Looking at how the Internet has progressed (and the state of online media), it’s hard to believe that just six short years ago, there was no thriving online community of location-independent, like-minded pioneers who’d be your advocates, mentors and guides to help you run your own online business, go nomadic and live your best life.
Back then …
I simply started blogging – without an idea of who my audience might be. I started sharing what we were learning as we embarked upon our work-from-anywhere lifestyle. I had no idea if anyone was really reading – until I started to get emails and comments from those who were. I certainly didn’t feel part of any kind of community – online or off.
Also, I didn’t have a clue about the power of online communities as it pertains to crafting the life you want to live – unconventional or not. I wasn’t really plugged into a local community and Twitter was in its infancy, as was the kind of blogging explosion we have today.
Yet, fast forward to today…
And I’m an active member of numerous communities – both online and off.
Much of this has happened organically — a natural consequence of being around online for long enough to get to know a few people. But now as I begin anew, working on a startup, it requires a whole new set of relationships to make it fly. So I’m once again approaching community building — a bit more strategically than last time.
Building Your Online Network
For any new startup to be successful, it needs to operate as part of an ecosystem.
You can become part of an existing ecosystem, or create your own. Whatever the approach, you’ll typically find that you can’t operate a business effectively in isolation.
So how do you begin to construct or co-exist within the right ecosystem?
Here’s what I’ve done this time around:
1. Get clear on who you do and don’t want to be around; knowing your core values helps with this immensely.
2. Look at the relationships you already have and assess them honestly and purposefully.
3. Identify the relationships which energize you (the keepers), and those which don’t — then gently let them go.