7 Tips for Finding Your BBFs (and why you need them)

Find Your Best Business Friends

If it hasn’t already happened, you may find that one of three things occurs among your friends as you start and grow your blog or creative business:

  1. Your close friends are genuinely excited for you, promise to support you as much as they can, but somewhere along the way they lose steam + stop understanding what you’re talking about . . . after all, they just don’t have passions similar to yours.
  2. Your close friends are not social media savvy, SEO aware, or people who understand blogs + business. Thus they have no idea how much blog comments, retweets, and repins mean to you. They literally just don’t understand how to support you.
  3. And worst of all: Your close friends may actually even become jealous or negative about your growing blog or your business passions. Boo friends, boooooo.

It’s time for you to find some BBFs, my friend. Either best blog friends or best business friends, whichever you need. People who understand how significant spikes in blog traffic are, how exciting repins are, and how meaningful things like guest posts and blog comments are.

Your BBFs are going to be people like you, who “get” you, even if they’re not in the exact same niche or line of work. They are crucial to your success because if you don’t have others to celebrate with, to bounce ideas off of, to plan, scheme + dream with, then your creative growth might get a bit stunted. No one likes that. I know you. You’re all about doing things to your full potential, right? Let me share some tips on finding your BBF(s).

1. Be present.

  • Make yourself available in the popular social media platforms for your industry/niche. If you’re a blogger or creative business owner, you’ll likely at least want to be active on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.
  • Hop on the blogs of other people in your space and start interacting.
  • Look into any online forums or groups where people like you might hang out.
  • When people leave comments on your blog, respond! Say genuine things and go check out the blog that is probably linked to their name. Check it out before you respond so you can leave something personal in your reply.
  • Tip: Use the same profile name and picture across as many platforms as you can. People might need multiple interactions to really begin to recognize you, and if you have a different name + drastically different picture each time, they’ll likely assume you’re a different person.

2. Be real.

  • Use your personality from Day 1. True relationships, meaningful relationships, are built when two people are genuine about who they are and what they want. Try being you. With all your quirks, random interests, ridiculous sayings, and nerdy knowledge.
  • Try to take examples from others in terms of certain lingo or etiquette, but make sure everything is said in your voice.

3. Be doing your homework.

Love my grammar, don’t you?

  • Pay close attention to other people’s blogs and to their social media feeds. Find people who seem to have similar interests to yours, similar goals with their blog/business, and similar habits. You should be looking for people who seem like they’d be your friend in “real life.”
  • Search specific hashtags on Twitter/Pinterest/Google+ that people in your industry use. Look through blog directories. Pay attention to the other people commenting on your favorite blogs. You will find cool people in one of these places. I promise. If not, you can send me an angry letter (here) and I’ll go find some people for you.

4. Be bold.

After a while of establishing your online presence (through blogging and being present + real), it’s time to actually ask for something or say something specific + personal to people.

  • Start small: Send one of your new Interweb friends a link to an article (not one you wrote) that you think might be helpful or interesting to them.
  • Find a blogger in a similar niche and ask her/him about collaborating on something. I just made a new blog buddy by linking up with Maru (of Fashiony Fab) to create a new video project we’ll tell you about really soon.
  • Take a risk and ask if someone would like to guest post on your site.
  • Purchase a small amount of ad space on another blogger’s site.
  • Join bloggers you like in Twitter chats, webinars, or other virtual meetups you become aware of.
  • Go crazy and attend a small/large blogger retreat or conference where people with similar interests are gathered.
  • Reach out and just email someone about how much you admire their work/blog. If they seem open and invite questions/comment by email, actually take them up on the offer.
  • Tip: Be respectful when contacting other business owners or bloggers directly. Acknowledge that their time is valuable, and if you’re asking for a guest post or something similar, realize that person could be doing you a huge favor, so ask nicely and thank people for their time.

5. Be open.

Sometimes your BBFs will sneak up on you. They could already be a real life friend or acquaintance who needs a little encouragement to go into business or blogging themselves. Or, your BBFs could be people you know that have blogs you just didn’t know about.

  • Survey your current list of contacts (or Facebook friends) and see if any of them are in business.
  • Ask your close friends if they know anyone just starting out or running a blog/business who’d be willing to meet up and exchange ideas.

