We’ve all heard the phrase, “community over competition” but what does that mean, exactly?
According to a 2016 article by Honeybook, this phrase means that you put people above opportunity,
and an article by Lucky Tamm in 2021 states that it’s valuing relationships over profit. In simpler terms, it
simply means we want to all root for each other and support one another in our own entrepreneurial
endeavors. To not think of someone as a competitor but respect that everyone can sit at the table with
With the cost of social media ads increasing and the “pay to play” algorithms have many business
owners looking for other, more affordable, options for getting the word out about their products. How
do you sustain a growing business without the funds to back it up? Is there a way to do this AND put
connections with real humans above all else?
Prioritizing relationships not only builds trust (hello trusted brand status), it also shows that you
prioritize connection and the real people in your communities above just slapping an ad up on a social
wall and hoping to bring in some revenue. Potential customers feel less like a number or pay check, and
more like they matter to your brand – because they do.
Now, before I dive into ways you can collaborate with others, I just want to pause to tell you a key
ingredient to this recipe that many of my clients forget: don’t give away your products, time, or services
for free. Doing so trains your customers that your value is less than full price, and keeps them looking for a sale, because you’ve taught them it’s not worth anything.
So; how the h*ck do you collaborate without giving anything away for free?
You can absolutely collaborate and get something in return, even if it’s not money. Think of other ways
we exchange goods and services for something valuable but not monetary:
High-value email content in exchange for personal emails
- Coupon codes in exchange for emails
- Podcast hosts swapping guests on the others’ shows
- Social media shoutout for social media shoutout
So it’s very possible that you collaborate in a way that shares your info with their audience, but isn’t
given for free. Let’s look at a few options:
- Social media shout out swap
- Podcast guest swap
- Instagram Live video sharing a mutual experience
- Create a product or service offering together
- Create a course together
- Plan and co-host an event or webinar
- Co-produce a mini podcast series
- Email shoutout or swap
- Swap blog posts or social media captions
- Collaborator mode a post on Instagram
There are so many ways to collaborate with others that provides a connection, relationship, and a
network. In all of these options, you’re getting something in return. Either an email address, free ad in
someone else’s group or platform, income, experience with a new medium or topic, Authority building
on different platforms or on particular topics, or something else. Get creative and have fun!
Realize that when you collaborate, you’re building trust faster because instead of a cold audience,
you’re connecting with an audience that already knows, likes, and trusts the other person promoting
you – which makes you likable and trustworthy.
A fantastic example of this is the collaboration Julia, from SpouseServe and I did together. We created a
Milso Business Manual. Julia is fantastic at planning and building functional planners. I am great at
coaching and offering ways to create a plan based on your goals. Together, we created a manual full of
trainings, social media strategies, project planning, and more to help milspouse entrepreneurs build the
business of their dreams.
Lastly, it’s very important to know who to collaborate with. Who to share the spotlight with, and who
will compliment you the best to make it all worth it.
I like to refer to this as your circle of influence. It’s the people who:
You may refer customers to.
- Refer their customers to you.
- Have the same niche, or target market, as you but offer a different product or service.
- Have the same product or service but offer to a different target market.
Think of a realtor for a minute: Realtors usually refer roofers, painters, home inspectors, and plumbers
to their new clients during the process of their home-buying experience. A lender may refer customers
to the realtor based on a mutual relationship or paid partnership. Then you have daycares, fitness
institutions, and private schools that the realtor may have on hand in case a client needs them, since
they serve the same target market. Lastly, realtors would have realtors in other states or counties they
don’t serve, so if you move out of state they may be able to refer a friend.
Your circle of influence is a professional network you’ve built for the sole purpose of doing a
collaboration or referral to. It takes time to build this, but aim to make strong connections and build
professional relationships with about 6-8 people who fit these categories.
In the above example with the Milso Business Manual, Julia and I worked very well together because we
both serve the same target market, military spouses, but we have different skillsets and offerings – Julia
physical planners and coaching for myself.
So now you know why collaborations are a good idea, who to collaborate with, and how to start to build
those relationships, and have a few ideas on ways to start collaborating with others. Who will you
collaborate with first?