Sometimes as entrepreneurs, we can feel isolated and alone. We’re not sure what to focus on, we have no one to bounce things off of and the people around us simple don’t get it.
This is why collaboration is so important. In fact, collaboration is one of my favorite things about being an entrepreneur. If you’re looking for people to collaborate with, keep this question in mind, “Who can I find that is willing and able to help me and I can equally help them?” Often, you will find people who are operating more or less at your level would greatly value what you have to share and simultaneously, you would benefit from what they have to share because each of you have different skill sets.
This is why I am a fan of exchanges and masterminds. Exchanges are when you exchange services so that you can learn from one another. This makes it financially possible to “hire” one another. This works well if both parties are operating from high integrity – delivering services of equal value, giving equal time to one another and treating the exchange with as much respect and commitment as if you paid each other.
It’s important that both of you will “gain” from the relationship equally in terms of services delivered as well as contributing to one another testimonials, support and feedback. The key is to make sure it’s mutually beneficial.
Masterminds are a great way to connect with a group of individuals that you can bounce your challenges off of, generate fresh ideas and solutions and hold each other accountable when you start to slip into small thinking.
Masterminds are not for sitting around and griping about what’s wrong and certainly not meant for one person to dominate the conversation. If set up right, they should benefit everyone. Masterminds can help you to re-frame your thinking, stay focused on solutions and identify next steps to moving forward. This is why you should choose your mastermind partners carefully.
Find people who are positive and uplifting but also have different skills sets that you can benefit from. For example, having a sales expert and a marketing expert in your mastermind could greatly benefit you if those are your areas of opportunity for you to improve.
Also, don’t be afraid to be the “dumbest” person in your group. It’s good to have people in your mastermind that will stretch you. Everyone likes to be the smartest and brightest but that’s not where we gain the most benefit. Being in groups that you feel challenged is a very good thing. It will be uncomfortable at first but at some point you’ll grow into your recognizing you know more than you realize.
With the help of technology, like Zoom and Google Hangouts, it’s now easier than ever to collaborate with people throughout the world from the comfort of your own home or office. The key is to find one or more people who would be great collaboration partners for you. Reach out to them, share your idea for collaboration and set up recurring meetings at least once a month. Carve out the time, even if you’re busy! Once you start meeting regularly, you’ll be so glad you did because now you have dedicated time to focus on the big picture of your business.