A year ago, I realized how important it was for me to make friends. The friends I already had were great, but because I lived in a different state, it was always hard trying to keep in touch and still feel connected to them.
When I jumped into entrepreneurship 5 years ago, I was so unsure how it would work. My business was online. I kept asking myself, “How will I make money without ever meeting potential clients in person?” “How will they trust me?” And “Should I start going out in my community to scout for business?” I really had no idea about any of it. I had just birthed a newborn and was breastfeeding every two hours. Campaigning my business in my community may have been a great idea, but given my current situation it was not an option.
That’s when I really dove into branding my discounts, products, and company all over social media. This increased my income tremendously, but after a while I used up all of my social media outlets with my ridiculous branding every 30 minutes. Not only was my business burned out, but I had no one to talk to about it that could help me fix it. I remember thinking, “Where are my friends?”
The friends I had weren’t entrepreneurs...not yet at least. So asking them for advice usually got me nowhere. That’s when I knew my reach was limited and would stay that way if I didn’t start networking the way I was supposed to. So last year when I was asked to be part of a compilation book series, I saw it as the perfect opportunity for me to network and make new friends with like-minded individuals. And it was!
I made friends in different area codes and countries! My phone seemed to never stop ringing. It seemed like all of these newfound friendships were with women who uplifted, supported, and believed in me. And in return, I believed in them. These women were lawyers, coaches, authors, and entrepreneurs just like me! They were driven by purpose, enlightenment, and helping others. All of the things I loved.
Eventually, after months of late night conversations discussing our favorite TV shows, sharing business tips, and video chat using Facebook and Skype; I knew these girls were someone I could call my friends. When I was having a bad day, I could call them and they would pick me up. And while experiencing one of the worst moments of my life, losing my aunt, they all checked in on me and made sure I had love and support from every direction.
I know online friendships sound creepy because I used to feel the same way. I’m not telling you to jump on Craigslist and scout for virtual friendship ads. What I am saying is that you can make honest friendships virtually. I met most of my friends through a book that featured over 80 phenomenal writers. So I guess I kind of lucked up! But you can always join online clubs, find Facebook groups to be part of, or make new friends through your own social media networks. LinkedIn is a good place to start. But whatever you do, don’t become lonely in your niche. Believe it or not, a lot of entrepreneurs are just waiting to receive your email, your inbox message, or a phone call.
Virtual friendships are real. And if your heart is in the right place, it will last a lifetime. And how dope is it to have friends in Cali to show you Venice Beach; friends in Florida to walk you through Miami; friends in Zimbabwe to bring you to Victoria Falls; friends in New Delhi, Brazil, Canada, and China! I can now travel almost anywhere and have friends and business partners wherever I go. Virtual friendships are the best blessing I have ever received. Go make you a few today!