Collaborating in Style


This week's IFB column is about collaboration. This has been an area of growth for me over the past year as I've gotten many incredible offers to collaborate. And there's a learning curve for sure. Each of the four "remember to ..." tips I gave in Wednesday's column came from personal experience that I hope helps you navigate your own collaborations. More personal insights about Dean Street Society below:

Discuss publicity

I collaborated with a photographer earlier in the year. As I've done with many others, the trade is that we both get images for our sites & link back to one another when we post them. However, there was never a discussion of timeline. Because of my calendar, the images didn't go up until months after I'd recevied them. In the meantime, I recevied multiple angry emails. We had not communicated our expectations & theirs were not met. It led them to act out unprofesssionally, & filled my inbox with unfortunate notes to reply to. Since then I've collaborated with many others & not listed out a timeline on either end, without issue. But it would be smart in the new year for me to draw up a standard paragraph that simply states that images will go up as my editorial calendar permits, & I'll receive edited images as their work schedule permits, neither taking longer than 6 months time.

Do Your Homework

In another photoshoot the poor quality of the photographer made it difficult. The other parties involved wanted the images posted quickly, but the first round I received was so poor that it took me much longer than expected to weed through to find a few useable shots & edit them myself. I had researched the photographer ahead of time & couldn't find a website for them, which I should have taken as a red flag, instead of trusting the taste level of the others on board.

Integrity is Forever

I got into a rather heated discussion with an industry professional because I refused to wear jewelry I thought was extremely tacky, just because that brand was a sponsor. It was an uncomfortable moment & I can't say for certain that I handled it with the perfect amount of grace. Yet I do feel confident in maintaining that my brand is based upon my taste, & putting my stamp of approval on something I would never freely wear in real life would devalue the confidence my clients & readers put in me. Even if no one saw, I would know I compromised, & for me that's enough to speak up even when someone is "bigger" than I.

Consider the People

There are so many brands that I love. I love their heart, their motto, their commitment to keeping prices low or quality high. I love giving shout-outs to small brands on Etsy because I love supporting fellow entrepreneurs. I love working with photographers who don't yet have huge followings but I think are madly talented. I love tweeting links to posts by fellow bloggers who I think do great work. And when I don't believe in someone, even if the product is pretty, I tend to not say much. Above all I want to see good people & good companys succeed.

In the end, collaboration is such a win/win. And I find it so empowering that two small business people can partner together & through the free channels of the internet, spread the word about one another. But in the times it's gone sour, it has taken up valuable time & energy I wasn't anticipating, or forced me to stand my ground for what I believed was right. I think the reward is worth the risk, but it's best to be savvy from the smart & learn from your {& best of all my!} mistakes.

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P.S. Ten days till Birthchristdaymas. All the details are coming next week, but pencil December 17th on your calendar. You'll want to pop by the blog for a very special time sensitive gift. It's all about creating more providence in the new year ...

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