Relationship Dynamics in a Virtual Business
by Rachel Strella
28 Apr 2019
As I prepare for my interview for The Lisa Valentine Clark Show on May 6, I’ve been thinking about relationships in the online world. My securing an interview with Lisa, after participating in a Twitter conversation led by Lisa’s co-host, demonstrates how online connections can lead to new opportunities. My social media business is nearly 100 percent virtual, except for occasional face-to-face meetings with local clients or colleagues. The digital business landscape has opened up a world of possibilities that would not have been possible 25 years ago. It has also presented a fair share of challenges.
But hey, nothing is perfect, right?
Three Things I Love About Building Relationships in a Virtual World
- I have access to anyone in the world, literally.
In my virtual business, I can have team members, vendors, and clients from nearly anywhere on the planet. This allows me to find and work with a variety of interesting clients and contractors who have unique qualities and skillsets—even if those people are thousands of miles away.
- I have the flexibility of working from any location.
As long as I have my phone, laptop, and an internet connection, I can get the job done. No matter where I travel, near or far, I can communicate with prospects and clients and collaborate with my team without skipping a beat or falling behind.
- I can capitalize on my strengths as a leader and service professional.
As an introvert, I am more adept at communicating via the written word than verbally. Running a virtual business requires more writing and electronic collaboration than it does meetings and phone calls.
Three Things I Find Challenging About Building Relationships in a Virtual World
- It can be difficult to establish trust and maintain loyalty.
Some people are cautious about putting their confidence in someone they have never met in person. Also, without the face-to-face component, people sometimes find it easier to “pull the plug” on a working relationship.
- Some people think of my business as a 24/7 hotline.
Because I can work anywhere and anytime, some clients assume my team and I should be available around the clock, every day of the week, 365 days a year. Although I set expectations when establishing business relationships, people sometimes forget or ignore that boundaries exist.
- Technology doesn’t always play nice.
This is especially so with social media platforms. When social networks and tools experience bugs or outages, we have no control. Technical hiccups always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times! And, depending on the issues and their duration, they can cause a myriad of problems and ripple effects.
So Much More to Say!
As you can see, running a remote business has its ups and downs. I could go on and on about this topic. If you want to hear more about my take on virtual relationships, join me on Monday, May 6 on The Lisa Valentine Clark Show! Tune in at 8:40 am ET on byuradio.org.