One of the things that I’ve loved about being a woman in business is collaborating with like-minded women – not only bouncing ideas off each other, but partnering up to deliver some really powerful business outcomes.
But one thing that I stress to other peers is that working collaboratively is great, but working for free isn’t.
It’s easy to get excited over a business proposition – especially if you like and admire the women you’ll be working alongside – but before you enter into a new venture, all parties need to be clear on what each is bringing to the table, the hours involved, and the rewards that will be served (financial and otherwise).
Any lack of clarity on these fronts can result in a business collaboration turning into a time-consuming hobby where one or two of the group are shouldering the bulk of the load (while harbouring growing resentment and wondering how to best address the imbalance without causing offence).
Basically, you need to get clear on the responsibilities and expectations from the start.
Here are some key considerations before you sign-up to partner-up:
- Know your ‘why’: It may be financial reward, or maybe another measureable benefit (like exposure to valuable contacts that will lead to further work), but there needs to be some business value to you, and you need to be 100% clear about what that is.
- Know your role: How much time can you actually commit and what responsibilities/activities does that involve? What time will the other parties commit and what, exactly, will they be doing in that time? Remember to factor in admin tasks like returning emails and phone calls and bookwork.
- Know your worth: Don’t under-sell yourself, but don’t be silly either.