A Xolopreneur's guide to building top-notch business relationships
on April 28, 2023 • 3 minute read
Building and maintaining excellent work relationships can make all the difference in maximizing your digital-nomad lifestyle.
As a digital nomad, you have the opportunity to collaborate and work with a diverse range of individuals and businesses across the globe. This is one of the many exciting aspects of being a Xolopreneur. It allows you to network with people from different cultures and backgrounds, including clients and coworkers.
However, working with people who have varying work styles, ethics, and goals can be as challenging as it is rewarding, particularly when you are managing multiple projects. It can be especially difficult when your expectations and those of your clients are not aligned.
Unrealistic expectations can put a lot of strain on a business relationship, but with a little work, you can overcome them. Here are three ways to build smooth, effective, and productive business relationships.
#1. Build a culture of collaborative and honest communication
Effective communication is a cornerstone of any successful relationship, be it personal or professional. A study published in Personal Relationships showed that individuals who communicate efficiently and collaboratively tend to have higher levels of satisfaction in their relationships.
When collaborating with others, it's important to ensure that both parties feel heard and respected. Active listening is a key component of effective communication, and it involves paying attention to what the other person is saying and trying to understand their perspective.
It's also important to be willing to compromise and find common ground. Anything less and you may risk damaging the relationship and causing misunderstandings that stand in the way of fostering healthy, productive relationships with your clients and team.
For example, if you are working from a beach in Bali or a remote village in Mexico, it's important to communicate your online availability schedule with your team or clients. By being open and honest about your internet availability, you can work with your team to find solutions or adjust deadlines to accommodate any connectivity challenges you may face.
Effective communication can help prevent issues before they arise and build stronger and more productive work relationships.
#2. Strike a balance between having a clear vision and being open to adjusting your plans as needed
To provide exceptional service to clients, it's crucial to strike a balance between having clear goals and being open to adjusting your plans as needed. This requires acknowledging that there may be instances where you need to demonstrate flexibility regarding the project's plan.
According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people in successful romantic relationships understand that a successful relationship needs constant nourishment and that ‘destiny’ has little to do with it. They are more likely to stay together by paying attention to relationship stressors and taking responsibility when things go wrong. The same principle can be applied to your relationship with clients.
Remember that your clients chose to work with you because you are an expert in your field, and they trust you to guide them towards the best solution for their needs. This may involve brushing up on relevant skills by, say, learning a new programming language that best suits your client's requirements.
By being open-minded and adaptable, you can set yourself apart as a service provider and build long-term relationships with satisfied clients.
#3. Don’t let work define your life
Maintaining a balance between work and play can be challenging as a digital nomad who is always on the move. However, it is essential if you want to present the best version of yourself to your clients and make the most of your relationship with them.
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology showed that people who reduce themselves down to one attribute – their job, for instance – are more likely to feel dehumanized (like nothing more than a machine or tool) and have higher levels of disengagement, depression, and burnout.
This highlights the importance of diversifying your sense of self. You can start by investing in several facets of your life. For instance:
- Spend time on your hobbies. Pick a new one or get back to something that you might have abandoned.
- Get your fitness regimen back on track. Look into enhancing your mental and physical well-being through activities that encourage you to move your body.
Diversifying your identity can prevent you from losing any sense of who you are and can help build perspective. This also allows you to approach a client or a project with a sense of excitement and proactivity that you are unlikely to experience if your day feels like one big chunk of work.
Cultivating a culture of honest and collaborative communication prevents misunderstandings. Balancing a clear vision with adaptability helps you provide excellent services to clients. And, by diversifying your sense of self with hobbies and fitness, you can maintain perspective and prevent burnout. These tips will enable you to build long-lasting, productive relationships that foster your growth as a Xolopreneur, both professionally and personally.
Mark Travers, Ph.D., is an American Psychologist with degrees from Cornell University and the
University of Colorado Boulder. Xolo helps him run his online therapy practice, Awake Therapy, from whatever part of the world he is currently living in.