I don't think anything in life matters more than the relationships we have with other people. Whether it's friends, family or business relationships, the people who are there for us and who we are there for are the most important people in our lives.
As you build an authentic business that fits you and your personality, the lines between your business and personal life becomes increasingly blurred. That's not a bad thing. The alternative is to have a business or a job that's so unauthentic that you need to "wall it off" from the parts of your life that are important to you.
The best business relationships usually turn into good friendships. This is why it's a wonderful thing to build strong, mutually beneficial business relationships.
1. Decide who you want to be in relationship with.
When you work for someone else, you're basically stuck with the people you work with. You don't get to decide who you work with and, like it or not, you have to make it work. Starting your own business is a lot of work and if you don't build relationships with people you like and who you want to do business with, you're missing out on one of the best parts of entrepreneurship.
Get really clear on the type of people you want to work with. Be totally OK with not having business or other relationships with people you don't gel with.
2. Get to know them.
Figure these folks out. Get to know them intimately. What's important to them? What do they really want out of life? Know as much as you can about them. And know how you can help them. Help them.
You can't expect to get paid for it. At least not right away. But that's ok; that comes later. And when you're doing something you love and is genuine to who you are, you won't mind doing the work and not getting paid for it. Doing work that you don't get directly paid for is a huge part of entrepreneurship and that's why it's critical to be doing something you enjoy and is a fit for you.
3. Let them know what you offer
Now it's time to be really clear about what you CAN do in exchange for money. Folks tend to fall into two traps here. They either:
a. Try to sell too soon.
This is that guy or gal who forces their products or services on strangers and then wonders why nobody buys. Be sure to do #2 above first.
b. Don't sell enough.
Many folks fall into the trap of working hard and successfully building relationships, but never go of the sale. Don't be silly and do this. Be clear about what you offer for money and let folks know you offer it.
If they buy, that's OK. If they don't, that's ok too. Don't just build relationships because it's good for business, build them because it's the most important thing to do in life.
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