5 REASONS WE LOVE TO COLLABORATE (and why you should too)

Collaboration has been one of my strongest values right from the very beginning of my business journey. I am a strong believer that we rise and grow by doing it together and learning from each other.  Lucky for us, the little gem of an app that is Instagram has made collaborating with other brands so easy and effortless. Over the years, we have worked with countless brands and grown an amazing reputation just by reaching out through social media and being open to new collaboration opportunities.

Now of course, these results take time, and all the amazing opportunities won’t just roll in overnight, but I promise you when they do - it will all be worth it. 

If you’re thinking about starting to collaborate with other businesses for the first time, or just do a whole lot more of it, I’m going to walk you through the reasons we love collaboration, plus a few tips on how to get started and do it right!

1. It brings us together 

Collaboration trumps competition every time. This can be a big mindset shift, but the reality is; if you have a great offering, then there is plenty of business to go around for everyone. Yes, it’s important to be aware of what businesses out there are similar to your own, but do we need to do everything in our power to tear those businesses down just to get ahead? No! 

When you have good relationships with others in your field, you can share work around when one person is booked-out, share ideas to lift each other’s game, and just surround yourself with awesome, like-minded people!

The thing is, working in your own business (especially if you’re a solo-biz owner) can be super isolating. Amazing, yes - but also isolating. However, when we can collaborate with others in our field, or those with complementary skills, it creates a little team and sense of community that not only helps us achieve more, but actually enjoy doing it too.

2. You can learn from other industries 

It’s amazing what you can learn from other business owners - even if they’re in different industries to you. Ultimately, a lot of us all go through very similar experiences, even if we have a totally different skill or target market. The more you can talk and collaborate with other business owners, the more you can help each other solve problems, by sharing your experiences. 

You can even expand your knowledge into knew spaces as well, and learn specialist insights from other industries that might be helpful for your customers - or even you personally!

Also keep in mind that some industries are more up-to-date with new ideas and ways of running their business than others. If you feel like the other business owners around you in the same field are doing things a little too “old-school” (for no added benefit), try linking up with people in design, marketing, technology or any other industry that is embracing change. They might just be able to show you a new way of doing something that could make you a trailblazer in your own industry!

3. It helps grow your audience

Cross-promotion is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book, and collaborating with other businesses helps you achieve this. On top of all the goodness we’ve mentioned so far, collaboration has the bonus effect of allowing you to get in front of each other’s audience. It’s a win-win for both sides!

For this reason, think about what businesses you could collaborate with that might share a target market, and focus on working with them. It could be teaming up with a florist if you’re a wedding photographer, or working with a web designer if you’re a Facebook ads specialist.

Also think about the size of that business’ audience versus yours. Naturally, the more you can collaborate with brands that have a similar, or slightly bigger audience than your own, the better! However, the number one priority should be teaming up with people that you genuinely believe in and share values with. This is what really makes collaboration work.

4. It opens your mind

One of the challenges of working in your own business is it’s much harder to bounce around ideas (unlike working in a big team!). Collaboration can really help fill this gap.

It’s incredible how just talking to someone else about their business has the power to really open your mind, get inspiration flowing and help you discover new ideas to implement in your own biz. This is even more powerful for those of us in creative arenas where we’re always hunting for our next source of inspiration!

Collaborating with others can also really help shift your mindset. After all, they say we are the product of the five people we spend the most time around. So my tip is to surround yourself with people that are on the same wavelength as you (or maybe even closer to where you want your mindset to be) and you’ll find they’ll rub off on you - in a good way! Positivity breeds positivity. 

5. It sparks passion

And what happens when we get that magical combination of sharing ideas, feeling a sense of community and growing our business? It helps keep us passionate and excited about what’s ahead!

It’s so easy to start feeling lonely or uninspired when you start on the small biz owner journey (so don’t worry if you’re feeling that way right now!) but if you can implement the ideas above, this will all start to turn around.

The more you do it, the easier it gets, and this build up of passion and excitement will help drive you to keep collaborating. To get this flow-on effect happening, it’s really important to be consistent. Remember not everyone you contact is going to want to do something with you, but if you’re being genuine, and invest the time in building relationships, It will all pay off eventually. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little time to get the ball rolling.

So what do you think - do you see the value in collaboration? I’d love to hear your experiences with it, and maybe we can even collaborate together sometime!

Cass Deller