Finding and connecting with your people is one of the fundamentals of a successful business. It goes without saying that without customers or clients, it’s difficult to call it a business. And, for more introverted types who like (and require) lots of alone time and may find networking challenging (or just plain boring), it can feel like just another thing we’re required to do that seemingly goes against our quiet nature.
If you’ve been feeling like that as well, here are 3 easy steps to finding and connecting with your people to get you started.
First Things First: A moment of gratitude for technology
Can we just take a moment, to be utterly in gratitude for the Internet and our ability to create online businesses from home?! I actually created an anti-social board for The Visibility Vault recently and came up with over 60 ways to share your work without social media. All my ideas and suggestions are WAY more exhausting than social media.
Prefer to listen to this post? Scroll to the bottom for the audio version or listen on your favourite podcast platform, just search The League of Extraordinary Introverts.
Not only that, it made me realise just how lucky we are to have FREE platforms and communities online – especially in post-COVID times – to show up (in our pjs, if we want) and not have to be out in the world, face-to-face with people if we don’t want to be.
Now, let’s take a look at how we can use this to our advantage.
Finding And Connecting With Your People
Above all, we need to use the Internet to do connection OUR way. And, for most of us, that means with fewer people at a time and in a more deep and meaningful way, so let’s keep that in mind and set that intention before even taking action. I’ve come a long way from being the super shy, sensitive kid at school, but I still sometimes find putting myself out there a little daunting – especially the way we’re taught we ‘should’ be doing it (ie. the ‘extroverted’ way).
1. Know Yourself And Your Intentions
So often, whether it’s showing up online or in real life, we can sometimes forget to set intentions that are aligned with who we are and what we’re doing something for.
It’s important to remember that we can set intentions but we don’t really get a say in the outcome, we just need to set the energy and then surrender to how it plays out – I know this can be tough but I have always found it’s served me. Set the intention, so that you feel like you have a plan and a container for why you’re doing something (especially if it’s new or a bit scary) and then lean into the joy that the Universe (or whatever your spiritual beliefs) will often have a much better plan for you.
When we know who we are and how we function best, it makes our intentions (and expectations) SO much more realistic. I’m a big fan of always challenging myself if I can, but only stretches that I feel deeply aligned with. Over the past few years, I’ve become so much more comfortable with going live on video but I just know myself, I will show up for my weekly Coffee With Katherine livestream but if I challenged myself to do a live every day for 30 days, I would get bored and not do it about 4 days in.
Knowing who you are, knowing the connection that you’re looking for, and finding ways to put yourself out there that feel easy and joyful – instead of trying to be someone that you’re not – takes so much pressure off it having to look a certain way.
Be unapologetically you, and I guarantee you that the things you find awkward, or quirky, or nerdy or uncool will resonate with your people (and won’t appeal at all to the people who just aren’t for you).
2. Commit To Engaging With Someone New Each Day (or week)
This year I have focused more on making micro-investments in 1:1 connections instead of trying to broadcast everything publicly via social media. It wasn’t actually even an intention, but could so easily be a mini-challenge you set yourself to connect with one new person each day, or week.
This can be as simple as sharing the work of people you love and want to build a connection with, responding to people’s Instastories and building some rapport with them via DMs, and even picking one or two groups (or start your own) to show up and engage, ask questions, get into conversations. If you go in with the intention of connecting (not selling), you will find the energy is so much more genuine. Because, it’s not up to us if someone decides to check out our work or buy our thing, in fact, most of our connections won’t lead to that. But when we focus on the connection first, we don’t know what it could lead to.
Imagine you connect with a like-minded person in a Facebook group you resonate with, maybe they don’t require your services, but they like your comment on their post and go to check out what you do. They see you’re a graphic designer and they have a look at your work, then three days later their friend is looking for a designer and they share your work. There is no telling at all what our commitment to deep, genuine connection can lead to, but when we go in with that as our only goal, the outcome is out of our control but we can still feel good for having connected with a new person.
We all need some degree of human interaction and so finding and connecting with your people is all about what feels good for you. The joy of online is that you can take your time to think about what you want to say, set boundaries around how much time you spend online and when you check in, and there’s a general expectation that you will get back to people when it suits you.
I’ve made some wonderful connections this year by just actively engaging with likeminded people in a way that feels energising and nourishing to me.
3. Create And Share Content
I feel like a bit of a broken record on this front, but I genuinely believe that one of the easiest ways to start getting your work out into the world, finding and connecting with your people, and just generally starting to cut through all of the noise of the online world is by creating and sharing content.
If you’re not sharing content anywhere, how can people find you? I know, I know, it can feel like so much to do and really overwhelming, but take another moment to be grateful for the Internet, because if you were starting a business even 10 years ago, finding and connecting with your people would have been so much harder than it is today.
Like, you’d have to leave your house. You might have to pay to take an ad out in a newspaper or print and distribute flyers. Now we can jump on our phones and share a tweet, post, or start commenting and engaging with our people from the couch if we want to.
There are a million things that you can do to get yourself in a good position to show up and share your work via planned out and considered content (The Visibility Vault was created for this exact reason), but it might look like loads of other things. One of my clients recently got invited by her more extroverted business buddy to do a live Q+A in her Facebook group. She never would have considered doing it on her own, but because her extroverted friend was going to be with her the whole way, she felt more comfortable and ended up having a wonderful time.
Team up with people who you’re connected with and collaborate if doing video or going live feels too much for you to start with. Podcasts are great for introverts because we can just have a chat with someone else and record it (off camera). If video and audio feels too scary, maybe you get into writing – whether it’s blog posts or microblogging on Instagram. But sharing what you have to say, getting clear on your message and what you do, and connecting with and finding those dream clients comes from you showing up regularly and sharing stories, ideas, thoughts, or information relating to your work so that people can find you and get to know you a bit before they take the next step on the journey with you.
Find the things you love to talk about and the way you feel most comfortable creating, play with it, curiously explore it, remember that these are all skills that – like anything – will take time to learn, get good at, and even decide whether they’re for you or not.
The Joy Of Deep and Meaningful Connection
I completely understand that finding and connecting with your people can not only feel super daunting, but for us more introverted types, the idea of it can also feel exhausting. The reality is, though, that – especially for service based businesses – our entire business model is built on the foundations of human interaction. From the start to the end of a client journey, connection is the bedrock of most of our work. What we need to do is find ways to develop and engage those connections in a way that works for us, feels joyful, and also includes plenty of systems, automation, and downtime so we can focus on the 1:1, the D&Ms. If you’re keen to find some new like minded friends, you should definitely come and join us in The League of Extraordinary Introverts free community, maybe your new business bestie, client, or dream collaborator is in there!