Collaboration over competition is the current social media buzz. I absolutely love it and believe in it wholeheartedly. I know that cannot do everything. As an over-achiever I have always believed that if you want things done properly, you have to do it yourself. Well, I’ve discovered through the years that it’s also the surest path to burnout.
I’ve said this before, web entrepreneurship can get very lonely. You work alone, you communicate through emails. You have no one to bounce off ideas with, there’s no one to tell you you did a great job, and there’s certainly no watercooler gossip to look forward to. I’m so happy that I found a few really fantastic Facebook groups for fellow entrepreneurs. At least now I don’t feel so alone anymore, and reading about how other people go through the same business issues really helps. Sometimes I even get out of my own introvert tendencies and share my own issues or share how I’ve solved a problem similar to what someone else is going through. I’m always in awe when I witness how the support of the group has helped members, myself included.
But what really excites me is actually collaborating with other creative entrepreneurs over a project. I’ve done this several times and I cannot speak highly enough of the process! You can bounce off ideas with each other, and so you come up with new ideas, or better versions of your old ones. The synergy created from working together creates a far better result than working alone — no matter how good you are. And you know the added bonus? I’ve also made great friends with the fabulous women I collaborate with.
How do we manage it?
Keep it real. Expect authenticity and deliver it. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t, or be someone you’re not.
Be picky. Choose your dream team members as carefully as you choose your bff. Make sure you click, and that your working styles are compatible. Sometimes you find this out later, but if you’re lucky, you meet them even before you work with them.
Be each other’s cheerleader. Keep a positive vibe and make it fun! Pat each other on the back — that’s the one thing only a team can do! Celebrate milestones and do a launch party even if you’re thousands of miles away from each other. Send each other virtual cupcakes or donuts. Build each other up in private and in public.
Listen to each other. Recognize that you all have different sets of skills, experiences, expertise. Listen and learn. Encourage candid feedback.
Focus on results. If you hit a snag, always focus on what you’re going to do about it in order to get to the result you want. No one ever achieved anything by poining fingers except making the other person angry. Remember that you’re all working together for a purpose. Stick to that purpose.
RESPECT. The most important element. Respect each other’s time, effort, and contributions. You are both busy. You are both good at what you do. Stick to agreed timelines and schedules. Respect and appreciate each other’s ideas and contributions. If you act like you know better, and keep questioning every single thing your team is doing, you’re not going to have an effective team.
This is something I highly recommend, particularly for those with complimentary fields. For example, I like to collaborate with brand and blog coaches as well as super techie people who can eat MySQL and PHP for breakfast.
How about you? Have you ever collaborated on a project before? How did it go? Would you do it again?