby, not building a business.
Tom was actually my first paying client. He subcontracted some work out to me. This helped me make my first paycheck, but more importantly, it gave me the boost of confidence that I needed to keep putting myself out there!
I didn’t just email Tom and ask him for a job. I had subscribed to his Paid to Blog Jobs platform, where I found one of his own listings. I sent him a pitch to apply for the job and since we had already been in communication, he recognized my name when the email showed up in his inbox.
Want to see my pitch?
I feel like I’d be more than competent to take on this role. I’m very responsible & timely, but don’t have any product review experience (yet;-).
If you were willing to give me an example, I’d be more than happy to share with you an illustration of what I’m capable of.
What do you think? Take me on for my first paid gig?
I think we can all agree that it’s not the best pitch ever. But partly because we already had a relationship, Tom took a chance on me and I got the job! We’ve worked on many different projects together since.
Tom’s not the only one that’s given me work. My mentor once introduced me to a $400 gig. That’s kind of a big deal! I had to pitch and land it, but she made the introduction. Thanks, Carrie!
I’ve also gotten work from being active in different Facebook groups. Now, I’m know as “the writer” in many. I get questions and my name is mentioned a lot in conversations. It feels good.
2. I Got Advice and Feedback
Getting good advice and feedback might have been even more helpful than getting introduced to clients. People have been generous in giving me opinions and advice on everything from my writing, formatting, website copy, marketing strategy – the list goes on.
It’s not only helpful to get input from peers, it can save and make you money. For example, the better I am at writing online content, the more clients I get and the higher rate I can charge. The better my sales page or funnel is, the more customers I can get to buy my product.
Having someone that has been where I was to give me insight into what I was doing right and wrong was priceless (yet many times free). You won’t always agree with their opinions but that’s okay – you don’t have to.
I do find that when I initially reject advice (from someone I respect and that was well thought out), it’s often because I’m scared or I don’t want to put in the work to make it happen (i.e. I’m being lazy). After it simmers for a bit in my subconscious, I usually take their advice or at least explore what they were saying in more detail, rather than just rejecting or dismissing it altogether.
Make sure to consider the source though. Not everyone will give you good advice or has your best interest at heart. It’s sad, but true. Trust your gut!
3. My Platform Grew
Another great thing about strategic relationships? They can help you to grow your platform. By aligning myself with like-minded people and spending the time to get to know them, I’ve been able to significantly grow my own platform.
Guest posting is a great example of this. I’ve been able to guest post on this site, Be a Freelance Blogger, Make a Living Writing, The Write Life and more! All because I had built a relationship with someone or was sent to these sites by my online connections.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a part of a few different mastermind groups. They are great for bouncing ideas around and getting advice. They’re also great for helping to build each other’s platforms. We actively engage on one another’s blogs and share each other’s content. It’s been hugely helpful.
Remember, no one blogger has the exact same audience as another.
We each bring different real life relationships, online ones, etc. to the table. You and I could be in the same niche, but have a completely different audience. There might be some overlap mind you, but it’s never going to be the exact same.
I say this, as I think many people operate from a scarcity mindset, with thoughts like, “If I send readers your way, it’s taking away from me” or “If someone builds a similar product to me, they are directly competing with me.”
If you think this way – stop! The internet a big place and there’s room for us all. Help others and it’ll come back around. Don’t help others with this being your sole intention though; help others because you genuinely want to support them and see them succeed.
4. I Didn’t Quit
This is a biggie! Being a freelancer, a webpreneur, solopreneur, or whatever you call yourself can be lonely. Your real life friends and family might not understand what it is that you do. (Does office space come to anyone else’s mind?)
In addition to being lonely, it can be really hard. You might feel like giving up at times. Do you want to know how not to? Surround yourself with like-minded people that are invested in you and want to see you succeed. It could be via your peers, a mastermind group, a coach, etc.
Want to know another secret of success?
Don’t give up! Stay in business long enough for things to work their way out, for you to be found, for your business to grow.
Put in the work – day in, day out. Don’t get really motivated and excited and go full steam ahead for three months and burn out. Instead, take your time, plan ahead and keep chipping away.
Take the first step, then the next one. And make sure to jog every once in awhile when you need to.
Now it’s your turn. Get out there and make some connections. It’s easy these days – you can even be an introvert and popular on the internet!
How? Join forums, Facebook groups and start following people via Twitter. Share other people’s stuff (they’ll notice). Be genuine, be friendly and give, don’t just take.
Building strategic relationships will help you to get further than you would on your own. Who knows, these people might hire you or introduce you to clients.
Choose people that will allow you to bounce ideas off of them and give you thoughtful feedback and advice. Help to spread each other’s good news and build each other’s platforms.
Lastly, be a support for one another. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Times will get tough – having people around you that “get it” will be hugely helpful.
