Do More with Less: The Beauty of Collaboration
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” —Helen Keller
When I started my coaching business, I was thrilled to be out on my own, until I realized I was out on my own. So what did I do? I binged watched Netflix in a fit of sheer panic naturally. And then a week went by, and I realized if I didn’t do something—and quickly—I was going to be in big trouble (read I was going to have to go back into the corporate jungle). So I started. I took action. I put myself out into the world to attract my ideal clients. As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I started feeling a little lonely. On top of that, I was spreading myself thin trying to do everything by myself—a recipe for burnout. I didn’t have anyone to ask questions, bounce ideas off of or go to lunch with. It was a huge adjustment from my days in the corporate world. So, I looked for opportunities to collaborate and was determined to surround myself with talented, ambitious people. In fueling that yearning to connect, I discovered collaboration’s greatest gift: an opportunity to do more with less.
Half the Risk, Double the Reward
Early on I partnered with Katie, a health coach who had a complimentary niche, to co-host two workshops. The relationship and brand we co-created made for a safety net to take risks. I’ve always shied away from video, and she took my hand and we did a few together. She shared what I was up to outside of our collaboration with her community, and I did the same for her. It was truly a win-win. We put in half the work, minimized risk by splitting the investment and doubled our impact by attracting twice as many participants as we would have alone. When the two workshops were over and it was clear our business goals were taking us in separate directions, we moved forward without hard feelings or time sucking discussions.
PRO TIP: Are you Ben looking for Jerry? Or Grace looking for her Will? Before you agree to collaborate with another person or brand, consider these questions to determine if it is a good fit:
- Do you share the same values?
- Do you have a similar vision?
- How long will the collaboration last? If not project based or on a specific timeline, how will you dissolve the partnership?
- If expenses are expected, how will they be agreed on? And once incurred, who will pay for what? Consider having a discussion before you commit to anything and put your intention in writing.
Take Back Your Time
We all have been gifted with the same 24 hours; the differentiator is how we spend them. One way to take back your time is to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) and delegate what you don’t like to do or aren’t good at. My VA is a godsend. It’s so helpful to have another set of eyes for solopreneur. Consider hiring a VA to delegate administrative and clerical tasks; some are willing to help out for only a few hours a week. Contracting with a high-level VA can also help with automating marketing activities, such as email and social media (goodbye Instagram). This frees you up to do what only you can do in the business: focus on the know, like and trust factor to keep growing your business.
PRO TIP: Are you planning to grow your business significantly in 2019? Now is the perfect time to start working with a VA. Starting before you are at your bandwidth will give you and your VA time to get to know each other. It will allow you time to share your processes and preferences to easy the learning curve so you can hit the ground running in the new year.
Add Another Revenue Stream
For the majority of coaches, working with a coach is a big part of our collaboration strategy from day one. When I started my business, I took an online marketing course with Sarah, an up-and-coming coach. Fast forward a few years and Sarah’s business is going gang busters and the program I took is now her signature offering. It’s a program I believe in and mention to other coaches as they are looking to identify their niche and start marketing their business. Last month, one of the coaches looped back to say that he had signed up for it. As a result of my recommendation during that brief conversation, he signed up and I found $300 in my pocket. If it’s a product or service you believe in, why not make some easy money? My belief in Sarah and her signature program also keeps me involved in her online community.
PRO TIP: What are the products and services you use? What do you feel 110 percent confident in to recommend? Reach out to someone in your industry to inquire about a collaboration or affiliate opportunity.
These are just a few ways to be collaborative in your coaching business. We humans are wired for community and connection, so it’s no wonder then that collaboration is such an obvious choice to grow a coaching business. The more stakeholders you rally, the more people you will find who have a vested interest in your success.