9 Steps to Mastering Creative Collaboration

Don’t Just Create, Collaborate!

Navigating the world of  collaboration can seem like a daunting task. In today’s tech savvy era, there are so many ways for you to partner up with other professionals, both on and off the World Wide Web. If you’ve been struggling to decide where to start, use this quick guide to help you revolutionize your collaborative process.

Step One: Start Searching

You can’t make progress if you spend too much time mulling over your first step. The best advice we can give is to cast a wide net and look forward to celebrating a bountiful catch.

Local Networking

Most people’s first instincts would lead them to the internet, but there’s a lot to be gained through searching for partnerships the old-fashioned way. Check for locally posted meet up groups, conferences, or mixers. If there’s a national organization hosting an event in your area, you need to be in the building.

Super-Sized Networking Tip:  Some of the best conferences and conventions can carry some pretty heft price tags. If your budget won’t allow you to attend the event in its entirety, there’s nothing that says you can’t linger around the hotel bar or lobby and casually strike up a conversation with the event’s paid attendees.

Thinking Abroad

Expand your territory even further by utilizing platforms like social media, online forums, and social collaboration sites such as Pathshaker.com. You’d be surprised by how much you can learn (and share) just by being in the right virtual room.

Also, be sure to consider online alternatives like open source projects or engagements that help you build relationships with talented freelancers. Websites such as Fiverr.com connect you with creative content providers that offer services for as little as five bucks!

Other platforms like Upwork.com pair you with a vast collection of freelancers who can help you with just about anything you can think of. Best of all, these potential partners are scattered all around the world. Making these connections treats you to a culturally diverse skill set that can boost your career by granting you exposure that expands across international territory.

Friends make sparks with collaboration Pathshaker

Photo by Laurentiu Iordache

Step Two: Find a Person/Brand That Compliments Your Style

Obviously, it’s important to form fruitful partnerships throughout your career. We shared some thoughts on the importance of collaboration in this blog. Don’t forget to look for people and businesses that prove to be an organic fit with your brand. Look for collaborators that share your style of work and common interests, but don’t count out creators who may be a little different than what you’re used to. There’s power in diversity! Those differences can quickly become the strengths that set your offering apart from the rest. Try collaborating with brands that can share a unique perspective. Building a network filled with diverse talents and resources can help you work your magic better than ever.

Step Three: Look for Seamless Goals

We touched on this in the last step, but let’s clearly address the importance of having a collaboration that not only supports your professional vision, but your ethics as well. Certain differences in background and approach bring a level of depth to your mission. Still, it’s important to make sure you and your partner(s) share a solid foundation between you.

Overall, they should have similar goals and intentions. Most importantly, your work ethic should mirror one another. (For example, a high-intensity over-achiever probably wouldn’t mesh well with a relaxed procrastinator.)

Step Four: Know Your Resources

To make this collaboration even more seamless, try to work in as many relevant resources as you can. Between the internet and the infinite number of apps that can be found on and off the web, you can find lots of resources that make your day-to-day communications even easier.

Check out these tools to enhance your collaboration abilities:

  • Pathshaker – Look no further!!!  This website is full of Creatives who are excited to collaborate!  Check out their Features and reach out to them!  All of their contact information is provided.
  • GitHub.com – This platform helps you build, launch, and manage software projects in your sleep. Create coding, direct team members, integrate other tools, buy (and sell) apps and add-ons all in one place.
  • Google Drive – Forget about disappearing flash drives or loading your computer with endless files, Google Drive is a great place to share and organize documents, photos, audio, and videos with others. Best of all, with the Google app or a quick log-in on any computer, you can access, edit, and share your files from anywhere.
  • Canva – This free online tool is a user-friendly way to create graphics and invite your team’s input. The drag-and-drop design makes it easy for creators of any skill level to design and share logos, presentations, business cards, and other graphics. You can even print directly from the platform – no more waiting for orders to arrive in the mail.
Friends engage in collaboration around computer

Photo by John Schnobrich

Step Five: Keep the Communication Lines Open

Make sure you invite lots of give and take in your partnership. At the end of the day, constructive feedback can be the deciding factor between a good release and developing greatness!

Don’t be afraid to take suggestions from the people in your team. You never know how someone else’s expertise can help sharpen your own delivery. You’ll need to know how to give constructive feedback too. Iron sharpens iron. With a bit of tact and compassion, you can deliver insight that helps your partners become better at the same time.

Step Six: Set Expectations for Your Collaboration

Even if you believe you’ve carefully selected your team based on shared values and ethics, it’s important to begin every partnership with a clear understanding of what’s expected from all involved. Far too often, people assume that others intuitively know what their role should be in a partnership and, to be frank, they just don’t.

Never leave anything up for interpretation. As a part of that open line of communication, you should be sure to make sure everyone understands specifics like deadlines, revision requests, and team goals. Let everyone know how your content will be distributed and who’s in the target audience that’s waiting for it.

Among your expectations, let the team know that your door (or inbox) is always open. Partners should feel 100% free to offer input, share opinions, and voice their concerns. Suggestions, creative feedback, and constructive guidance should always be delivered through a give and receive cycle.

Photo by Eye for Ebony

Step Seven: Expect Disagreements

There isn’t a partnership on the planet that can exist without ever having a disagreement. Professional collaborations aren’t any different from friendships or marriages. When more than one person is involved, you’ll have to commit to navigating through different personality types, desires, beliefs, and personal issues.  Therefore, disagreements aren’t an immediate indication that a partnership is flawed. In fact, remarkable results can come from a friendly debate! There isn’t a partnership on the planet that can exist without ever having a disagreement.

The key to preserving the partnership is remembering to be respectful and remaining open, understanding, and considerate. You’ve already taken the time to make sure that you and your team share common goals – there’s nothing wrong with having different ideas about how to reach them.

Step Eight: Celebrate One Another

Throughout your partnership, remember to celebrate your collective and individual success. If your designer knocked your vision out of the park – praise them on a public platform in front of the rest of the team. If everyone delivered their part of the project ahead of schedule and it’s already performing better than expected, don’t be shy about making that known too.

Furthermore, by praising your partners throughout your project, you’ll keep employee moral through the roof! Excitement overflows when you first kick off your ideas, but don’t forget to prioritize keeping up the momentum.

Step Nine: Keep in Touch

A talented team today can still be an awesome group tomorrow – or even six months down the line. When you build collaborations with others, you’re doing more than working on a project, you’re building new relationships. Also, continue to support each other and check in every so often. Just as you celebrated your talents and strengths during your project, keep it up after it’s over.

  • Send your partner leads or refer them to other people you meet along your journey.
  • Introduce them to people and businesses that may be able to push their own agendas.
  • Shoot over a holiday greeting or well wishes on their birthday.

A talented team today can still be an awesome group tomorrow. If you put forth the effort to form collaborations created with success in mind from the very beginning, you’ll be surprised by how well things come together. You may not always get it right on the first try but remember, this is an ongoing learning process. You’ll discover more about yourself and the world around you by the day. Make the most of the resources available to you, learn from your mistakes, keep your eye fixed on your goals, and strap yourself in for an epic experience!

Feature Photo by John Schnobrich