One of my current BBFs is a friend I had for many years in real life who moved away but then started her own blog. She and I really began to connect as we celebrated each other, learned from each other, and eventually decided to work on an exciting upcoming project with each other. Go say hi to her at WifeMomSuperwoman.com for great tips + an authentic take on being (you guessed it) a wife, mom, or superwoman.

6. Be havin’ thick skin.

Again with the grammar.

  • If you don’t hear back from someone, or more commonly: you do hear back from someone but the idea/relationship fizzles, don’t take it personally because most of the times it is not personal. People get busy, people miss tweets/emails, people go through tough times. If you spend your time worrying about someone who didn’t respond, it means you’re not spending that time reaching out to new people who are a better fit for you.
  • Laugh it off if you have a misunderstanding, typo, or do something otherwise embarrassing. Most people will understand and stressing about it won’t help your creativity.

7. Be ready, but then again, don’t wait until you’re ready.

Say what?!

  • If you propose a minor or major collaboration, make sure you’re ready to follow through with your part. Don’t be the person who is all talk. Most people can forgive someone getting busy every now and again, but you don’t want to make a habit of not doing what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it. For the most part, you don’t like it in other people, and they probably won’t love it in you.
  • But then again, don’t wait until your blog is perfect and you have 1,000,003 adoring followers, and you have the most perfect headshots in the world, and you have 30,000 tweets . . . and you have everything put perfectly together. People like being part of the process. If you’re genuine and real about where you’re at, people will still love you. I know I do.

Your new BBFs will naturally:

  • Start supporting you + helping your SEO through shares, comments, etc.
  • Give you great new ideas and be amazing sounding boards.
  • Help you feel as useful and important as you are.
  • Be amazing partners for collaborations and future opportunities.
  • Become your true friends.
  • Keep you sane and focused and inspired when business gets tough.
  • Be the first in line to buy or promote your products and content they believe in.

HR-GoldDots

Add your thoughts: How do you make friends online? Who would you like to become BBFs with? What would you add to my list? I’d like some new ideas myself . . . on the hunt for new BBFs!

HR-GoldDots
Bethany of Love Grows Design has some great additional reading on building relationships online.

Photo of feet: © deviantART – Fotolia.com

Comments

  1. says

    I agree with everything you just said! I think I struggled with this a little bit at the beginning, but I guess it just takes practice and be open and real, like you mentioned. Great post, Regina! :)

    • regina says

      Thank you Maru. You’re right. I should add that: Practice! All relationships take practice and time, I guess. Thanks for stopping by + reading. Always love your comments and support.

  2. says

    This was inspiring, Regina! I have a few great blog friends, and their support means so much to me. I want to be a good blog friend in return. And you are right, we bloggers know best how to encourage other bloggers. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have time to promote my own blog AND others’, but then I realize that thinking is just backwards. Blogging is all about community, and showing other people you care goes a long way. Thanks for the great article.

    • regina says

      Jenny, I appreciate your comment and I agree with you, I want to be a good blog friend in return too. It’s funny how it starts to come naturally to you after a while. The same way you treat in-person friends naturally trickles over to online relationships.

      AND I know what you mean about feeling you don’t have time to promote all of it. Some days I just smile so hard because before I even have time to tweet or pin something of mine, a blog friend or two has already done so for me. It’s ridiculously amazing and humbling.

      P.S. In thinking about your Blogger to WordPress transition, I think about half of the web swears by Genesis. Not only is it super for SEO, but there are 2 – 3 million tutorials available on changing your header. WP calls a doc called header.php to fill in your header. With a little bit of tweaking you should be able to put the code you already made in there. Your site is so beautiful. I want you to get to keep it and all your hard work!

      • says

        It’s when other people promote my work that I am even more convincted of being a better friend. The creative world is so much happier when we can look at the great work that others do and honestly encourage them, and be happy for them. I think it benefits everyone in the end.

        Your thoughts on WP are a lifesaver! Truly. I have been seeing a lot about Genesis, but I wasn’t sure if it was really what I needed to achieve my desired results. But, if I really can use my codes with Genesis, I am going to focus my research on that. (“2-3″ million tutorials made me laugh :)) Thank you SO much for your help.

  3. says

    You know, I’m so thankful to find your blog. You always have the best advice!

    I was doing all wrong when I first started blogging. Didn’t make effort to go out and support others. Well, maybe because I was shy to even say hello. Yikes!

