Episode 020: Show Notes
As a two woman team, we get a lot of questions about how we make a partnership work. We always get asked how we met, how we work as a team in TCC, and what gave us the idea to make the leap from collaborators to business partners. We know it’s not necessarily super common, but it seems like everyone is always interested in seeing how this works. So we figured we would just share some of the actual tools and mindsets that we went through at first when we barely knew each other and started the business together, like normal people do, of course.
When we first met we were each running our own business, yet serving a similar clientele. We quickly learned that we had a lot in common, and it was not long before we decided to work together instead of doing the same things separately. We became really fast friends and we were talking literally every day. We realized with every sentence that we spoke, that we shared the exact same dreams and hopes and goals.
So, if you want to get a little insight into how this partnership thing got started and how you could make a partnership potentially work in your own business, then you should definitely stick around to find out more!
Taking It Back To the Very Beginning
We first met in The Savvy Business Owners Facebook Group and were assigned to different “pods” of other lady bosses who served a similar clientele in the market place. From there, it became apparent that we both shared the same beliefs and the same vision for what we wanted in life. Once we found this common ground we co-hosted a webinar, and actually made money. From there we worked to always make sure that our products were not “competing” with each other, which eventually made us realize that we should change our strategy. Instead of going out of our way not to take there other person’s business, why don’t we just do it together? And so, Think Creative Collective was born.
Strategies for Closing the Gap Before Taking the Leap
When collaborations are first starting out and you are still uncertain of whether you are going to take the leap into partnership, a great strategy is to “test the water” first. For us, when we first partnered up, we started to combine our social media in order to introduce each other to our own audiences. This was a great way to see if they were excited for the partnership and whether or not it would work out. Another way to test out the partnership is to initially sign each other up as contractors. Do not simply start an LLC with someone unless you know you can work well together and that it is in fact a feasible partnership.
Where to Start, What to Sell, and Where to Go Next
In the beginning, as we merged out two businesses, we continued to take one-on-one client work. Instead of trying to think of an entirely new business in day one, we stuck with what we were good at and just made bigger packages, revamped our website, revamped our branding, and took on stuff that we both individually liked. We just made different packages for our existing clients and new clients as well, using both of our sets of skills and techniques so we could each make a little bit with every person that came through the door.
Working With One-On-One Clients and Living 400 Miles Away
We are very much like heavy communicators. In the early days, we would sit on the phone for eight to 10 hours a day. We would simply leave the phone on and talk to each other when something came up. The only issue with that technique was that we weren’t always aware of what the other person was working on and we would occasionally interrupt their flow, and that did get annoying occasionally. But, for the most part, we definitely hit a groove and we knew really well how to work that system.
Making Room for Your Business Partnership to Change and Evolve
Once we started working together, we continued to have client work but it quickly became clear that this is not what we wanted to do forever. Now that there were two of us and we were both clear that our long-term goal and outcome looked different from our current state, we started to make strides with that end game in mind. Within six months of working on that process, we had gotten to a point where we were able to say “no” to taking on new clients, and we were able to focus our attention and efforts on education.
Starting A Partnership is Like Getting Married, Basically
As the business changes, it is important that you are both 100% on the same page with each new step. Creating a business partnership is the closest thing you can get to being married without being married. You have to be super close in order to make this work. This means communicating ALL of the time and knowing each other’s personal finances. Because of that, it’s a very intimate personal relationship that’s unlike anything else out there. The most important thing to do if you are considering even a collaboration, but especially a partnership, is to ask the other person what their end goal is.
The Ability to Play on Your Business Partner’s Strengths
For us, the biggest thing with a partnership is being able to play on the other person’s strengths. If you are unaware of what those strengths are, and if it doesn’t come out in the very beginning, you need to sit down and have a talk about it. Just like with any relationship, communication is key. But seriously, talk through it. What are they good at? What are they not good at? What do they like doing? What do they hate doing? Ultimately, the goal is to use your strengths and illustrate it to your partner in a way that they can understand, and then they can use that information to run with it in their best way possible.
- Hear the story of how we first met and the very beginning of our collaboration. [0:01:39.7]
- Learn how to implement strategies for closing the gap before taking the leap to become full-time partners. [0:09:45.2]
- Understand from our experience where to start, what to sell, and where to go next once you are better established. [0:12:52.6]
- Find out how we ended up working with one-on-one clients and living 400 miles away. [0:15:08.1]
- Learn how to making room for your business partnership to change and evolve. [0:22:06.1]
- Discover why starting a partnership is like getting married, basically. [0:25:59.3]
- Understand the importance of being able to play on your business partner’s strengths. [0:39:35.8]
- Know what your potential business partner’s end goal is — for their own life and their business — and make sure you are on the same page.
- Make the partnership somewhat official with a contract, and decide who will “host” the contractor.
- Continue to nurture the relationship.