Recently several bloggers I follow and love have posted enlightening and honest articles about the importance of collaboration (you can read their posts here and here) and I wanted to put my 2 cents in on the 3 things that have helped me grow as a creative entrepreneur not least of which is through collaboration.
The 3 things I’m going to talk about are Quality, Community, and Consistency and will apply to anyone hustling as an entrepreneur. I think so many creative and self-made business owners fall into a competitive mind state and it usually always hurts them in the end. Bloggers, photographers, stylists, and artists of all sorts are frankly a dime a dozen so it’s easy to understand how competition is high for success. Now when I say “dime a dozen” I mean there are a lot of us, I’m not suggesting that we all are offering the exact same service, product, or perspective because that is really what will set you apart.
This brings me to quality. The quality of the content, service, or product you are offering is everything. It will make or break your business and this is what will set you apart and make you look like either an amateur or a professional. When I re-branded this blog to The Things She Likes one of the main changes I wanted to make was a stricter commitment to quality over quantity. This required I be a lot more patient with myself because although I have lots of beautifully shot content I can’t force inspiration for writing quality articles, which comes and goes for me. This is why this is my only post this week, for example, because of a crazy week which lead to a minor bout of writer’s block as well as my commitment to stick to these new quality standards.
A funny thing happened as well as soon as I put quality over a posting schedule, I started getting more work. Brands and customers want to work with the best so putting out the content and products that are only what you are proud of and are a good representation of your work, will take you farther.
Community is next and probably the most important. This means finding like minded people, networking, and finding people who completely understand your entrepreneurial struggle because they are going though it too. I’ve talked to a lot of creative individuals who describe the amount of explaining they had to do with their friends and family when they first started out (me included) because they just don’t “get it”. That’s fine, don’t cut them out yet. My boss said once not to talk about my blog because it would “bore everyone to death”, now she regularly praises me for my hard work and suggests items I could feature on my blog. It takes time, but in the mean time, finding your like minded group is very important to your growth, and sanity.
When I started I knew this was key and was reaching out to other bloggers regularly to meet up and talk shop. The relationships I built through these countless coffee dates, and collaborations and sharing ideas, are a huge part of what I’ve achieved today. Working with bloggers more knowledgeable than I am in certain aspects of the business, having people in your arsenal to model or take photos for you, and creatives who have been in the business for years are invaluable to your “crew”. I even met one of my best friends through a cold turkey email and coffee date and I literally can’t imagine my life without her in it now. She is a huge support and we bounce ideas off each other and share information constantly. I can’t stress enough the importance and insane amount of value there is in finding your creative partner regardless of what your medium is. Especially as a blogger, when I found my blogging “mate” it made both our lives so much easier. This extends to all aspects of your business, because everyone you meet in some way or another, could add value to your business with their help and/or knowledge. The majority of the great quality photography I get for my blog now is shot by actual photographers, that I reached out to, and a lot of what I’ve learned about my trade is from people I networked with and built relationships with.
The community you build are the people who won’t question why you are working so hard or doing what you’re doing because they are in it with you. Those people will lead to opportunities and support and new knowledge and growth that you won’t be able to achieve all by your lonesome.
The last piece is consistency. I think this is the most obvious one although it’s earned it’s place in the top 3. If you want to grow you can’t have one great photo or one great product, you have to always and only have great content or products or services you are providing and people will start to associate the level of quality to your brand through this consistency. I’ve been a bit more lenient in this with blog posts because quality comes before consistency in my book, but I am always posting new content somewhere daily, so the people who follow along with me are always getting something new and staying inspired to continue coming back.
The community you build, in my experience, is also a support group. If you’re having a hard time with quality, consistency, new ideas, growth or just finding balance, someone somewhere in your city has the answer for you, you just need to reach out to them.
Thanks for reading, I hope this wasn’t a long ramble and was a bit informative and helpful! And of course in the spirit of collaboration please comment/email/or DM me with any questions you have or advice you may need, I’d love to help if I can.
Have a happy weekend,