    But hey, I’m getting better at it now! I’ve been doing some stuff you mentioned here. So I think I’m in the right path to find my BBFs. Hooray!

    • regina says

      Haha. Me too (about doing it all wrong at first). I’m a bit of a shy one myself at times. I guess it just takes practice and the realization that most everyone is here to support + encourage each other. I love your interactions with others. You seem so genuine and excited to interact with your peers.

      • says

        Yes, practice makes perfect!

        Well, I’m glad that I left such an impression on you. Even though I’m a shy person, I actually love to interact + talk with others. :)

    • regina says

      Ooh, thank you. I think she and I are both super happy about it. It will definitely be something you can get involved in too. We want it to be about other creatives. You’ll see what I mean shortly. We hope to announce at the end of this month or some time early next month.

  4. says

    Regina – As usual you are a wealth of information. I don’t know how you cram so much knowledge into every post! I have spent the last hour following your advice, searching for, and commenting on other art therapist’s blogs.

    Thanks again!

    Amy

    • regina says

      Amy,

      That sounds exciting! I bet some good ideas/relationships will come from you stepping out. Other people sometimes just need that initial contact from a genuine person like you to spark something awesome!

      Your sweet words are honestly such a great driver/motivator to continue creating content, which I love to do. So in other words, you help me do what I love to do. Thank you for taking the time to help someone else in their journey . . . (ha!) which is I guess exactly what you do through Maricle Counseling!

      • says

        Regina:

        Thank you so much for the link, that was very thoughtful. While our businesses are different, your encouraging, empowering way is very “therapeutic” and motivating for me! If my words are motivating to you, I am so glad. I mean it!

        Cheers,

        Amy

  5. says

    Great tips Regina! I am always reminding myself to put myself out there and make blogging friends because like you said at the beginning, your non blogging friends have no idea! It’s great to have support from your fellow bloggers! PS Can’t wait to see what you and Maru are working on!

    • regina says

      Emma, thanks for reading + I appreciate your tweet today as well.

      Yeah, I eventually just started to feel bad for my non-blogging best friend. My endless comments + ideas were probably so uninteresting. Much better to find people who actually care about the blogging world and celebrate/enjoy other things with your non-blogging friends.

      Thank you . . . I’m so excited about the project with Maru. We’ll be ready to invite our friends (which is you, of course) soon. Y’all can tell us then if we’re crazy or not!

  6. says

    Love this post Regina! So apropos that Noor just virtually introduced me to you and I came over to the blog to support and got such a treat! This article is so well thought out and practical. I am working to do these things now. It is so wonderful to connect with like minds via the internet. Supporting each other is good for the environment! Signing up for the newsletter now! ;)

    • regina says

      Yes Ayanna, agreed re: connecting with like minds via the web and supporting each other. I’m so excited Noor introduced us because your blog is so clean + beautiful + full of your great work and inspiration.

      I’m definitely in that “keep moving forward” place you described in your recent post!

      Thank you for taking the time to read + to genuinely comment!

  7. says

    Thank you for this post Regina, this is really helpful. I think one of my biggest issues is that I’m afraid to reach out to people because I feel like I will be rejected. I feel like now is the time to just do it, and if I get rejected then so be it. This was a really helpful post.

    • regina says

      Thank you for saying that and thank you for reading.

      It’s encouraging to think that if people accept you, they like you and it was worth the risk, but if they don’t, they didn’t know the real you, or were busy, or were weird, or whatever, but it doesn’t actually reflect on your value.

      You’re genuine + fun on your blog, and you’re taking steps to reach out and encourage people; other bloggers can’t ask for anything more than that!

      • Summer's Beauty says

        Thank you so much that truly means a lot. It definitely is a learning curve, but I am learning to enjoy myself, and I just fixed it and added a pic :) Thanks again!

  8. Catharine Symblème says

    Fantastic article! You really scratched an itch that’s been bugging me. I was uneasily aware that my “real world” friends are beginning to drift when it comes to my businesses — as you said, not their fault — and reading this was exactly what I needed to hear in order to not resent them. I was simply “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

    I’ve already shared this article on my social networks, including my business groups, and now I’m going to go find and Follow you. (Wow, I feel like a stalker — I’m really not, just a boring old married lady, okay?)

    Thanks again! And thanks to Peg Fitzpatrick for sharing this on Google Plus!

