For the second installment in the series, I'll be talking about collaboration! I love, love, love this topic because it's so near and dear to my heart. I've also faced a fear of mine and turned this post into a video! I get a little nervous talking to a camera, but I feel that it's so important for you guys to get a chance to see me as a living, breathing person :) If you're not interested in watching the video, I've also typed out my response below.
Collaboration is my favorite thing to talk about because I feel that it's essential to any business or creative venture, and also essential to life in general. Ecclesiastes 4 states that "two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor" and that "a cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Many people, and I see this happening most often with young adults today, feel that they can handle everything on their own. We can be whoever we want to be, and with hard work and determination, we will reach our goals. While hard work is certainly part of it, reaching your goals will be a lot tougher and a lot less enjoyable if you don't have others to share it with. It's natural to have pride about our projects, but you shouldn't let that get in the way of a great relationship. :)
So how do you find these people in your life? So often we sit behind our computer screens at our 9-to-5's and see all kinds of creative people out there, but have no idea where to start to reach them. Just like putting your talents and gifts out there, reaching out to others is scary too. Making connections can happen both online and offline. Say there's someone you've followed online and you'd like to get to know them better. Shoot them an e-mail! Most people have a way to contact them on their site, and I promise they do that because they're wanting to hear from you! If they have a skill set that you don't have and are looking for, if they are more advanced at a technique you're working on, or you just think they seem like a great person to get to know, reach out to them! Ask questions. Ask them to meet you for coffee sometime - or if they live farther away, set up a Skype date. Even if nothing comes of it, it's cool knowing that you put some positivity out there on the internet between women. It can seem so competitive! Us creative ladies need to remember that we're all on the same team :) And if something does come of it... it opens all kinds of doors for opportunities and friendships.
Perhaps you're looking for a better sense of community? People to bounce ideas off of, encouragement and advice, even people to share life together. Try organizing a meet-up! I recently learned about The Influence Network, and ended up meeting four other lovely ladies a few weeks ago at a meet-up. One of the girls decided she wanted to know other creative, Christian women in the area, and put it out there on The Influence Network. And now we're meeting up once a month! Keep your ear to the ground for things like this, and if something doesn't come up, try starting it yourself. Don't be afraid! Hosting can be easy, remember?
Conferences and workshops are another great idea. Not only will you learn a ton (we'll cover learning in a later Blogging Basics post), but you'll also make amazing connections. You'll meet so many ladies with creative hearts like your own! And when you meet someone, get their contact information and reach out to them after! Think of innovative ways you can work together, or plan a coffee date to recap how the conference went together.
Another way to make connections is to expand your circle using the one you already have! Maybe your boyfriend or husband works with someone who's considering starting a small business on the side. Maybe your best friend knows a girl who's great at baking. You never know until you start asking around! You can also consider collaborating with local businesses - drop off a sample of your product or a little goodie bag of things that represent your brand and share a few of your ideas with them. You never know until you try.
You may have noticed that I mention my friend, Taylor, on the blog fairly often. She started an awesome paper goods shop about the same time that I started That's Pretty Ace. Taylor and I had almost every class together in college, and being the same major, were prone to being very competitive towards each other. We had never really talked about it until this past weekend, when we realized how much we've grown since our college days. We both wondered why we never just asked the other for help in college - why were we so scared of one another? It's so silly now looking back. Taylor and I are opposite in a lot of ways, but we work so well together. We would've never known that if we hadn't have been bold enough to be authentic and kind around each other.
So, I hope this inspires you this week to reach out to those women you admire - or even to be bold in other ways this week. Maybe it's being bold in your marriage, and bringing up a topic you've been wanting to talk about for awhile. Maybe it's being bold with a friend and telling them what gifts you see in them. Maybe it's being bold by sharing your faith with someone this week. Whatever it may be, I hope and pray that the little fire inside of you is fanned and put to good use. :)
You can check out the last Blogging Basics post here - I talked about developing brand "you".