Can you build a business without being on social media?
Yup. I did. I started out in business being a social media scaredy cat; I just didn’t want to put myself out there, too fearful of being mocked, judged and trolled. (I’m over this btw, took a while!)
So, I built my business doing what I love most; getting out into the community, chatting to people and offering to help in a very personal way.
Now some call this networking, but that word has a shitty reputation and I hate the notion of shoving a business card in someone’s face. No, I was netconnecting – I was getting to know people in my network with the view to building genuine and mutually beneficial relationships. And it’s how I managed to ditch my crappy part-time job and go all in with my business.
So if you’re anti-social media, take a tip from me and try these 3 ways to build your business.
Use your personal network
We all have a personal network; friends, family, ex-colleagues, gym-buddies, who probably have no idea what we do. Yet, each of these have a network of their own people that just well might be your next client.
Use this network m’friends!
Make a list of those who appear regularly in your in-box, news-feed or even pop into your mind and drop them a personal message asking for help.
And before you get weirded-out, and all “I can’t do this, it feels like I’m bothering them’’ Stop. This is your personal network, full of people that know and like you. Remember, that we humans like doing good for others, we like connecting people – it makes us feel valued (so you’re really doing them a favour!).
To help you I’ve included a copy of the message I sent to one of my contacts recently:
I was wondering if you could help.
I have a few client openings at the mo, so I’m reaching out to all the people I know to tell them a little more about me….just in case they know of someone who needs help growing their biz.
My mission is to help small business owners get over marketing overwhelm and build strong, sustainable businesses. I do this by teaching them how to get clear on their message, build their marketing confidence and make it easy for clients to find them.
I think I’m quite good at what I do, my most recent client said this about me ‘Rach challenges you to think about your why and the who, to talk about your skills with confidence and ease.
If you know of anyone who needs my help, can you send them my way, please?
(I give a lot of love to the people I work with, and I promise I’ll do the same with your friend)
And if there’s anything I can help you with, please just ask
The key things to include here
- Mention that you’re looking for help,
- Describe what you do (so they can direct the right people to you)
- Include some social proof (to give you credibility)
- Finish with a heartfelt expression of gratitude
Go on, try it. Send an email, a PM. Ask someone for a coffee. I promise you’ll get some great feedback from your network and more than a few opportunities, it definitely worked for me!
Action: Reach out to 5 people in your network every week.
For more on outreaching to your network, read this by my mentor, Caroline Leon.
I have some amazing partnerships with other businesses in my industry. PR companies, advertising agencies, freelance designers (I even get invited to their Christmas parties)
Some of these relationships have come about organically, some of them I’ve nurtured strategically
Either way, these relationships are fulfilling and profitable, they promote my work, I promote theirs. I refer clients to them, they refer clients to me. I offer their audience a discount on my services, they do the same with theirs.
It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing and it’s incredibly easy to do:
- Make a list of the complementary businesses in your community (either online or real life) that work with a similar audience to yours. The key is to ensure you’re offering a service that they don’t already provide.
- Connect with these businesses directly via social or email, or ask someone to introduce you. (I always start my message with something I genuinely admire about them or comment on a piece of their work)
- Explain who you are, your services, and propose an information exchange or collaboration. Offer to write a guest blog, co-host a webinar, provide a service that you think their customers would benefit from.
- If they’re interested, arrange a 30 min chat to get to know each other a little better and seal the deal. You can then ask them how they could help you and how could they introduce you to their audience.
When you’re new to business or looking to grow, Partnerships are a great way to get in front of a new, receptive audience, create fresh valuable content and strengthen your brand.
I’ve built some solid friendships with other leaders in my field and my audience love that I have a roster of experts that help them with mindset, web development, and PR.
Don’t be shy, partnerships are a win-win. This is not a marriage proposal, just an invitation to collaborate for your mutual benefit.
Action: Make a list of businesses that you’d like to connect with. Research their community and what content they share, then drop them an open-hearted, generous message.
I know, I know. We are all so focused on growing our audience and converting them into clients that we forget about the opportunities within our in-boxes.
The people we’ve already worked with, who’ve experienced our expertise and had great success are still out there and possibly needing our help (if only we were top of mind.)
Spend a few minutes thinking about the clients you like to reach out to again, take a look at their social channels, or recent content, what have they been up to? This will give you great insight into where you may be able to help them.
Once you feel you have something meaningful to say, drop them a message;
- Ask them how they’ve been getting on since you last worked together
- Comment on their work, authentically! Mention something that you enjoyed reading/watching. Or send them a link to an article or event you know they’ll find interesting.
- Tell them what you’ve been up to, alert them to a new offer or service, or direct them to a blog post that supports the work you’ve been doing.
- Mention you have some client availability and invite them to work with you again.
I’ve just reached out to a client who I helped with website copy last year – he’s now ready to commit to blog writing and needs a hand getting started! (Hooray, I loved working with this chap!)
These three approaches are powerful ways to grow your biz and income but they do require you to get you out from behind your keyboard and put yourself out there in a more targeted and thoughtful way.
My advice? Go where your people are, reach out with kindness and generosity and offer something only you can offer – your help.