I was tired of the awkward and uncomfortable feeling that comes with being overly protective of my own bubble.
I would always think, “what if I spill all my secrets, and someone comes along and steals my ideas?”
You're probably thinking the same thing, right?
Someone asks you for business or skills advice, and you hesitate to share.
Thoughts like these could cripple a business, but I've finally come to realize that I had to stop worrying about other people and excessive what-if scenarios that aren't likely to happen anyway.
So instead of
Get more done
The hardship of being a solo entrepreneur is that there's only one of you.
You can only get so much done in a day.
This could be really obvious, and I believe it to be the number one reason why I would choose to work with someone already in my target market.
Tasks can be divided two ways and if you're paired up with someone who works well in a team with you, that's even better!
Sometimes I'm really messy with the organization of my ideas, but I've worked with another business owner who is super organized (I write more about her below).
She uses Excel spreadsheets to contain all the good information for our collaborations, which is just what I need in a partner.
Make ideas happen
My head is always swimming with ideas that I want to materialize.
But sometimes I just don't have the drive to do anything, like write a tutorial or host a giveaway.
When I collaborate with the competition, it gives me social accountability.
I increase the chance 10 times over of actually making my ideas happen.
When you collaborate with the competition you'll be able to tap into the other party's existing fan base.
You'll drive new targeted traffic to your site and you'll know these new visitors are part of your own niche too.
Reach more people without breaking the bank!
You could cross promote in each other's newsletters, social media sites, blogs, you could even swap business cards in customers' packages!
When you gain a partner, you'll be able to share valuable resources that allow you to achieve bigger things.
You could share a supplies order from a wholesaler who typically has high minimums.
With the two of you, you'll cut down on costs!
You'll add an extra brain to the equation.
Brainstorm with each other, toss ideas back and forth to create your winning plans and strategies.
How I worked with my competitors:
I wanted to compile a Happy Customer gallery and thought that a contest would be the fun way to do it.
So earlier in April and May, I hosted two Photo Contests where the grand prize winner would win a prize pack of handmade soaps, lipbalms, a (real) cupcake in a jar, and a gift card to Tiny Hands.
The other handmade goods were from Etsy sellers that I thought would be complementary to my line.
Being able to provide an attractive prize like this really encouraged participation in my contest – and it was all from working alongside other handmade makers.
How I did it again:
Another deal I was able to strike was a work in progress for a month.
I found Amelia, who sells food miniatures on Etsy and lives 30 minutes away from me.
Since we're much more direct competitors than a soap maker or cupcake baker would be, I was apprehensive with approaching her.
But I took the leap of faith and wrote to her. And I'm so glad I did!
We hit it off right away and became business friends that loved talking about geeky marketing things.
We were business partners for a couple of years, working on a mini food tutorials business in an effort to elevate our names as the go-to people for quality crafty tutorials.
We share the same vision of providing great content to our customers and readers, so it was the perfect fit.
How can you turn things around with your competitors?
I know it's scary and counter-intuitive to collaborate with your competitors.
But instead of directing negative energy (that gets you upset), consider thinking of positive ways to approach the situation.
How would you do it? What are your thoughts and/or concerns? Let me know below!