Raise your hand if you are an introverted business owner like me! The longer I have been in this entrepreneurial space, the more introverts I come across. One of the ways I have been working to beat those introverted tendencies is through coffee chats. This practice is perfect for any business owner – introverted or extroverted.
When I first started hosting coffee chats, I didn’t think they’d have nearly as big of an impact as they ended up having for me. Several people have asked over the past few months about my process and how it has helped my business, so this post will share it all!
So what exactly is a coffee chat?
It’s a catchy name I discovered from Reina. Basically, it’s just like going to meet someone at your favorite coffee shop to catch up and talk. Except, in this case, you’re meeting virtually! It is a casual and fun setting. Nothing too fancy about it. Most times I grab a cup of my favorite caffeine source and hop on a video chat with a person I’m excited to get to know better.
Coffee chats are a chance to learn more about someone and to make a connection. They are NOT the place to pitch a service, product, etc. Whenever I meet with someone, we talk about things like business, family, where we live, and hobbies.
My favorite part of a coffee chat is when I learn how I can support this new connection. In a world full of competing businesses, it’s nice to be able to extend some love and support.
The struggles of coffee chats
I wanted to share a few of the challenges that you may come across during these coffee chats. The two main struggles that I see the most are nerves and feeling like you may be wasting your time with a simple conversation.
You experience nerves
For us introverted business owners, it can be a huge challenge to get on a call with someone we’ve never talked to before, other than a few messages back and forth on social media.
I completely understand this feeling. I used to get extremely nervous before a call. However, the more calls I took and the more people I met, the less nervous I got each time.
I prep for each call beforehand to help too. I review their social media, website, and getting a list of questions ready for when the conversation slows down a bit.
Here are a few of my go-to questions!
- Where are you from?
- When did you get started in business?
- What do you do?
- Why did you start your own business?
- What do you do outside of business?
- Do you have kids?
- What are you working on right now?
- How can I support you?
It’s normal to have conversations that flow more naturally than others. That’s just how it goes! Some people are great at conversation and some aren’t. Just cut it short if the conversation isn’t coming easily for the two of you – usually it will!
You feel like you’re wasting time
Before you start seeing a return on coffee chats, it can be a struggle to feel like you’re wasting time sitting and chatting. Especially if you have limited business hours due to kids or another job.
Some quick tips to help with this:
Limit yourself to a certain number of coffee chats per month – I usually do 2
Schedule your coffee chats during a time where you usually want a break from work anyways – For example, if you tend to lose your focus mid-afternoon, schedule your chats for that time
Know that over time you will see a return
How these chats have shaped my business
In general, my business has become so much more connection based. I used to talk to the same few people all day everyday. While I, of course, still love these people, it is so nice to see another business owner on my social media feed and know them better thanks to our conversation over coffee.
Plus, extending my network this way leads to a bigger group of business owners I can refer clients too – whether it’s coaching, copywriting, design, etc.
Another benefit I’ve seen is how my confidence has grown in consult calls with potential clients! I no longer get those crazy pre-call jitters. Since I’ve talked about what I do during coffee chats, I’ve gotten better at talking about my services and my closing rate has increased a ton.
While I don’t expect each coffee chat to turn into a client, they usually turn into an advocate for my services. Each person you talk to is one more person who knows you and your business. I quickly went from putting my name in the ring for projects posted in Facebook groups to having several people refer me for the job before I even saw the posting.
I’m no longer afraid to reach out to people for things big or small and have learned that we’re all so similar. We’re working hard to build a successful business, we love talking to people who are doing the same thing, and we’re all looking for good connections!
Knowing all of this makes it SO much easier to reach out for collaborations, projects, connections and more!
The coffee chat challenge
So now that you know the benefits coffee chats have had for my business, I challenge you to try it out! Schedule two coffee chats in the next 30 days. Post about it on social media, email that business owner you have always wanted to talk to (hint: don’t use “pick your brain” in your email to them) and put yourself out there!
Once you book a call, don’t forget to do some research and get those questions ready!