What’s your best online networking secret to meet new people? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo Credit: gem fountain
Excellent post! I am doing all these things right now and it’s wonderful advice that I agree with and support 110%.
Gina Horkey says
Glad to hear it Heather! 🙂
Best online networking secret? Look for people you “click” with somehow and support or help them however you can. Give them positive & constructive feedback on work when they ask for it, offer to edit work for them (for free) if they need help, encourage them when they’re struggling, & try to genuinely connect with them through private messages just to see how they’re doing with their goals or to share something with them that you think they’ll appreciate or find useful. I try to do these things with ALL kinds of people I meet online, not just successful people who have already “made it” in their business. I just believe it’s the right thing to do.
Gina Horkey says
#Truth. Being authentic and offering to help goes a long way. And you’re right, it’s not about reaching out to only more successful people than you – supporting your peers and those not quite as far as you is important too!
Good on you, Gina! A penchant for networking and developing solid business relationships is a valuable superpower to possess. It’s even better than being blessed-cursed with proofreader’s eye! 🙂
Gina Horkey says
A “superpower” – I like that! Thanks for chiming in Debi!
Great advise. I am working through all of the steps but the building relationship part is my challenge. Building my confidence is more of a struggle for me, however I know I can do it. I’ve secured my licensing and working on my website preparing to step out in a few months, leaving my 8-5 behind. I am being RIF’d and really excited about my next journey.
Any tips for someone needing that extra push to building confidence?
Nice post Gina. Heading over to your blog to see the kind of stuff you’ve got there.
Robert Andrew says
I have been in this business since 2008. I think No.4 is huge as well.
This will many times separate the successful people from the failures.
Having perseverance and shaking off the “lonely blues” is a huge ingredient to find Success.
Of course you have to have an effective Plan and can’t just Write and Blog pointlessly.
But sticking to it is so important , and if you cannot handle the sometimes monotony involved with this biz you might seek other options 🙂
Ravi Roshan Kumar says
Hello Gina Ma,am,
Nice meeting you here.. 🙂
Very interesting article indeed.. 🙂 I love this post really. Each and every online networking secret is very exciting.
I appreciate you for this suggestive information.
Thanks a lot for sharing such a great informative post.. 🙂
Have a nice weak ahead..
Hello Gina, I have problem with searching for online jobs without success. I don’t know how you can help me on that or whether you can help me find an online employer who is willing to go step by step with me till I can perfectly do it on my own. I would appreciate. Thanks in advance
Rachel Bennett says
Online relationships can prove to be so very valuable these days. Some of my close friends have connected me with others that are active in the online community. While there can be some “shady” characters out there there are also some great people that you would never meet if it weren’t for the Internet.
Thank you for this great resource.
Akaahan Terungwa says
The most important secret is that there are no secrets at all!
When you genuine aspire to be great and are open minded enough to help others achieve that same greatness you seek, you’ll certainly get what you want 🙂
However, I must recognize that your tips are classic and as one who has used (almost) all of them, I make bold to say, effective.
Do make the day great.
Tom Ewer says
Thanks, Akaahan! My days are always great 🙂
Jeff Moore says
I am still trying to get a grasp with online relationships. I am very old school and don’t spend much time on the computer so I am still getting the nuances of how people communicate solely on the Internet.
This is a great resource to supplement my research!
Tom Ewer says
Thanks for the comment, Jeff! The optimal word for me is “relationships” – whether they’re online or offline, it’s still one person talking to another. Keep that in mind, and it should give you some focus!
Obodo Charles says
I completely agree with your line of thought, networking and building relationships with people of like minds are the main ingredients of success in any business.
Joseph Gregorio says
This is an awesome blog. Particularly, forming strategic relationships and developing a master mind group is definitely something I need to work on.
Do you have any tips on how to find the right people (particularly on the internet) you can surround yourself with? How do you know they are right for your business and your personality?
Tom Ewer says
I would say, Joseph, that gut instinct is important. As soon as you get that grinding feeling, it might be time to take a step back.
That, along with experience, and willingness to be thorough in your approach to finding out about your potential partnership, will get you a long way.
Soumya Roy says
Networking is a very important this, it was always been and it will be forever. Similar like you, I also got very good results from my networking habit. I am a professional digital marketer as well as a trainer. My networking help me to grow my clientele and trainees. And in this year I planned something new and following that consistently and I am getting very good results. Networking is always recommended, no matter which industry you are working on.
Tom Ewer says
Thanks for the insight!
Shubhada Kanani says
Great insights Gina. Its true that networking on various internet platforms is very important; in fact essential these days. However, for those in the 50 + years age bracket like me, who have started freelancing after many (25) years of 9-5 service, the time taken to do effective networking (on linkedin, or facebook or twitter or other groups) – is like hours and hours.. and you wonder, is this a means to an end? or an end in itself? Any tips on effective output per unit time?? Thanks for your help in advance !