Some years back, I reached out to Jeff Goins of Go writer asking him to review a manuscript I had written on a subject that he is passionate about. Jeff went out of his way and gave me invaluable advice. He told me that before I publish my book, I should consider building a “tribe” of about 30,000 followers, people are passionate about my subject matter. I knew that one of the ways to do that is the route of collaboration.
We live in interesting times. Our generation is perhaps the one that provides vast opportunities for anyone who is bold enough to give their passion a try. And yet we are a generation that sees the highest population at any one point in time in the world.
In fact, I heard “Iron” Mike Tyson say in an interview with Joe Rogan something to the effect that “Impossible is for those who do not try”. Collaboration is one of the foolproof ways that our generation can use to do the impossible, such as gathering a tribe of 30,000 followers.
We have developed through several revolutions, but the most interesting thing is that if you look at all these revolutions, one can easily say that they were “institutionalised”, even if informally. What I mean is that with each revolution, whole populations moved or worked with them like a herd of sorts. In such a setup, everyone is expected to till land, smelt iron, go to school and so on depending on the revolution. There was so little grounds for collaboration then.
Not today. In our day, we have reached a level that allows a lot of individualism. You can take that from both sides of the coin, but I choose to look at the positive angle. The world today offers a ready platform for people not only to show their individual unique gifts and talents, but also to monetise and sustain a whole economy out of it. That economy is fueled by collaboration.
The Purpose Economy
There are different names that we call such an economy. Some call it the gig economy. Others, the purpose economy. Still others will use terms such as passion economy, freelance economy or even digital economy. These are exciting times we live in.
This economy applies to individuals in their own unique respective selves. I believe with all of my heart that one of the solutions to the joblessness scourge the world over is the purpose economy. Covid19 has highlighted it in a way that is unprecedented.
One of the greatest catalysts of the purpose economy is collaboration. It is the fuel that helps it run. The purpose economy is unique in such a way that your clients are connected to you purely, or let me say largely, through the vehicle of trust.
In other words, the purpose economy works best through relationships. It is so difficult to gain the trust of a stranger, but that stranger might already have gained the trust of a fellow visionary.
The Need for Relationships
Alone, you can only do so much. You can create products with so much finesse, products that are functional and solve real problems very well. However, without the much needed collaboration, your products will remain obscure, and some other inferior products will be peddled.
I kid you not. Many a writer has gauged themselves against some titles that they see on the “Best Seller” lists, and they know that they are much, much more gifted than what is in the market. However, they remain obscure because they are walking alone.
In this day and age, as we increasingly lean into the purpose economy, where people are using their gifts and talents to solve problems and earn a living, we will never do without collaborating.
To collaborate is to hook up with peers, protégés as well as big time luminaries in your niche to champion your solution to an already assembled market of their respective tribes.
This is an art that needs to be harnessed properly in order to succeed. The following nuggets will help you to collaborate like a pro as you build your purpose economy.
The 4 Rules of Collaboration
1. Put Service First.
Do not go into the purpose economy to get a quick buck. Equally, do not venture into collaboration ostensibly because you want to make money. Service is your mandate in the purpose economy. It is that or the highway.
If you try to collaborate with an ulterior motive that is not service, even if you succeed in getting some people on your team, once the customers (who are very choosy these days by the way) find out that you are substandard and are only interested in their pocket books, that’s the beginning of the end of your brand and business in the purpose economy. Take heed.
2. Put Your Best Foot Forward.
Before you can even think about approaching an industry leader to collaborate, make sure that what products you are serving the world with are of top notch quality. Put your heart into developing the products and services so woven with what I call the “wow” factor.
In the purpose economy, average will never cut it. In fact, few collaborators will accept your lackadaisical approach to product development and will opt out. Why? Because their respective brands are also at stake.
3. Learn the Game of Give and Take.
In the purpose economy, the “go giver” as Bob Burg would call them, are the ones that go places. You do not enter collaboration all the time just to take and take and take. You are not all the time looking for a favor.
Position yourself to be one that also helps. Whether you are helping a peer, an understudy or a big time visionary, think of giving more than getting. This will take you places in the purpose economy.
4. Protect the Relationships.
The purpose economy as explained thrives on trust. That’s why collaboration is a mighty tool to use. However, whenever you are collaborating, realise that the visionary who is coming alongside to help you is literally putting his name on your brand and product. In so doing, they are also staking their whole reputation on you.
When you vouch for someone and they turn out to be a quack, you will also be seen as a quack. Frankly, if your purpose economy has to move further, it is not up to the people you are collaborating with to cover themselves from your mess. It is actually your responsibility to protect them from any fallout that might occur.
I wish you all the success you are willing to work for in the burgeoning purpose economy. Get a free eBook Purpose To Profit, 10 Strategies to Monetize Your Purpose here.