    • regina says

      Catharine, thank you for stopping by, and yes, thanks to Peg Fitzpatrick for sharing. She is such an amazing content creator and resource; I’m really honored that she would share my post.

      I think you hit on it exactly by saying “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Haha. Great lyrics to highlight the point: we can’t seek any type of validation or really appreciation from people who don’t understand what the heck we do. It’s a great bonus if they get it and can celebrate with us, but your daily/weekly inspiration and encouragement will come from others in a similar space.

      I’m ashamed to admit how much it affected me when a certain close friend seemed negative about what I do. I tried to explain things different ways; tried to show it all and break it down, and then something clicked and I realized she wasn’t going to ever be excited about something that had nothing to do with her.

      All the while I had other connections with people who were working for the same types of things; these people were building me up as i was doing them. We were all learning from each other. My true + deep business conversations are reserved for people who love business and blogging. They think critically about the issues I present and they want to help me as much as I want to help them. It’s beautiful.

      I’m so glad you were able to realize where your “real world” friends were at and not resent them. That road is blah and discouraging and not healthy for creative business people.

      Thank you so much for sharing the article and also for taking the time to add your thoughts. No need to feel like a stalker, the support is very much appreciated and I frequently stalk people + topics on the web. I call it “research.”

  9. says

    I am a connector and collaborator at heart and the relationships that blogging offers means WAY more to me than the money ever will. This resonates! If you need any BFF slots filled, I’ll take one. We both like wine and have crazy hair … ’nuff said.

    • regina says

      Naomi, I do get what you’re saying. It’s so great to meet other people, being transparent + showing their true personalities online. It’s kind of like this safe, anonymous, yet not anonymous place to connect. That probably made zero sense, but that’s how it feels.

      P.S. Wine + crazy hair is a sign that we would “get” each other. I’m going to pour a glass, relax, and check out your blog momentarily.

      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your time reading the post and leaving feedback. I’m sure I’ll be bothering you on Twitter again soon . . .

      • regina says

        We’re open to a new member in the Wine + Crazy Hair Club (WCHC) that we started. Welcome! And thanks for commenting Rae.

  10. says

    I definitely agree with alot of this! I definitely need some blogger friends myself, I’m lonely! Many people try to be supportive that are in my real life, but it’s missing that understanding factor as you said lol.

    • regina says

      That’s my biggest “problem,” if you will. Most people in “real life” just don’t get it, and that’s fine. I can’t actually call it a problem really, because it’s forced me to create new, real, fun relationship with other very driven people. I love that.

      Thanks for commenting Amber.

      • says

        Yeah, I imagine all the other relationships are really awesome to have! We have to give them credit for trying, so it’s not all bad. You just have to be a blogger yourself to really get it I think.

        Yeah, no problem! I always comment on awesome stuff! I just love it :)

  11. says

    I am so glad I found you! This article is amazing. I need to follow your steps. My biggest thing is I am shy in person and I am still shy online. That needs to change ASAP.

    You have some great advice on here. I am going to be sticking around to read some more.

    • regina says

      Erica, thanks for reading + commenting. I just checked out your blog and the “flippy floppies” shirt made me laugh so hard. Adorable! I can’t stand it but that song got permanently stuck in my head after a friend showed me the video. I start to reference it sometimes, but then I think, “That’s right, no one else in my real life wastes their time on the Interwebs as much as I do.” Moving on . . .

      I have a deep love and comfort with my introversion, and am definitely not the loudest or super-talkative one among my friends, so I can easily be labeled as “shy” as well. But the reality is you’re probably very comfortable around your friends, and you know your “voice” so you don’t have to find it. It’s really just about using your voice regularly on your blog, and then using it some more (like you just did) on comments and in social media, etc. People are quirky and we enjoy the quirks in others. << That’s my unsolicited rambling for the day.

      Glad you stopped by to connect Erica. I’m interested to see how you like the Blog Life course you spoke of on your blog, and P.S. What’s your Instagram name? I couldn’t get the link in your sidebar to work for me.

    • regina says

      Ahh, thank you Molly. I love your clean blog design, and I just had to pin your DIY polymer clay keychains, too cute. That’s a project I feel I’d be motivated to do.

      Thank you for taking time to stop by and to comment. I appreciate it.

