Why You Should Play Nice With Your Competition
What is one of the biggest lessons you learn as a youngster? PLAY NICE WITH OTHERS!!!
“You need to share, please take turns, and for goodness sake quit dropkicking your brother!!!”
Playing nice with others could be a hard lesson to learn as a kid. That aggressive energy you felt when things didn’t go your way was so frustrating. Some continue to carry those feelings on with them into adulthood. (Kid’s aren’t the only ones who throw temper tantrums…) It can be a challenge to escape that mindset of hyper-competitiveness when it comes to the world of business too. But if you do learn to overcome those feelings and instead, find innovative ways to collaborate with like-minded people in your industry, you and your enterprise can achieve meaningful success.
If you’re like me, a solo-preneur running a creative business, it can be easy to look at others in your category as ferocious competition. I would often fall into that comparison trap. Focus too much on numbers that don’t matter. Feel envious when others got the recognition. Spend WAY too much time worrying about how others are performing rather than concentrating on my own work.
It’s hard to make your space, to grow your audience, to be heard when there is so much great content out there already. (Oh, look… another puppy video!) But the thing is, you don’t have to do all this alone. You can take a step back, focus on the numbers that actually matter to your business and start thinking of your competitors as potential collaborators.
I know I know. This all sounds way too touchy-feel-good-Kumbaya to really be applicable to entrepreneurship, but hey I don’t mind coming across too feel good. (I write children’s stories after all!) And does it really sound that unreasonable? There are plenty of business cliche’s out there that sound way more WACKADOODLE to me.
Phrases like “cut-throat” or “dog eat dog”, “Hey it’s nothing personal it’s just business…”
Really? What’s the point? Who wants to work in that mindset? Instead of dogs eating other dogs, wouldn’t you rather see dogs playing together? Instead of being cutthroat, wouldn’t you rather don your neck with a Hawaiian lei and have a hula party? That sounds like an enterprise I’d rather be a part of!!!
There are a lot of reasons why you should consider playing nice with others but the biggest reason of all is that it’s good for business.
Allow me to share my own experience of collaborating. Back in October 2017, I launched my children’s story podcast Story Spectacular. I finished the season with 72 total episodes all by myself. This was a LOT of work. I used so much creative energy to get that first season over the finish line. So this past summer as I took some time to reflect on Season 1 and plan out my Season 2.
I asked myself, “How do I avoid getting burnt out? How do I keep my show fresh and innovative? How can I continue to grow my audience while at the same time continuing to advance my craft?”
The answer to all these questions… COLLABORATION
For Season 2 of Story Spectacular, I had the pleasure of working with fellow children’s podcasters from all over the world and together we created some FAB COLLABS with some wonderful folks that I met through a grass-roots organization called Kids Listen. Episode collaborations include:
Cranberry Makeover Featuring an Ani-Mail
Meteor Baby Shower featuring an Ani-Mail with Jonathan Messinger from The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian
Rotten Avocados Featuring Chef/Food-Writer Kenji Lopez-Alt
Patty Cake Featuring Author Blogger & Podcaster Rekaya Gibson
How to approach a potential playmate
Look, not every dog gets along with one another. There are going to be some potential playmates that just aren’t good fits for you to work with. Call it chemistry, pheromones or just plain compatibility. The important thing is to sniff out the person who will be the best fit for the project. You want someone who compliments you. Someone who you can offer value to as well. The goal is to develop a partnership where you both bring something unique to the table and you both reap the rewards from your joint efforts.
I couldn’t be happier with the results of my joint efforts with fellow children’s podcasters. Here are my big takeaways:
Three reasons why I embrace collaboration:
1.) Working with others challenges you to be better at your craft.
2.) You can build a network and be a part of a community.
3.) Collaborating is good for business because it allows you to share audiences and build a positive reputation.
Keep competition friendly. Even if you don’t decide to go the full distance on a collaboration venture, I still challenge you to be a good sport when it comes to dealing with business rivals.
This strategy has worked wonders for me so far this season and it’s keeping me energized for future story team-ups. Now if you’ll excuse me… I have to go pet some dogs … it’s for very important business purposes!!!