A few weeks ago I was invited to speak about marketing and collaboration at an event for female creative entrepreneurs. I thought about what I could add that isn't already widely available on really good blogs (like Tara Swiger's, Caitlin Bacher's, Danielle Spurge-Swavely's, etc.). It didn't seem like there was much to say that was new.
But as I thought about it, I really thought about why people so often "go wrong" when heeding the advice for doing marketing or creating collaborations. And that's because I think the ideas of collaboration and marketing will crumble eventually (particularly for ) if they don't come from a place of abundance.
What do I mean by a "place of abundance"? It's coming from a place that you know you always have something special to give. It might not be that you have a lot of money, it might not be that you have a lot of resources generally, but there is always something you can give generously that will help someone else.
When Academy of Handmade first started, we had time and enthusiasm in spades! Now, that's shifting and there are other resources we can more easily leverage (including money sometimes!).
You Can't Collaborate if You're Stingy
When I gave this talk I used the example of the collaboration between #ahasmembers Cotton & Flax and Minor Thread that is discussed here. Both women recognized what they could give to the other to create a very successful collaboration. They both knew where their "abundance" lay. Which is to say, their giving from a place of abundance was not "the same" but both were equally generous.
And I think that, especially when it comes to newer businesses it can feel like you don't have anything special to give or that if you can't give exactly what the other person is giving then they won't be interested. The truth is, that collaborations often work best when different resources are being brought to the table.
Oprah Isn't Worried About Gayle
My husband and I were watching a show about the Wright Brothers (bear with me!) and we both recognized their flaws are like many creatives in business. While they are now recognized as First in Flight, they actually were not very popular during their day because of how they behaved. They were unwilling to showcase their designs for fear of being copied and lost out on tons of publicity because of it. Instead of focusing on innovating their company, they were embroiled in patent disputes. Meanwhile their competition was surging ahead.
How does this apply? Abundance means not being so consumed about what you might lose that you never make smart risks so you can gain. Every single move we make toward progress is a risk, but abundance says that whatever is lost can be recovered and you can come back stronger. Don't let scarcity hold you back because you're so afraid of the competition beating you or stealing your ideas. Other people will have ideas and their own successes-- but that doesn't stop you from being successful too.
You Can't Have Abundance Without Knowing Where You Begin and End
Abundance only works if you know where you're abundant. You can't just give, give, give and until you're out of money and business. That's silly. But that doesn't mean you still don't have a lot to give.
It's like the idea of the "in case of emergency" reminders we get on airplanes-- you put your oxygen mask on first. You can't help others with oxygen until your supply is abundant. Which means you need to know yourself very well-- your strengths and where you can give. You'll put yourself right out of business if you don't know where you end and other businesses begin.
So what about you-- where do you feel like you can give where no one else can?