  12. says

    This is a really useful post, and I actually found your website via Courtney of Think and Grow Chick, who I’m a huge fan of. I struggle to reach out to people because I have that thought that they must be too busy to speak to little ole me or that I have nothing to say of interest to them. Also, I don’t want to be a disappointment. You know when you’re a huge fan of someone, doesn’t mean they’ll feel the same way about you! Well at least that’s what my brain tells me.

    • regina says

      Leanne, wow, your site is so legit and wonderful. I would never know you had one ounce of hesitation reaching out to people. However, I understand what you’re saying, completely, I feel like. It was seriously only 2 – 3 months ago that I finally decided to reach out to one of my favorite bloggers . . . I was delighted by her response and I’ve been social ever since. P.S. I have the social skills of a major introvert most of the time.

      I’m glad that you stopped by and left a comment today. Thank you. And thanks to Courtney for sharing. I love that woman. Her post on “how to stop wasting money . . . ” is one of my favorites. Thanks again.

      • says

        Thanks Regina, my website had a make-over which went live exactly a week ago and I am really pleased with it. I’m glad you like it too. My personality is an odd one, I am so bubbly and always smiling and I can pretty much get on with anyone, however I am shy when it comes to speaking to people I don’t know, which people I do know find hard to believe. LOL so I guess I’m the same virtually. Yes, Courtney is amazing!

  13. says

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful tips Regina! It’s the first time I come here, the first time I comment here and the first time I really think you share GREAT content and insight on how to grow your blog… And it’s soooo important to have some BFF’s who really know what you’re talking about! In fact, I did meet a few BFF’s online through an online e-course of Holly Becker and that is also where I met my BFF who’s now busy making over my little blog (which will be going live soon)!
    Although I’m still not there where I want to be with my blog, your tips here are definitely worth gold! It’s so funny, I discovered your blog through Pinterest when I was searching for a good business plan for my blog. And wow, what a gem of information do you share here! I love love love you! :-) Hopefully I can grow my blog into a personal business (and a portfolio) so I can start writing freelance for other websites and magazines in the future… I will definitely use your worksheets because I seriously need to do some planning and organizing and start up an editorial calendar again if I want to grow my blog into serious business. ;-)
    So thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Hugs, Inge x

    • regina says

      Inge, wow. Thank you for such a wonderful compliment. Also, good luck with your new blog makeover. I can’t wait to see the new site. Even your “Coming Soon” page and Facebook page are cute, so I can only imagine the site will be fun.

      I hope you enjoy the process of growing your blog into your business and portfolio. Do you already have in mind which publications and sites you’ll write for? I feel you with the editorial calendar. I was going along without one for the longest, but now I absolutely love mine.

      Thank you for taking time to read and comment. Glad we found each other Inge. I hope to stay updated on all your work.

  14. says

    Oh-oh, I just reread my first sentence… :-) I actually meant that it’s the first time I discover a blog which really shares great content and information! :-)

  15. says

    What a crucial concept for success in business! Especially important for women. Thank you Regina for encouraging others to seek out business friendships. If anyone is looking to meet other women in business in a truly supportive setting, I’d recommend #Those4Girls Google+ community. They gals are the best! They join me in celebrateing business victories, give advice for overcoming challenges, and provide a constant stream of support. Again, thank you Regina for this awesome article! Can’t wait to share it with my BBFs. ~ Danielle

    • regina says

      Danielle, I agree with you that this is a crucial concept (especially for women) in business. Thank you for the community suggestion and thank you for stopping by and commenting + sharing.

  16. says

    As a newer blogger this is invaluable advice. I do love to read lots of different blogs but should be connecting and commenting more!

    Thanks Danielle for suggesting #Those4Girls Google+ group, I am going to check it out!

  17. says

    Regina, thank you for your insight! This blog post is so full of valuable content and I love how you present tips on finding your BFF online. I’ve met some wonderful people and collaborators and I hope I will be able to develop strong relationships over time.

  18. says

    Agree with all of these, most especially #1 and #2. These are by far the two biggest things I’ve done to make meaningful connections with others. It’s definitely about relationships, not numbers.

  19. says

    So glad I stumbled across your blog omg, praise the blog gods! I have a few bloggers who always comment and we chat on each others blogs and twitter. I’d love to make proper friends with some of them but worry I come across as weird or sucking up to someone. I would love a chance to meet other bloggers in real life! x

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