Coming back from The Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs last week, I sat on the plane reflecting on the power of connection. Meeting business partners in person, making new friends, chatting with potential clients—it all lights me up in a huge way. There’s a certain electricity that generates when you blend brilliant creatives with huge ideas. It sticks to you; you come home with 101 new things to implement in to your own business model, and a seemingly endless supply of energy to get it done. Talk about productivity!
So how can we harness this collaborative energy on a day-to-day basis instead of once or twice a year? Can we generate creative electricity to fuel our businesses?
Sure we can.
1. Create a brain trust.
The thing I miss most about working in a traditional office is the ability to bounce ideas & chat with my co-workers. So I’ve created what I like to call a “brain trust”—a small group of fellow entrepreneurs who act as a support system for each other. We share ideas, frustrations, wins, etc.—all in an effort to make each other’s brands better. Nothing more, nothing less. Owning your own business is a marathon, not a sprint. Solid collaborative relationships provide you with the strength you need to get to the finish line.
2. Work with a partner on a new product or service.
This can be a little tricky, but the key is to ensure that the new project is mutually and equally beneficial to both of your brands. Maybe you’re a paper crafter who wants to start teaching classes—collaborating with another artist means double the offerings, double the potential students, and double the outreach. It’s great leverage to use to help you build your brand.
3. Say hello. Ask questions.
While this may seem really basic, it’s something you can easily implement in to your daily life outside of your work parameters. If you shop at a particular boutique or buy pastries from a certain bakery, take a minute to chat with the owner. Ask them about their business, or their craft, and just generate some good conversation. I’ve never encountered an entrepreneur who didn’t want to talk about their business. And seeing someone’s eyes light up when they talk about their craft is inspiring, to say the least.
As you start to generate your own creative electricity and get collaborations in the works, I do want you to think about a few things to help you gauge the effectiveness and worth of investing your time and effort. These questions can help you avoid wasting time on projects or people that may not generate a positive impact on you or your brand.
- Is this relationship (potentially) mutually beneficial?
- What’s my desired outcome? (More sales? Business knowledge? Twitter followers? It can be almost anything. Just know what you want.)
Collaboration can be a great tool to leverage a stronger brand identity—and give you the creative electricity you need to spark your entrepreneurial fire.
Megan Gallagher is a small-business strategist working with creative indiepreneurs at Method & Madness. She talks business development, creative vision, and indie lifestyle through one-on-one strategy sessions, e-guides, and the Method & Madness blog.
Main image courtesy of padlaversusmoij.