I’ve been hearing more than the average amount of challenging experiences from conscious entrepreneurs with collaborators, business partners and cofounders lately.  So I wanted to write a post about why many collaborations in the conscious business space don’t go well. And, more importantly, I wanted to share some tips about creating great partnerships.

To be transparent, I’ve had some really difficult collaboration experiences in my 13 years in business.  Like, we’re talking WAY not fun.  And, nowadays, I’m blessed with some FABULOUS collaborators.  Easy, profitable and fun.

So suffice it to say I’ve personally experienced a wide range in this terrain (as have many of my clients).  I write this with a lot of humility in my heart and the deep desire to help you find partnerships that work for you and your business.

The 3 Biggest Mistakes Conscious Entrepreneurs Make When Setting Up Collaborations

One of the main things I’ve realized is that many of the painful experiences come not from bad intent, but from two things: a) a lack of experience and b) a mismatch between desired outcomes and the collective resources that are at the table.

Here are the 3 biggest mistakes I’ve seen (and been apart of):

1) Not developing clear agreements.  It’s fabulous when you’re a conscious entrepreneur and you start to come across other business owners who share similar values and intentions for positive impact.  However, I’ve been guilty of moving forward without enough attention to agreements like how much time goes into a collaborative venture, who owns what gets created, and where are the clients/customers for the offer going to come from.

2) Not paying attention to issues of platform.  One of the biggest mistakes I see newer conscious entrepreneurs make in the realm of collaboration is to partner with other newer entrepreneurs.  Though you might have a fabulous idea, partnerships are much more likely to be successful when one or more of the entrepreneurs involved has already built a platform (social media, email list, etc).

3) Unequal distribution of the real work.   Like other kinds of relationships, successful business partnerships require honesty about what’s real.  Too often, conscious entrepreneurs find common ground on the conceptual level and then run into difficulties as things move forward because the real work isn’t being shared equally.

As I said earlier, these days I’m blessed with quite a few FABULOUS collaborations in my business.  The things that are contributing to that are the opposite of the problems listed above.  Specifically I recommend:

  • Create clear agreements.  They don’t have to be complicated.  Just make sure they are clear.
  • Make sure one or more of parties has already developed a good sized audience, one that is likely to understand and want what’s being offered.
  • Make sure you’ve got a good sense of what each person is going to be doing in a granular way to move the partnership forward and how each person will be compensated accordingly.

What’s been your experience with collaboration?

Working in collaborating with highly aligned partners is one of the most fulfilling experiences I know of as a conscious entrepreneur.  And, I’ve both experienced and seen a lot of suffering when partnerships and collaborations don’t work.  What have you found to help collaborations go well?  What questions do you have?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the form of a comment below.

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