The Business of Friendship: Meet Shasta Nelson, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen

Shasta Nelson is a relationship expert and the author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen. She is also the CEO of a female friendship-matching site called, which she created after recognizing that many of her life coaching clients were having a hard time finding meaningful relationships with other women. I recently had Shasta on my show, Solopreneur on the Whatever It Takes network, to talk about the importance of fostering deep connections and why they’re crucial to health and productivity.

In this episode, Shasta explains that while we live in a world that seems more connected than ever, most of us report not having the connection we want. She shares startling research about loneliness—it’s as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and twice as harmful to our bodies as obesity!

She also explains why it’s especially important for solopreneurs, many of whom are no longer surrounded by colleagues during the workday, to regularly take time out to interact with friends and contacts (it’ll not only boost your well-being, she says—it’ll also help your business).

Here’s some more about Shasta, why she thinks the fear of rejection holds us back from intimacy, and how she knew she was meant to connect people.

Do you have a day job?

I’ve been doing this for over 6 years but am constantly creating new “side jobs” under the umbrella of friendship such as coaching programs, international trips, retreats, and e-books.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

A war correspondent on the news.  Then in college I decided I’d much rather be someone working to make the world a better place (preventing wars!) than covering them!

When did you realize this was (or wasn’t) going to happen?

In college when I felt excitement about possibly becoming a pastor.

What is it about your life now that you can’t believe you do, and wouldn’t believed if someone told you 5-10 years ago?

That I am in the middle of writing my 2nd book for a publishing house.  It was always a dream, but now to not only have done it once but to have the opportunity to do it again?  Awesome!

Where do you think most of us waste our time? What do you recommend doing to change it?

In the world of friendships, we waste a lot of time worrying about people not liking us instead of initiating and adding value to people’s lives in ways that build strong friendships. By fearing rejecting or taking everything personally, we miss out on the intimacy we most want!

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given (and did you take it)?

Anytime someone has cautioned me to stay the “same” out of their fear of what the “new” might hold for me. I’m sure I have heeded their fears at times but I’d like to think that for the most part, I have continued to take risks for the people, causes, and opportunities that I believe in.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time 10 years?

Sign up for every workshop that will tell you more about yourself and take every inventory that will tell you how you’re wired so that you can benefit from this wisdom in as many ways as possible!

What lesson(s) did you learn the hard way (could be your career, or life in general)? 

That just having a good idea isn’t enough. I went into my business hoping that if people heard about my website that they’d sign up. Ha! It’s often a bit disillusioning to all of us that the process of growing a business often takes longer than any of us wish it did. Healthy expectations are crucial!

Any other advice you want solopreneurs/entrepreneurs to know? Resources you recommend or folks you like? 

Take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 inventory. And hire a coach who can really help you understand what that means for how you’re wired, identify your sweet spot, manage your weaknesses, and know where you most need help from others. If you don’t know any strengths coaches, my husband Gregory Nelson is one of the best! Secondly, figure out your Enneagram type. My favorite book on it is The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

For more about Shasta and her tips on how to nurture your existing friendships and jumpstart new ones, visit her website, follow her on Twitter at @girlfrndcircles, and pick up her new book, Friendships Don’t Just Happen!: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends.

Watch a new episode of Solopreneur every Tuesday at 4pm ET!