Tell Me All! {series}- Collaborations, Part 2

In Collaboration- Part 1, we talked about figuring out who would make a good collaboration partner, and how to approach them with your ideas. Here in Part 2, we'll talk more in depth about making the collaboration successful, some pain-points to avoid, and a few other pearls of wisdom from some great creatives. {As always, I would love to hear your feedback and any questions you have, in the comments below!}

3. A GOOD THING GOING

Since the very definition of a collaboration involves "togetherness", it's important that the two (or more) of you work well together. It may seem obvious, but I always love to touch base right at the beginning to establish what, specifically, we each want to accomplish and how we envision doing that. If you live close to each other, an in-person meeting is best! It seems like we "know" more people online than in the real world these days, but nothing beats seeing a face and hearing a voice and really interacting. If in-person isn't an option (and let's be honest, it seems more often than not, it isn't), plan a "phone meeting" so you can at least put a voice to a name. Email and text are great for follow-ups, but try to start your collaboration with a phone call.

Once you've connected, let the ideas flow! My absolute favorite part of collabs is the magic that seems to happen when you're just "riffing" (my phrase) off one another- you know, one person suggests an idea and that sparks an idea in the other person's head and before you know it, you've totally come up with amazing things that neither of you would have arrived at on your own? Pure gold!! Try to establish some timelines too- not all projects will demand hard-and-fast dates (some things can take their time to develop), but it's nice to have an idea of when to expect things to be finished. For example, if you are responsible for one step of the project and your partner is responsible for the next step, it's good to discuss when you foresee those happening (i.e. "I'll be finished up by the end of next week and keep you posted on my progress.") And once you have all that fun stuff established? Stay in touch! Talk regularly throughout the collaboration and send pics when possible- it will make each of you feel more connected to the project and help catch any problems early-on.

"Most collaborations I've done have been with someone who doesn't live in the same state (or even country) as me! This can make it trickier to talk to each other + share ideas, so communication is key. I typically chat with the person I am collaborating with via email or text on a regular basis, and this always avoids any problems."- Paige, PaigePoppe.com

"Make it clear from the start- what do you want to do? How do you want to do it? Who will work on what? Set these boundaries so each person has their own contributions."- Bianca, WildHumm

"Just be sure you communicate exactly what you expect out of the collaboration. A lack of communication can definitely lead to some frustration. Put together a contract. Make sure everyone is on the same page!"- Amanda, All Things Pretty Blog

It's easier to lay out expectations upfront, than it is to backpedal when things aren't going well or worse- to live with a collaboration that went awry. So what are some of the pitfalls to keep an eye out for, you ask? Well...

4. LAYIN' IT DOWN

I like to think that if you've established that you and another creative want to work together, and you value what each of you brings to the table, you can figure the rest out. With that said, sometimes people clash. Or projects demand more money to get off the ground than you expected. Or <insert some other frustration here>. It may seem like a wet blanket, but try to iron out as much of the "business" side of things as you can, early-on. No one (and I mean no one) likes to talk about money and contracts and agreements when you're having a good time, but if you neglect it, it can bite you later on.

"Personalities can clash, especially if money is involved down the line. If you're working with someone who isn't levelheaded and flexible, it can be quite a nightmare."- Bianca, WildHumm

"Don't be a 'yes' (wo)man! If it doesn't fit your groove, don't feel bad about turning requests down. Also, be prepared to hear 'no' and be ok to move on."- Amanda, All Things Pretty Blog

Some of the "essentials" to consider (keep in mind this can vary widely, depending on what you're doing): 

  • How much will you be selling your item/s for?
  • How will you split any fees required to create the project? (i.e. buying supplies, paying a printer, listing fees, etc.)
  • How will you split profits? (i.e. 50/50, 60/40...) 
  • Who will list the item/s to sell? Will both of you?
  • Who will be responsible for shipping?
  • How you will promote your collaboration/finished item/s? (i.e. blog, IG posts, contests, etc.)

If that seems like a lot to consider, remember- USUALLY, if you're working with rad people (because you are obviously rad), and you're both honest and upfront and flexible... it all works out!

5. PARTY TIME! EXCELLENT!

I've found collaborations to be one of my favorite parts of doing creative work. It's helped me get to know some amazing people much better, it's exposed me to new ideas and ways of doing things, and it's honed my skills- both artistically and professionally. And really, it's just fun!

"I would recommend starting an online friendship first. It's nice to know who someone is before they contact you out of the blue, you know? Also, be excited, respectful, and enthusiastic!"- Paige, PaigePoppe.com

"A good collab is a beautiful thing, and sometimes take time to find!"- Bianca, WildHumm

"I've been turned down for collaborations many times. I used to get butt-hurt, but I learned that Rome wasn't built in a day and there's no way I should expect everyone I reach out to to be on board. I just kept plugging away, reaching out to more brands, and then things started to pick up. Now I'm getting so busy with collaborations that I have to politely turn down the offer to work with brands, simply because I don't have the time. Every collaboration is a learning experience- both good and bad. For the most part, it's one of my favorite parts of what I do. I've me some great people and made some new 'forever friends' by collaborating."- Amanda, All Things Pretty Blog

I couldn't agree more! Tell me, what has been your experience collaborating? I'd love to hear from you! {If you missed Part 1, click here to check it out: Collaborations, Part 1}

Also, thank you so much to Bianca, Paige, and Amanda for their thoughtful contributions! You can find them all on Instagram, and by clicking the link to their websites.