One of the most talked about ways to grow your email list, increase your online presence, build relationships/business buddies, establish authority and so on, is to collaborate. If you are a new blogger or getting your fit wet in the online business world, then you are probably left wondering, "what does collaboration mean?"
Really quick, collaborating is simply teaming up with another blogger, freelancer, or entrepreneur and working on a project together. This does not have to include an exchange of funds where one pays the other to collaborate together. As a matter of fact, no money has to be involved at all. Here are some possible collaboration ideas:
- exchanging guest post on each other's website
- Blab broadcast
- linky parties
- social circle
- mastermind/accountability group
- webinars & workshops (with a pitch or no pitch)
- joint product or an ultimate service packaging
- giveaways (such as The Ultimate 2016 Business Launch Giveaway below)
There are endless ways of collaborating and a million reason to do so. More on that in another post. Today, I want to chat with you about what many don't talk about often. I want to share with you 3 lessons learned from collaborations.
Get clear & firm on the goals of the collaboration
When I started building my online presence, I heard all the amazing benefits collaborations could do for my business and for my personal life,and I immediately begin to find like-minded people to collaborate with. Anytime I saw an opportunity to partner with someone who I concluded would be a great fit for one of my million ideas, I would put myself out there and introduce myself.
Now understand, there is nothing wrong with this approach if you know your exact goal of the possible partnership and how you both would benefit one another. But if you do not know your intentions as well as your future partner's then, you are setting yourself up for a bad collaboration. What successful partnership, collaboration or relationship have you been in that started off on unclear goals? Probably not many, if any.
Just like with any intimate relationship, you want to get clear on what you expect from the other person, what you will deliver as part of the relationship and how you both would impact each other lives. We may not be intimate but, I want my collaborations to hold the same respects with firm standards.
What do you need to do to be sure your collaboration has clear and firm goals?
1. Be picky on who you decide to collaborate with.
May sound harsh but, everyone will not be beneficial to your or your business and you have to be aware of it from the first point of contact. Check out their social media and look for things that stand out to you which you would not want to associate with. Look through their blog content and see if you can relate to their personality and writing style. Do you enjoy their content? Can it add to your business and audience experience?
At the same time, look for what you enjoy about them and determine if it is a good fit for you and your partner at that time.
2. Engage in small talk. Put yourself out there.
Interact with them on Twitter, Facebook groups, Periscope commentary, blog post comments and wherever they hang out.
Don't go searching for 'em. That, will be a tad bit, okay, all the way creepy.
Let the engagement happen naturally but, when you have the chance to send a comment, reply, advice or a plain ole' 'Hey", take the opportunity to do so. Eventually, they will do the same to you, if they are interested, and your forward efforts will pay off.
3. When the opportunity comes, reach out for a possible collaboration with an idea in mind.
This is vital. Think about if you were talking with this person face to face. You wouldn't come to them saying, "Hey, I want to collaborate. Not sure on the topic or how but, let's exchange emails so when I think of something you will be the first to know."
Umm, no! Would I give my email out to this person? Not at all.
So that you won't be the "just in case" collaborator, approach the partnership with an idea in mind and a plan of action. If plans have to change after you've discussed details, great! This means progress and the collaboration is moving in a direction of clear and firm goals.
4. Set those clear and firm goals and intentions.
Don't wait until you have finalized plans and decide to set your goals. No, set your clear goals upon first opportunity in the 'get more details' conversation. Make them clear and to the point.
Some examples goals would be
- establishing the time frame (due date) of the collaboration
- the main accomplishment at the end of the collaboration
Examples of intention goals would be
- knowing who does what
- understanding the timeline/plan of action
5. Make it happen. Start working on your collaboration to push towards your goals.
After all the housekeeping steps are in order, now is the time to get to the good part!
Plan & Prepare for the 'what if' situations
You know those situations where something happens and one person is left hanging or your expectations aren't what you hoped it would be, what would you do during those times?
This is the time where the saying, 'hope for the best but plan for the worst' comes into play. Listen, no matter how optimistic you are or how full your glass is, set yourself up in the beginning by preparing for the 'what if' situations.
Talk with your partner and be open about it. If something was to happen before, during or after your collaboration, then what will need to take place? How would the other person move forward? Is the collaboration void if certain situations play out?
Think of every angle and have an open conversation to know where the other person's respect and loyalty lies. You know your lines to not cross, make it known but, also, hear what they have to say. Many times, collaborations should end here, however, we keep going hoping for the best. Take heed to what they are saying and let them speak. Too much talking on your end will result in automatic agreements that were never vocalize.
Thus, ending in failure.
Know When To Walk Away
No, I am not saying to walk away without discussing your decision with your partner but, I am saying know when the collaboration is not fulfilling your goals, deadlines or expectations aren't met and when you have the gut feeling that things are not right.
This can be a hard decision to make but, the risk of your business, audience, content or anything else on the line is not worth it. Know when to say, this is not flowing like I'd hope, this is not for me at this time or this is not what I had in mind and to explain your reasoning.
Even if this is a couple collaborations down the line, be open and honest about how you feel and what you do and don't like will allow your partner to determine if they are okay with making adjustments. If not, then because of the mutual understanding, it makes it easier to allow for a short-term pause within your collaboration or a no-hard-feelings end of your collaboration.
As an entrepreneur time is vital and wasting someone else's time does not leave a great impression and can stain further partnerships of any kind. So be transparent and allow for the other person to reason with you, come to a new understanding and agreement and decide how you will move forward due to the new circumstances.
Nothing is set in stone and a quick game plan change can easily be put into place.
Collaborations are a load of fun and will open door for you and set new paths to try out many different ways to build your business. I definitely recommend them as long as you take my lessons learned and use them to your advantage.
And since we are on the topic of collaborations, I want to be sure I share with you this super fantastic giveaway I am participating in with 10 other phenomenal women and online business owners. This is a collaboration gone right!
I know first hand the winner, will have the opportunity to launch their business with the BEST products, services, and courses. Take your blog, idea or starter business to new heights & enter in today.
Check out what these entrepreneurs are all about below & get in on the giveaway while you can!
The Ultimate 2016 Business Launch Kit
Here is a 15-minute Periscope I recorded a couple weeks ago which really go into these three topics plus, some extra commentary. Skip ahead to 1:09 to get straight into the content. (Yeah, I don't do much fluff talk on Periscope either & excuse the #latenightchat look) Feel free to hop on one of my scopes here and let's chat!