I LOVE traveling.
Like, seriously, love it. There’s no better feeling than being on a bus or train, and watching the miles speed by (or km, in most of the world). Many of my best memories involve some type of travel. Like the time a security guard fro’ed my hair in Cuba. Or the time I bonded with some teachers on a boat in the Philippines because they were listening to my favorite Rascal Flatts song on repeat.
Most of my most life-changing experiences on the road involve connecting with others. And when I’ve had the privilege of traveling with others, I’ve seen more, pushed myself to challenge my fears more, and just had better trips overall.
Building a business is taking a journey into the unknown.
It’s like backpacking – even though you know some things about where you’re going, many of the details are unclear. And it’s absolutely essential to have others walking the path by your side.
Fellow travelers will motivate you, push you to innovate more, and keep you on track.
But where do you meet them? How do you build relationships with them? How does it all work?
First of all, there are many different types of fellow travelers. Here are a few:
- Co-working friends – people who live where you do and whom you can work beside and share insights with
- Mastermind buddies – people who are also working on their businesses and with whom you can talk and brainstorm regularly
- Supportive community-members – people who are in the same communities as you – both online and off – who will support you informally, and not necessarily one-on-one
- Collaborators – people who have businesses that can complement your own, with whom you can create new offerings
- Back-rubbers – people who believe in “I’ll rub your back, and you rub mine,” with whom you can trade-off writing guest blog posts, or giving client referrals
Where can you find these fellow travelers?
Fellow travelers are everywhere. You can find them in Facebook groups, on Twitter, at conferences, meetup groups, and in courses, both online and off. The beauty is that it’s not hard to find other people who want support, and who want to support you.
The key is to know you want them in your life, and to have a method for contacting them.
It’s actually not hard to develop relationships with fellow travelers. Once you know you want help and support on the journey, all you need is a way of connecting.
Here are my methods:
1. Join Facebook groups with people who have similar interests to my own.
2. Give people feedback and support.
3. Ask for feedback and support for my own projects.
4. Identify people whom I respect and who are doing exciting things with their businesses.
5. Send a personal message asking if they want to connect over the phone. This message includes 3 elements: 1. A note about why I think their business rocks. 2. Something about why I want to connect. 3. A link to my online scheduler (this makes it super easy to schedule a time to talk).
6. Have a genuine conversation and get to know them and learn about their business.
7. Figure out if they are fellow-traveler, and remain open to different possibilities.
1. Join Meetup groups where I think like-minded people will congregate
2. Go to a few meetings and get to know repeat attendees
3. Invite people for a coffee date to get to know them better
See #6 and #7 above.
There is no specific formula for how many of each type of fellow traveler you should have in your life.
Just as your business is a unique reflection of you, your goals, your dreams, and what you have to offer, your mix of fellow travelers will be unique to who you are.
Here are my numbers, in case you’re curious:
I have 1 in person co-working friend in Miami and 1 in Denver (where I moved from 3 months ago). I have 4 mastermind buddies, 3 in different states and 1 here in Miami. I am part of 3 supportive Facebook groups (which are actually really powerful communities). My best friend and I collaborated on a business back in Denver, and I am hoping to create some collaborative relationships in the near future as well. I have probably around 10 or so back-rubbing relationships at the moment, but am always growing that number.
These numbers may seem small, but these relationships have literally changed my life.
Here’s something you can do right here and now to start building relationships that will keep you motivated and on track in your business.
Re-read the 5 types of fellow-travelers I identified earlier. Now set a timer for 5-10 minutes and visualize having these relationships in your life. See them as if they’re already happening. Imagine the conversations you are having with your fellow-travelers. Feel the increased motivation and excitement you have for your business. See the collaborative projects you are creating.
Now identify one Facebook group where you can meet your fellow travelers. Join and give one person feedback.
You’re already on your way to developing life-changing relationships.
Who are your “fellow travelers?” Give them a shout out in the comments below.