Solopreneur Smarts: Collaboration & Partnership Require Care!

Both budding and longstanding solopreneurs understand that one of the many values afforded to us with the development and maintenance of a strong and diverse social presence is the opportunity for collaboration and strategic partnership.

Without having to leave the comforts of our desk chairs, without having to track mileage or battle the elements, we can meet, greet and create killer connections with our online peers.

It’s fantastic and fascinating, but it’s also got a downside. Sadly, sometimes you find yourself getting the short end of the stick when you settle in to share and seek opportunity with the “wrong” collaborative partner.

[clickToTweet tweet=”A strong social presence creates opportunity for collaborations and partnerships.” quote=”A strong social presence creates opportunity for collaborations and partnerships.”]

The Collaboration Conundrum

Sidebar: Have you ever noticed that my titles and subtitles often sound like Big Bang Theory episode titles? Just me? Moving on …

Though many of my new readers might mistakenly label me a cynic or a pessimist, I’m actually the opposite when it comes to partnerships and collaborative opportunities. I’m the gal wearing the rose-colored glasses, always believing the best about my peers and connections. I believe in the benefits of barter and trade.

That being said, and even though I’ve benefited from many mutually beneficial trade and barter agreements, I have gotten hosed a time or two.

Last year I decided to partner up in a trade agreement with a seemingly smart and savvy solopreneur in what I thought would be a fantastically beneficial boost to both of our businesses.

Sadly, though she insisted on a contract even though no money was to exchange hands, something which would normally assuage any concerns as it seems uber-legit, she disappeared mid-project having never delivered me a single thing. Nothing, nada, zilch, zip. And though I faced a family emergency during the timeline for the project, and did ask for a small postponement, I still supplied her with actual and tangible deliverables, not just worksheets and pre-work questionnaires.

Sure, I could have continued to harass her and demand delivery on something since I’d held up my end of the deal and actually delivered to her. But at that point I wanted all things to do with her done. I finalized the logo I’d designed her and sent it. I doubt she’ll ever use it, as it appears she’s completely disappeared off the face of the earth, or at least social media.

But you can bet your sweet bippy that logo will be showing up in the cutting room floor section of my design portfolio (coming soon)!

Collaborations Can’t Be Casual!

So. There you have it. I’ve been on the receiving end of some failed attempts when it comes to collaboration and partnerships.

It hasn’t soured me on the potential and benefits of a killer collaboration, though. You simply have to go into the collaborative effort with the proper precautions and systems in place.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Successful collaborations rarely embrace ‘by the seat of my pants’ planning and execution.” quote=”Successful collaborative efforts rarely embrace ‘by the seat of my pants’ planning and execution.”]

Top Tips For Creating Killer Collaborations & Partnerships

  • Someone MUST to take ownership of the collaboration or partnership. While it’s all find and dandy to think that a collective group can make decisions, it tends create more problems than solutions. Discussions can drag on and go off course for so long that actual action never gets taken. Someone has to be the final “next step” taker within the collaborative group. Someone has to ensure the process stays on track, ensuring the group and the project eventually take the steps to reach the end goal or purpose that spawned the idea for collaborating in the first place.
  • Deadlines are even more important, dare I say CRUCIAL, within a dynamic or group setting. When you miss a deadline and you’re the only person working on a project, it’s only an inconvenience for you – and possibly the single client who asked you to take on the project. When you’re working on a collaborative concern, that missed deadline inconveniences the entire group and can set up a chain reaction of continued delays and distractions.
  • You MUST choose your collaborative partners with care. Is everyone willing to do the work involved to make the collaboration a success? Will a partner or group member put the group project on the back burner when a project for their own company appears to takes precedent? Do the collaborators know how much time/involvement is involved to make a success of the collaboration?
  • Each member must know the expectations of the collaboration. Once you select and name the owner/boss of the effort, that person has to share the plan, the course of action and any and all expectations with all others taking part in the collaborative effort. So far, I’ve yet to work with a mindreader and to expect your group to read your mind or understand your intent via osmosis is unrealistic and could set your collaborative effort on the road to disaster.
  • Don’t let partnerships and group projects take over and devalue your core business. While collaborative efforts can result in income for the group, they can’t and shouldn’t be entered into if it comes at the expense of your main business purpose and function. Your business overhead and expenses still remain. Make sure your main income pipeline doesn’t take a hit. You, your clients and your business MUST come first.
  • Collaborate with the proper intent and purpose. If you were waiting for one of my patented turns of phrase, the wait is now over! You must determine and set a course to achieve actual goals. You must measure benchmarks, real and perceived ROI and real and perceived value. Unless the collaboration is for fun only passion project, or a hobby group, there has to be a firm bottom line. What is the collaboration working toward? What is the intent, the purpose? What is the end goal?

Collaborations Can Be Killer!

I have felt the pain and the pleasure of collaborative efforts. When they’re good, they are oh so VERY good. But when they go bad, they can go bad with a vengeance and cause irreparable damage to friendships, reputations and your business. I hope you’ll keep my tips in mind as you undertake any collaboration with the proper care, intent, purpose and ultimate end goal!

Originally published at Extensive revisions and updates made before reposting here.

Solopreneur Smarts: Collaboration & Partnership Require Care!

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