In part one of this little three-part series, I shared the “stop doing list” as a simple way to make business more fun, both in the short-term and long-term.
Now let’s talk about something too many people overlook.
2. Make friends.
They say “don’t mix business with pleasure,” but I think that’s about the dumbest business advice I’ve ever heard.
What fun is anything in life without friends? If you don’t have real friends in business, how can you expect to have fun at what you do?
I’ve always tried to have friends at work, and it has made a huge difference, especially in situations that would have been unbearable otherwise. Some of those friendships are very meaningful to me still today, even after 5, 10 or even 15 years (yes, I’m getting old).
When you work for yourself or when you become the boss, the importance of having friends in business can easily be forgotten. Instead of looking to co-workers to fill this role, you have to work harder and look to other people you do business with (peers, partners, other entrepreneurs, advisors).
There’s no big secret to making friends. You have to put yourself in situations where you can meet people. Get a little uncomfortable and introduce yourself. Don’t network, just be a real person and say hello. Get to know people for who they are, not for what they can do to help your business.
This can happen either in-person or online.
You can really get to know people pretty well over a video chat, although in-person forms stronger bonds (you can try sharing a beer over Skype, but it’s not as effective).
You’ll naturally connect with some of the people you meet, and you won’t with others. Don’t force the relationships, just let them happen as they will. The trick is to meet lots of people so you can find the compatible ones faster.
I just returned from BlogWorld in LA over the weekend. Honestly, it didn’t feel like a business trip because I’ve been lucky to make so many friends in the blogging community over the past few years. We had a ridiculously great time, and I really look forward to these in-person events instead of dreading them like you might a normal business conference.
Having friends in business is a must if you want to make it fun. Start by emailing 10 people in businesses similar to yours and ask them if they’d like to Skype or get together for coffee.
Don’t worry about the ones who don’t get back to you. Like I said, you’ll connect with some people and not with others. That’s life. Don’t worry about the people you don’t click with.
Have you made many real friends in business? What tips can you share for meeting new and interesting people? Have you found it difficult to form strong bonds because of your work situation?
Let’s chat about it in the comments.