Solopreneurs and the art of collaboration

by Michele on September 19, 2013

The Secret Collaborative EconomyI admit, I thought I was a pretty good collaborator but now I know I can do a lot better.  I’ve been reading the book The Secret Collaborative Economy by Marsha Wright, and although I’m only a little ways into the book it’s already changed me.

Some people may think that solopreneurs don’t collaborate.  After all, the very nature of a solopreneur business is that we work primarily by ourselves.  However, this is a false belief and one that greatly limits the potential of a solopreneur business.  I’ve used joint ventures a lot over the years, and it’s a great way to bring someone else’s strengths to your audience.

I’ve also done a lot of networking, and the results have been less than stellar.  I thought I was doing a good job of building relationships because I was doing more than pretty much everyone I ever met.  I now know what I can do better and how I can better use my time and the time of the people I meet.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned about collaborating so far:

  1. Not everyone is a collaborator.  That’s neither bad nor good, nor is it meant to be an insult to anyone.  Some people just don’t work that way or they haven’t found it valuable.  I realized that over the years, I’ve put way too much time and effort into trying to build collaborative relationships with people who didn’t have any interest.  Now, I’m much quicker to recognize collaborators and let go of people who aren’t interested in working that way right now.
  2. Always ask what you can do for the other person first.  I’ve had conversations with both Marsha and her business partner/husband Simon, and they both started their conversations this way.  It floored me and I have to say, as a smaller player it made me feel awesome!
  3. When someone asks how they can help you, make sure you have an answer!  Don’t assume people know what kinds of help or introductions you need right now.  Here are some examples: referrals for outsourced help you need, introductions to people that can promote you, connections to a group you want to present to and referral of prospects.  Make sure you are specific enough so that the other person recognizes the the opportunity you are seeking.

You may already know these things, but take a look at your networking and connection activities and make sure you are acting on them.  They are all simple tips to act on, but will make a big difference in your outcomes and how you feel.  Grab The Secret Collaborative Economy, and leave me a comment with something you learned.






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