When I first started my business, working from home felt like complete bliss. I’d drop my kids off at school and breathe a deep sigh of contentment as I drove up the driveway, knowing I had the next 6 hours in silence. I’d tuck myself behind my computer screen in my cosy slippers and a warm cuppa nestled in my hands, with nothing but the sound of kookaburras for company.
An introvert’s dream, right?
But the reality was that even for an introvert, building relationships with other businesses is crucial for the growth of my business.
Thankfully technology made it even easier for me as an introvert to connect and communicate with the outside world, without ever having to leave the house!
I’d spend my days on Skype calls with clients, on Slack channels with my mastermind sisters, chatting over email and surfing social media to offer tidbits of conversation with other online entrepreneurs.
I loved that I could avoid the phone at all costs and connect with people via text, Facebook message or email instead. I loved that I could reply to conversations with well-thought responses without the pressure of thinking on the spot like I’d have to with face-to-face exchanges. I loved that I didn’t need to experience those god-awful ‘speed-networking’ events and could meet and network with people online on my terms and in the privacy of my own home.
I particularly loved that I could connect with powerful, influential women simply by commenting on their feeds, responding to their posts and genuinely making them feel heard and appreciated. (Note: It’s one of the key ways I connected with world changing leaders such as Jadah Sellner, Selena Soo, Tara Gentile and Tanya Geisler and had such success with my summits with them as keynote speakers.)
But here’s the thing. After a while, I started to feel anxious.
I had this nagging feeling, this craving that I wanted deeper connections and more meaningful conversations with my community.
Despite the fact that I was more connected than ever with a global audience, technology was making me feel disconnected, overwhelmed and if I’m totally honest, unfulfilled.
I’d hosted two extremely successful online summits, attended by thousands of women. And yet I felt that I didn’t know anything about them. I’d attracted hundreds of women to my Facebook group and yet again, I recognised them by name but knew little else about them.
As the experts had said, I’d focused on building my email list with thousands of subscribers who loved my message, but, you guessed it, I knew very little about them too.
It was perplexing. I hated that:
- I couldn’t connect on a deeper level with every. single. member of my community.
- I asked superficial questions in a bid to get to know my audience on a deeper level. It frustrated me that I couldn’t have more meaningful and intimate discussions online.
- I struggled to keep up with the conversations when I did get feedback and responses.
- I felt overwhelmed with the unread social media notifications and emails and although I tried to keep on top of it, I’d often feel that I’d failed.
I shared this with my mentor, knowing that this was a big stumbling block for me in my business and she asked me this simple question:
“How do you love to connect?”
Those six words were like a lightning bolt of clarity. The answer was crystal clear and I didn’t hesitate for a moment or even need a second to reflect on it.
I responded that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that what fuelled my connection fire was virtual or face to face one-on-one conversations or in person meetups with like-minded women; it was the perfect recipe for deep, honest, authentic conversations.
I felt this huge sense of relief, a weight off my shoulders knowing that I could connect in a way that felt nourishing, easy and rewarding.
And so I set out to connect one-on-one with more of my community. I’ve set aside dedicated time each week in my calendar for virtual and in person coffee chats. I’m reaching out individually to every single subscriber on my email list. And I’m rolling out more Connection Circles, my in person meetups.
It’s still early days but already I feel so much more energised, motivated and happy.
Of course, social media, Slack, text and email was (and still is) a central part of my business communication but I don’t have to feel it’s the ONLY way to connect and communicate with my community. And I don’t feel the need to be constantly ‘on’ on social media.
I can still work from my snug home office, surrounded by all my familiar things AND connect with people from all over the world. But in my own time and from the comfort of my own home.
The truth of the matter is you don’t need to connect in the same way as everyone else.
But you DO have to connect. Your business grows at the speed of your relationships and that’s why it’s so important to step out of your comfort zone, from behind your screen and out of your cozy home office to start meeting people. Relationship building and connection is one, if not THE most important activity in growing your business so it needs to be a priority. It also fuels your soul. In the great words of Brene Brown:
Find what works for you.
How do you love to connect? What kind of connection is your ‘chicken soup for the soul’?
I would love to hear from you. Hit reply or comment below and let me know what fuels your connection fire?
Next week, I’ll be sharing all the different ways to connect and how to gauge your connection style, as an introvert.