Last week I had the privilege of meeting, for the first time, a great friend I met online.

My friend’s name is Rachel Strella, the owner of Strella Social Media. She started her business July 2010 and has been going strong ever since.

Rachel lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. From my house, in London, Ontario, it is only an eight hour drive. The ride to her place was very pretty – so many mountains. Unfortunately I had my GPS set to ‘no tolls’. Where I live, we do not have mountains. The mountains we climbed on our trip at times were steep. You know the old saying what goes up must come down? It’s true. You go up a steep mountain; you come down a steep mountain.

Visiting the office of Strella Social Media was inspirational. I was excited to attend their weekly staff meeting. It’s been a long time since I attended a staff meeting. It was at the meeting when I realized how it’s helpful to bounce ideas off someone else. For those of us who work alone, don’t be afraid to bounce off ideas virtually with someone. Pick up the phone, email them, and even send them a message on Facebook. Chances are they will be more than happy to listen to your ideas and give you honest feedback. The staff meeting helped me understand how her business works and how I could improve my business.

I spent the morning at the office where I watched Rachel and her staff develop social media strategies for their customers. The afternoon was spent away from the office. It was at this time I got to know Rachel better, talked a bit more about social media, meet her family and discuss her experience creating her latest product “A Small Business Owner’s Guide to Social Media”.

Five things I learned that help reinforce what I already do in both my personal and business life:

1. Always be organized
2. Be open to new ideas
3. Embrace all friendships – business, personal, or otherwise
4. It’s the small details that count
5. Keep being passionate about everything you do

If you get an opportunity to visit someone who has a similar business, please make sure you do. Not only do get to meet this person and create a new friend but it allows you to learn and inspire from each other and pass ideas back and forth.

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