“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
~ Henry Melvill.”
In this post I share with you 10 super practical and fairly simple actions you can take to activate your business network.
Let me start by sharing a few words about why it’s so important to have your business network activated. First of all, for the work-at-home, solopreneur, it’s essential to our mental wellbeing and happiness to have a well connected tribe of people around you. The more connected your network is, the more front of mind you are for people, which means more support, more connection and oftentimes more referrals.
I’m also a firm believer that, in life (and business) we get back what we put out into the world and as such generosity and service, together, form the bedrock of my business. When you extend kindness to others, there is a ripple effect. It leads to more happiness and more kindness all round. For me, it’s just a wonderful way to live and to do business.
With that said, here are 10 things that I do on the regular to keep my network alive, healthy and well-connected:
1. Do my outreach challenge
This a challenge that my old business coach set me back when I first started out in business, and one I set most of my 1:1 clients when we first start working together. The challenge is to reach out to 50 people in 7 days. The only purpose of your communication is to connect (see this video for more on that). Think short and sweet messages (via email or social media) to check in with people you know, as well as people you don’t yet have a relationship with. For someone you know it might be as simple as: Hey, how’s it going? It’s been a while and you popped into my thoughts and I wondered how you are. For a new contact, it might be as simple as: Hey, I noticed that you’ve been putting some amazing content out lately and I love what you are up to in the world. Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I appreciate what you do. The key is to keep it simple and that’s why it’s 50 people in only 7 days. If you truly follow through with this challenge, I can assure you that magical things will happen.
2. Write to your former clients
Ask how they are and if there is anything you can support them with, offer your support, freely. I like to do this at least every 6 months. For me it’s a way to thank my former clients for the money, time, effort and energy they spent on our work together and also when someone has invited me into their life as their coach, it feels important to maintain and honour the relationship over the long term.
3. Go through your subscriber list
Review your subscriber list to see who regularly opens your newsletters – reach out and say hello, thank them for reading your newsletter, offer your support. Don’t jump in straight away with offering something as that can sometimes come across as a bit intense but ask them how they are and if there is anything that they’re struggling with. If you see something you can help with, then offer something specific and relevant. For example, if I write to a subscriber and ask how their business is and they respond by telling me that they are struggling to get clients, I might offer to send them my best resources on the topic or even offer them a complimentary session for us to identify some strategies that could help.
4. Do some audience research
This is a great way to open a two-way dialogue between you and members of your audience, there are many simple ways you can do audience research ranging from a simple question to an in depth conversation. This video walks you through 5 different types of research you can do. Pick one and do it this week.
5. Curate an article
Create an article using contributions from other experts in your field. Click here for an example of one I did and also click here for one I was invited to take part in. This is a wonderful way to provide great content for your people, cultivate deeper connections with your peers and get your business in front of other people’s audiences. You don’t want to insist on it (because that feels icky) but don’t forget to invite your contributors to share the piece with their audience once published.
6. Go hang out in your favourite Facebook group
Give yourself a set amount of time and the goal to find 5 posts you can leave a meaningful and supportive comment on. Be sure to choose topics that relate to your area of expertise and be generous in the information you share. My top tip for using Facebook groups for your business outreach is to pick one or two groups that contain your ideal clients and leave the rest. It’s very easy to waste time and energy flitting from group to group on Facebook. Concentrate your efforts and pick one or two groups to show up, shine and be of service in. (If you’re not a member of my Facebook group, the Conscious Business Collective, you can join here!)
7. Ask for referrals
Reach out to anyone who has experienced your work in the past (be that free or paid work) and ask them if they know anyone who would benefit from a complimentary session with you. I like to invite people to gift a session to a friend of theirs, who they feel could benefit. To see an example of a referral request email I have sent in the past click here.
8. Reach out to your biggest fans
Those people who like and comment on all of your posts. Send them a direct and personal message to thank them and to find out how they are. If after you’ve made the initial connection there’s an obvious way you could support them, offer your help generously. If it leads to a real conversation great, but be mindful not to force it.
9. Offer your audience something for free
For coaches this could be a complimentary session, for teachers a free class, web designers might offer a free website review, healers a taster session. Personally I think that it’s far better to offer this on a 1:1 basis rather than to blast it out to everyone. You’ll want to choose people who are fans of your work and let them know you are gifting this to them because of their loyalty and support.
10. Interview someone in your industry who you admire
It’s wonderful for your audience, it helps forge a new deeper relationship with someone you admire and there’s also a chance that you’ll get more exposure, should they share the interview with their audience. Click here for an example of an interview I did and another one here and here. If you can get interviewed by someone else, even better!
So there you have it, 10 ways to activate your business network. If you did just one of these a week, I think you would be stunned by the results.
If I could give you one piece of advice on how to approach all of the above, it would be to come from a place of service. If you see this list as a strategy to make money, your efforts will likely fail. Having expectations about what results you’ll get is more than likely to impact the results negatively.
Approach each of these with love and care.Do each task simply because it feels good to connect and give back. Have your intention be simply to connect and to serve. That’s where the magic of this lies.
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