Just because you are a solopreneur, doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself! By concentrating on building a loyal, enthusiastic and supportive community around your business, you can create amazing opportunities for collaboration, get more clients & sales & build your expert reputation.
But how do you go from zero to hero when you are just starting out and the only people following what you are doing are your mum, your best friend and your sister?
Here’s how its done:
1. Make a list
Put together a list of the people you want in your network. Mars Dorian suggests no more than 150 people tops to keep it manageable and personal. Include people whose ideas you admire, people doing kick-arse stuff in your niche – and out of it, people you would like as your clients, clients you already have, people you can help, people who can help you. These are the people you want to inform, inspire & support you and your business!
To make is easy to keep track of everyone on your list, add them to a Google + circle, Facebook interest list, Twitter list … Then start connecting!
2. Create a Facebook business page
If your business is not on Facebook yet, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to build your community. Once you have your page set up, take some time to ‘Like’ some of the pages on your list, and leave thoughtful comments on their status updates on a regular basis. It’s a great way to get yourself on their radar – and that of their fans!
3. Join a group
Find yourself a ready-made community of like-minded entrepreneurs. There is something for everyone out there. You can go from zero to network in a matter of moments – which means access to feedback and support for your ideas, events & product launches, help with marketing & promotions, collaboration opportunities, accountability, encouragement, advice ….
4. Give generously
Write great blog posts that share your knowledge, make sure your free opt-in offers are full of your best work, answer questions, help people just starting out in your niche or industry learn the ropes … Generosity does not go unnoticed and is a great way to establish your expertise and to build your tribe.
Share ideas, information, blog posts, books. Know someone who loves Seth Godin’s work and just seen a fab giveaway of his latest book? Tell them about it . Got a contact who is trying to get her head around SEO and just read a great blog post? Send it their way. Had a great idea that just isn’t right for your biz, but know someone who might like to make it happen? Pass it on
6. Curate other people’s content
Like, retweet, pin, share … if you like it or gain something valuable from it, pass it on. It usually shows up in their notifications that you have shared their content – and it provides a valuable stream of content for you to build your own social media following.
7. Make introductions
Referrals are great for business … and we all want more business right? Start connecting your people. If you know a great designer and hear of someone in your network looking for a new logo design, hook them up!
8. Create valuable content
Be consistent in creating content that your people can use, recommend to their networks, and gain real value from. This doesn’t have to just be blog posts. Try video, audio, images, answer questions on Quora or LinkedIn, join forums or LinkedIn groups and contribute useful stuff. Do what works for you & your biz – just make it good!
9. Be original
If you do what everyone else is doing, you won’t stand out. Use your own voice, tell your own story. Experiment ,play and see what works for your audience.
10. Reach out
Start the conversation. Got someone you want to connect with? Say “Hi” on Twitter, leave a useful comment on a blog post, send an email. The easiest way to get started building your online influence is to just make a start and stay consistent.