Hooking Up On The Internet
No, I’m not talking about THAT kind of hooking up…this is a business article, for goodness sakes! I’m talking about building mutually beneficial relationships with other online business owners. That’s the kind of hooking up that will propel your business to long-term success. Many people get online and think that the more people they meet online, the bigger customer base they can get. To some degree that is true, but in this marketing mama’s humble opinion, it’s not where you should focus your efforts. Nearly, four years ago, I started my online business. I was just a mom who desperately didn’t want to return to work after maternity leave. I had NO CLUE what I was doing. None at all, but one thing I did do is meet people, but I didn’t try to make these people my customers. What, you may ask? Didn’t I want to get any customers? Sure I did, but I realized something much more valuable. The other online business owners that I met online weren’t necessarily my target market and they had something much more valuable to offer me than a few dollars in my pocket from an Internet sale. They had knowledge, experience and ideas…and I had my own to share too. So, this is what I did… I made friends and now I run a 6-figure per year business. Yup, good old-fashioned friends with a common interest in online business. I share my experience and knowledge and they shared theirs. We discovered where we could collaborate on projects and build lifetime partnerships together. In other words, I gained a lifetime of value from these friends…not just another “Notification of Payment Received” email from PayPal. Through these relationships, I have found: – A number of partners on numerous profitable projects that we continue to produce and promote. – Marketing advice from: – A copywriter who has written million-dollar sales copy for numerous clients – A guy who works from Florida and makes millions yearly from his online business ventures; and a bunch more. These are people that have made VITAL differences to the future of my online business. – Someone who has orchestrated 6 and 7-figure product launches for his friends and clients. – And a bunch of others too numerous to mention, but I am so grateful for every day of my life. – Indispensable and trustworthy assistants that keep me inline when my mind wanders or I just can’t get all the little things done in my business. …and a whole bunch more. It doesn’t really matter, what I gained. It’s time to ask yourself what you want to gain…and if you’re in it for the long haul. If you decide you are indeed in it for the long haul, it’s time to start building those relationships. How to Attract The Right People to Your Network If you are already networking online, through message boards or other means, you’re already on the way. Here’s some tips on how to make the right kind of friends through your network. – Scrutinize your networking list. If you belong to a bunch of email groups and even more message boards, it’s time to start cutting out the fat. Your time is valuable, so choose just a few quality groups and boards where people are serious about online business. Forget about the ones where people are out to get rich quick or where you simply post for “Ad Mondays”. – Don’t be too eager. Don’t start out by telling the world, you want to “partner” on a project or anything like that. Take it slow, get to know people and give your input where you can. I emphasize the “where you can” because if you don’t have any experience on a subject, just keep quiet. But don’t worry, if you feel you really don’t have a lot of experience, you can still be a valuable community member by giving support and encouragement to your fellow online business owners. The experience will come with time. – Share your experiences. Expanding on the previous point, do share on the subjects in which you have some experience. The more freely you share your information, the more willing people will be to share with you. We all have our own experience and expertise. We can cut our learning curves tremendously by learning from others. – Make personal connections. If you have something you’d like to discuss privately with a member, contact them. It may be to discuss a particular idea you have for their business or you may want to interview them for your newsletter. When you do make these connections, always keep in mind what value it has for your networking partner. If you have nothing of value to offer them, save your personal contact for later. – View your competitors as partners. There’s nothing worse than the sometimes catty world of online business where people see competitors as the enemy. The Internet marketplace is so vast, there truly is room for everybody. People who reach the same target market are your potential partners for products, free ebooks, co-promotion and more. Don’t limit yourself. Bottom Line is… Stop thinking about yourself. Think about how you can help other people and it truly comes back to you.
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