How to Leverage Your Real-World Network to Build Your Online Business
So you want to make a living online, eh?
You can see it now…
A plane ticket in one hand, laptop in the other. You set out to fulfill your wildest remote living dreams. Passive income dripping into your bank account to fund your next trip to Thailand.
You’ve put a website up, written valuable blog posts and turned all of your little Yoast SEO circles green.
There’s only one problem.
You don’t have any customers!
Do you give up? Spend money on Facebook ads? Wait! There’s a new webinar on building a brag-worthy Instagram following that’s sure to attract your people.
There’s no shortage of exciting new digital methods and info-products to build your business.
But what if there was a different way?
Before shiny object syndrome convinces you to buy another online course, sign up for another webinar or try another digital marketing tactic – why not start with what you’ve already got?
Yep, this post is all about going offline to build your online biz.
The bounty of your personal IRL network
It almost seems too simple.
When you dream of reaching a world wide audience with your work, the last place you’d think to start is with people you already know.
After all, there’s a fear that comes along with telling people you know what you’re up to.
What if they think it’s dumb? What if they don’t want to help?
Somehow, it seems easier to reach out to faceless strangers on the internet than telling your old co-worker that you’re accepting coaching clients.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement – I need you to listen carefully.
Sleazy and spammy marketers give zero cares about bothering others. If this is of any concern to you, it almost guarantees that you won’t come across this way.
Don’t let your fear of bothering others hold you back from making valuable connections and finding your clients.
Most marketing experts would like you to believe that marketing is complicated. After all, that’s how they’re able to sell more courses and coaching products!
Keep it simple and stay rooted in why you’re in business anyways: to help people!
In order to reach those people you aim to help, you’ve got to be comfortable talking about what you do.
You never know who you know, knows.
In other words, someone in your personal network may be friends or coworkers with your next client or customer.
Courage & Clarity host Steph Crowder recommends this simple strategy often to get clients fast.
Make a list of everyone you know that you could possibly reach out to. Get creative here! It doesn’t matter if you haven’t spoken to someone since you were both in the same sweaty Cross Fit class three years ago.
Write your list, and then start reaching out. Set a daily or weekly goal that you’ll reach out to x amount of people. Phone calls, emails and private messages, always keep it personal. This is not the time to blast your personal email contact list with the same copy and paste message.
This is about real connections.
These aren’t sales calls. You’re simply letting people know what you’re up to and if they know of anyone who could benefit from your product or service.
Your personal network wants to see you succeed!
Think about the last time someone needed your help or a connection from you. What a great feeling it is to come through for them.
Your job is to make it as easy as possible for your network to spread the word about what you’re up to.
So, before you start spreading the word about your biz, make sure you’re crystal clear on what you’re doing and how you help people.
Your connections should be able to easily describe your work and your offerings to their network.
A great way to do this is by providing a story they can share about how you’ve helped someone. So, instead of a friend trying to explain what you do like this:
“My friend Jen does something with clutter, I think it had to do with throwing things out”
“Oh! I know who could help you! My friend Jen helps women with their clutter. She told me about a woman she helped who was ready to attract a new relationship in her life. She cleared out half of her closet, and within months attracted the love of her life!”
Then, your personal network will start spreading like a web, out to the people who need you most.
We’ve covered the why and how of leveraging your personal network, but there’s another IRL tactic that stands the test of time.
Get out there and network
Yes, most people hate networking. And yes, networking totally works.
The only way you’ll hone your message, gain confidence and move forward is by vocalizing it. Again and again and again …
Maybe you think you can avoid networking because you’re building an online business.
There’s also benefits to face to face conversations that can’t be duplicated online.
We made a nifty “IRL Opportunity Brainstormer Worksheet” to help you come up with ideas for locations that cater to these face to face convos.
At in-person events, the attendees will have far greater focus than in an online environment.
Think about the last time you attended an online meeting but had 16 distracting tabs open on your web browser.
While meeting face to face, eye contact and subtle verbal expressions are one of the best ways to build trust.
Plus, appropriate physical touch like a handshake causes the center of the brain associated with reward to activate. You’ll build positive and authentic connections and if you choose the right events, even become a part of a community you’re proud to belong to.
You never know who you’re going to meet until you’ve met them – get smart about where your best connections gather.
Then show up and be helpful.
You’re More Connected Than You Think
Building a business you care about can get complicated, really quickly! If you’re hungry for new clients and ready to put the work in – IRL connections are a resource that you may have overlooked.
Going offline with your opportunities and hitting the pavement running won’t squash your dreams of the digital nomad life.
If done the right way, it has the power to propel and grow your online offerings.
IRL opportunities are often low hanging fruit that are easily overlooked when you’re chasing the next magic digital marketing pill that’s on trend.
Try the suggestions above and you may be surprised at the amount of untapped potential you had within your reach already!