The Power of Collaboration

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!!!

Hula Dogs
Ah, that’s more like it!

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

Everybody’s doing the brand new dance now!

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:

Beachside Relaxation with Peace Out’s Chanel Tsang

beachside relaxation
Chanel and I will guide you through a delightful seaside story. Go for a  walk along the beach, then ride your bike down the “Beach Rose Bike Path” where you find the perfect willow tree to lounge by as a little bluebird tells you a relaxing story.

The Dinosaur Games with Aaron, Bridget & Mike from Aaron’s World

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Let’s go to the Dinosaur Games, a DINO-MITE competition with some hilarious dinosaur athletes will compete for the Dino-Trophy – voiced by Aaron Bridget and Mike from Aaron’s World.

Bubble Trouble with Noodle Loaf’s Dan Saks

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Dan Saks shares his vocal and musical talents to help tell the tale of Puff, a silly little blowfish who loves to blow bubbles! But one day puff gets into a bit of bubble trouble!!! How will Puff find his way out of this bubbly mess?

A Little Duckling Story with Rhea Pechter from Little Stories for Tiny People

ducky story art
A little duckling named Daffodil keeps getting into mischief. Sometimes it’s hard to be a little duckling. But Daffodils mother, voiced by Rhea Pechter, has a story for her daughter that will make her feel brave and strong, ready to take on the world… after a nap of course…

Cranberry Makeover Featuring an Ani-Mail

with Paul Csomo & Donna Hume from Varmints

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It’s time for another delicious installment of “The Adventures of The Baby Foodie!” In today’s tasty adventure the Baby Foodie and Hot Sauce are going back in time to help invent a brand new way to eat cranberries! Featuring an Ani-Mail segment with the vocal talents of Paul Csomo and Donna Hume from the Varmints podcast.

Chester Greenwood with Mick Sullivan from The Past & the Curious

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Mick Sullivan stops by to tell the tale of Chester Greenwood who is having a hard time keeping his ears warm in the cold winter weather. His hat makes his ears itch and it keeps falling off while he’s playing in the snow. What can Chester do to solve this problem? Featuring an original “Earmuff” song by Mick Sullivan

The Crime Fighting Critter Club with Rob Griffith’s from Bedtime FM

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Special guest Rob Griffiths is here to lend his voice and tell an exciting story about a crime-fighting critter club! What sorts of courageous critter adventures do you think our heroes will go on tonight?

Meteor Baby Shower featuring an Ani-Mail with Jonathan Messinger from The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian

meteor baby shower audiogram art_edited-1
Quil sent us some postcards with exciting news from his home on the planet Quark. He has a new Baby sister named Pluma has just arrived. To celebrate, his family threw a Meteor Baby Shower Party. Things between Quil and Pluma didn’t go so well at first but now they are great friends and Quil is so happy to be a big brother. Then special guest Jonathan Messinger from the Adventures of Finn Caspian podcast will stop by to share some Spectacular Outer-Space Ani-Mail.

Rotten Avocados Featuring Chef/Food-Writer Kenji Lopez-Alt

baby foodie avocado podcast art
Today’s tasty collaboration features American Chef and Food writer J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. In this episode, The Baby Foodie and Hot Sauce visit an avocado grove to help “Gwen” Avocado throw a Guacamole Party. They help Gwen pick a bunch of avocados but before they can smash them into guacamole, Dr. Rotten comes by and spoils everything…

Patty Cake Featuring Author Blogger & Podcaster Rekaya Gibson

patty cake audiogram art
Patty is a very kind baker who loves to make sweet treats for her animal friends. Then one day Patty slips on some “icing” and twists her wrist. So the animals decide to sneak into the bakery and bake a nice cake for Patty. Featuring author and podcaster Rekaya Gibson as the voice of Patty Cake.

The Wacky Robots of Raboo Featuring Mr. Eric O-Keefe from What If World

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Welcome to the Robot Island of Raboo, hoe to some of the wackiest Robots around! You are just in time for the annual Wacky Robot Talent show!!! A big thank you to Mr. Eric O’Keefe for lending his hilarious robot talents!

The Library Fairy Featuring Kitty Felde from The Book Club For Kids

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Have you ever wondered what happens inside the library when the lights go out at night? Well, we will learn all about it by listening to the legend of the Library Fairy. She has a magic bookmark that makes stories come to life!!! Featuring the vocal talents of Kitty Felde as the voice of the Library Fairy.

Cinderella Mozzarella Featuring Author & Illustrator Russ Cox

cinderella mozzarella audiogram art_edited-1
For this very special 100th episode we are going to celebrate Valentine’s day with a lovely romantic story about spaghetti and cheese. In tonight’s tasty tale, Cinderella Mozzarella hopes to go to the ball at the pasta palace to meet Freddie spaghetti. Will the Dairy Godmother grant her this wish? Find out in this foodie fairy-tale featuring the vocal talents of author and illustrator Russ Cox.

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.

me &digger cropped
Digger loves working with others too!

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!!!


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