Recently, I polled some of my readers about collaborations. Many of them use collaborations regularly, but some of them never have. I asked that second group why and then boiled their responses down to these three reasons:
- Not sure they have enough value to offer a partner
- Afraid of bothering someone or being rejected
- Don’t have a plan for growth
Let’s look at each of these and figure out how we can get around them.
1. Not sure you have enough value to offer a partner
This one, honestly, goes back to having confidence in the assignment God has given you. You are here because you have products that can enhance and enrich our lives, services that transform someone’s path and a message that can heal hearts. You bring gifts, talents, skill and experience to the table. You are an expert at being you … You are exactly what somebody out there needs.
When you match up with the right partner who needs what you have, it can be the beginning of a long, cooperative, mutually-beneficial relationship. 1 Kings 5:1-12 tells the story of how King Solomon partnered with a neighboring king to complete a project. (I covered this passage in more detail in this post.) Near the end of the story, it says
Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty. (1 Kings 5:11-12, NIV)
These two strong leaders created a partnership that impacted their people for years. True collaboration is relational, not transactional.
2. Afraid of bothering someone or being rejected
News flash – you will bother some people and you will be rejected. Some people are going to say no. Some will say “not right now” but really mean no. And some will say “not right now” and really mean it. I have a podcast guest spot airing this month that I first pitched over a year ago! It took a long time for us to work it out, but it finally came together.
While it may be tempting to just delete that rejection email and forget you ever tried, there is still a lot to learn from it. Go back and study what you did to see what you might do differently. Getting a no is not the end of the world and doesn’t mean you are on the wrong track.
3. You don’t have a plan for growth
Not only is collaboration not a part of your growth plan, you don’t even HAVE a growth plan! Listen, I know this can sound intimidating. When we think of business plans, we think of a 20 page document full of charts and graphs and attached spreadsheets. That may be needed at some point, but it can be a whole lot simpler than that.
I started working with a new business coach this year and at our first meeting, I shared that I had some amazing people in my mastermind group, as clients and in the Do A New Thing community, but it wasn’t really growing. I was faithfully serving the people in front of me, but I felt stuck. She told me, “You have one job. Every day, get up and ask ‘How can I get in front of new people today?’” So I did. I actually started tracking what I did to get in front of new people every day, while still serving the people already in my community.
The plan for growth was as simple as that. One thing. New people. Every day. And not just any people, but the RIGHT people … the people who need the unique combination I have to offer. Collaborating with someone who was already speaking to those people helped me find them.
There are people are out there looking for you! They are looking for the solution to a problem you can solve. But they are confused because so many people say they can solve the problem for them. Now more than ever, we don’t know who to trust. Your shortcut to gaining their trust is by working with someone else they already trust. So figure out who is already talking to your people about other topics and then go work with them!