There are lots of things that contribute to a person’s level of success: their unique circumstances, their efforts, and perhaps, most importantly, their ability to connect with others.
I absolutely believe that I’ve enjoyed success because I’ve faced fewer challenges than some and I work really hard. But when I really stop and think about it, the wins that I’ve had in life are mainly because I crossed paths with someone else in a meaningful way and at the right time. Those connections were part effort, part luck, but all amazing!
Although I can trace this happening back through my entire life, it becomes even more apparent when I review the highlight reel since starting my business last year.
I’ve forged mutually beneficial business relationships and found success in two main ways: active networking and creating content.
Let’s look at each in turn.
Success Via Networking
Before deciding to work for myself, I really only saw the educational value of networking events. Usually, there were speakers offering industry updates or philosophical nuggets to live by. I enjoyed hearing the perspectives of others and I sat quietly in the corner digesting their words. If I met someone, I’d be cordial, but never really attempted to connect (hello, introvert!).
Last year, however, that changed. It had to. Now my paycheck depended on my being able to form quick, but solid rapport with others.
Major Turning Point
I attended FinCon (a conference for personal finance bloggers, podcasters, and experts) last year as my freelance business was in its infancy. I had built online relationships with several folks before the event, but I would be meeting everyone in person for the first time.
Companies contacted me prior to the conference regarding potential business partnerships. As a shy person who had just started her enterprise, I was petrified. I had no idea what to expect.
But I kept my business meetings. I met tons of people. And I closed a deal with a client shortly after the conference. I am still feeling the positive residual effects of attendance as my relationships deepen and as I forge new ones by association.
Am I still an introvert? You betcha! But successfully networking bolstered my confidence and I’ve since attended other events and gotten positive results.
My point is — success doesn’t happen in isolation. Your business — and your life — will flourish if you have a kind and thoughtful give and take going with others that can help and be helped.
However, I’ll be the first to admit that attending live meetups isn’t always practical. These days, I’m glued to my couch with my laptop, writing up a storm.
So how do I stay connected to my network and forge new relationships on my timetable?
I create content. You can, too.
Success Via Creating Content
When I started my blog more than a year ago, I had no idea what I wanted it to do for me. I had loose notions of making money online, but no real plan.
I wrote my own blog posts for a few months, and on a whim, responded to a Tweet seeking freelance writers. After a short back and forth, I was hired. They were actually thinking about reaching out to me before I applied based on my writing and interactions with them online. I had officially landed my first client.
This did three things for me:
- I noticed the amazing power of asynchronous connection that we find on the internet. Someone tweeted. I later responded. And a business partnership was formed.
- I realized that I could make money online — and that based on my skillset, it would likely be as a writer.
- I discovered that my content could open doors for me.
A tweet, folks. That tiny bit of microcontent linked me to some great people and made me money.
And that’s not the only time it happened!
A couple of months later, a company in the fintech space saw one of my tweets, checked out my website, and emailed me about writing for them.
I was floored! The tweet they responded to wasn’t even an advertisement. If I recall, it was a post about my goals for the week. They liked how organized and motivated I was and wanted those things for their team.
They are now one of my highest paying clients — and I get to collaborate with great people to boot!
This type of connection isn’t limited to just Twitter, either.
A business in the human resources space saw my profile on LinkedIn and messaged me because they were looking for writers. I had no idea that this company existed until they pinged me. The company is now an active client of mine.
So why I am telling you this?
I’m sharing these experiences to illustrate what’s possible.
Last year at this time, I had no money coming in from my online activities. My site wasn’t really up and running and I wasn’t even on Twitter yet. (Full disclosure: I already had a sizeable LinkedIn following from my previous career in HR.)
But — by putting myself out there via online content, people started to take notice of me. People started to hire me.
Of course, I actively pursued some opportunities, caught some breaks, and made investments in business coaching which helped to open up my network.
However, it was amazing (and financially helpful!) to be found, to be pursued, to land business that I didn’t even know was available.
I am regularly contacted by folks looking for writing and editing help. Sometimes it’s a good fit and sometimes it’s not.
But the point is: when business comes to you, you can focus more on delivering value, strengthening your infrastructure and plotting your next move — not worrying about paying the bills.
It’s NOT Magic
Although I’m still sometimes in awe of how I become linked with clients, I know that the business didn’t materialize out of thin air. My actions resulted in these events because I:
- Created a Work With Me page for my site
- Edited my LinkedIn profile to showcase my new career path
I landed those clients. That’s helped me to succeed instead of struggle.
That’s the power of content! I created it and it spoke for me while I was off doing something else. It allowed me to build relationships on my schedule — and on the schedule of my now clients.
Content Really Does Connect
I’m not an anomaly, either. There are lots and lots of other folks that effectively showcase their brand and connect with their market online.
If you’re a business owner, you can, too.
I publish regular posts about creating written content on this blog and on my social channels. That information can give you a good start (or a few pointers if you’re not a newbie).
However, if you need some extra help, or if you’re just too busy to get to it, I’ve got you covered.
I have been so inspired by the events of the last several months that I launched a program to help other business owners like you truly connect with their target market — and be top of mind when they’re ready to buy!
Content That Connects could be the solution for your business to stand out and get to the next level.
OK, you got me.
I wrote this post, in part, to plug my new service offering. However, everything before it rings 100% true.
Your business can’t grow without involving new people — whether that’s in person or online.
There is a world of opportunity out there that’s yearning to be tapped. It won’t come to us if we sit idly by — but we can invite it into our lives if we dare to put ourselves out there first.
It can be scary, I know. I pause every time I go to hit the publish button in WordPress, send a client an article draft, or meet someone new at an event.
But I (usually) push through that little stutter in confidence and reap the rewards of truly connecting with others.
I wish the same for you!
Tell me: What’s your favorite success story involving connecting with others?