Tomorrow, I’m headed to a conference. Not just any conference, though. The conference that brought me out of blogging anonymity in 2012, when I was “just trying this thing out for a while.”
I’m talking about FinCon, the financial blogger conference.
Joe’s the emcee for the third year in a row, and this year, I’m talking about how we came together as partners.
They have potential speakers submit their topics in advance, and “how to work with a partner” didn’t have the right ring to it, so I went with:
How to Make More Money Without Doubling Your Workload
I thought so too. So, I submitted it… then promptly forgot about it.
You know how it is.
One Friday afternoon, my good friend Monica texted and said we were both selected as speakers.
“Exciting!” I texted back, then quickly asked her to send me my topic. When she sent it to me, I thought, “ut oh, what on earth am I going to talk about? I mean… I want to double my income, so I would go to that, but…”
Then I remembered.
Last year, everyone wanted to know how Joe and I became partners. But I knew that they weren’t really all that interested in my story, per se… they wanted to know how they can make strategic alliances to increase their income in the coming year.
So that’s what I’ll be talking about.
Do you want to learn how to make more money without doubling your workload?
Let’s go through the worksheet.
(P.S. If you want a copy of the worksheet, click here to join the mailing list. You’ll be redirected to a page with downloads.)
Part 1: The Project
There’s a project in your head. One that feels too big for you to do alone. One that, if it goes the way you think it will, will make you able to cash in your chips, quit your day job, and work online exclusively.
If you can’t think of any of the top of your head, sit with it a minute. Something will come to you.
Here are a few ideas to get your brainstorm started:
- A joint blog or website
- An online course
- A joint podcast
- A membership site
- An ebook
Part 2: Your Skills
It’s important to know what you can bring to the table. Sometimes this is challenging. “I don’t know what I’m good at!” you might think.
But again, sit with it a minute.
My skill lies in my ability to know how to use the latest and greatest online tools. I’m better than average at designing web graphics as well as websites. I know how to create opt-in forms and write compelling copy. I know inbound marketing, and I know sales funnels.
Rank Your Skill Set:
On a scale of 1-5 (one being “shit” and five being “the shit”), where do you fall in the following categories? Be honest about what you’re good at.
- Interviewing people: 1 2 3 4 5
- Coming up with great audio content: 1 2 3 4 5
- Coming up with great written content: 1 2 3 4 5
- Designing blog posts: 1 2 3 4 5
- Creating a winning writing strategy: 1 2 3 4 5
- SEO: 1 2 3 4 5
- Making websites look good: 1 2 3 4 5
- Designing logos: 1 2 3 4 5
- Editing written content: 1 2 3 4 5
- Editing audio/video: 1 2 3 4 5
- Writing really good emails: 1 2 3 4 5
- Marketing: 1 2 3 4 5
- Copywriting: 1 2 3 4 5
- Social media strategy: 1 2 3 4 5
- Back-end website work: 1 2 3 4 5
- Project strategy: 1 2 3 4 5
- Technical tool know-how: 1 2 3 4 5
- Implementing a launch plan: 1 2 3 4 5
- Accessing your own network: 1 2 3 4 5
- Ability to teach something you know: 1 2 3 4 5
- Organizing events: 1 2 3 4 5
- Finding just the right stock image: 1 2 3 4 5
- Taking photos: 1 2 3 4 5
- Creating opt-ins and landing pages: 1 2 3 4 5
- Figuring out your audience’s pain points: 1 2 3 4 5
- Executing plans when they’re laid out: 1 2 3 4 5
- Getting things done quickly: 1 2 3 4 5
- Attention to detail: 1 2 3 4 5
- Revenue projection: 1 2 3 4 5
- Recording keeping: 1 2 3 4 5
Part 3: Your Gaps
Where did you rate yourself low? Are you an excellent interviewer but a crappy writer? Now your job is to find an excellent writer who doesn’t think they’re great at interviews.
It’s so compelling to want to work with someone who is your clone. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished for a clone — imagine how much more I could get done! — but that’s not what you’re looking for here.
Joe is my business partner, and we do not have a lot of overlapping skills.
That’s a good thing. I mean, it leads to me calling him “grampa Joe” when he texts me on the weekend asking what his email password is, and it leads to him keeping me off the airwaves because my skills are best suited for typing and not as much for audio.
So, if your project is a piece of software, say, and you have a picture in your head of what you want this software to do, but no idea how to execute, you need to look for someone who is whip smart at programming.
There are great places to have overlap, though. Like marketing. If you ranked yourself a “5” in marketing, and you find a partner who also ranked themselves a “5,” good on you.
Then, nothing can stop you.
How to Work With a Partner
If you’re anything like me, you started working for yourself to avoid working for someone else.
“Does not play well with others” might have been on your work report card.
But you should know… working with a partner is completely different than working for someone else.
And there are specific things you can do to make that process easier.
Part 1: Be an Excellent Communicator
If something is bothering you about your project, or your partner, speak up. Remember, this is your livelihood. If you’re not willing to speak up about something, you probably should reconsider whether you can be someone’s partner in the first place.
I speak from experience, here. I am, historically, allergic to conflict, and will go to great lengths to avoid it.
But I am working with a business partner, who, incidentally, is not a mind reader.
So if I want my concerns to be heard, I have to speak about them.
I’m a work in progress (as are we all), but know that this tip about communication is one I wish I’d read a year ago.
Want to be an excellent communicator?
- Avoid email at all costs. Email is one of the worst ways to communicate. You don’t get to pick up on anyone’s tone, you lose sight of your goal (which is to create something amazing, not to create a megabyte of email).
- Use Slack (or something else to chat), and Zoom. We keep Slack open all day, and use it for one-line thoughts or short conversations. For meetings, we use Zoom. We like to keep the “face-to-face” meeting environment, even though we’re halfway across the country from each other.
- Don’t save anything to your local computer. I feel like this tip is about three months from being as outdated as talking about faxing instead of sending physical email, but people still do it. “Can you email me that as an attachment?” I was asked recently. The answer, of course, was no. Keep everything in the cloud. We use Google Drive, but you can use Dropbox, iCloud, or whatever Microsoft has.
Part 2: Clearly Define Who Does What
For each part of this project, assign roles. If something is anyone’s job, it’s no one’s job, and it won’t get done. Our example is social media management. For whatever reason, social media feels like I’m slacking off, so I don’t do it. Joe likes Twitter and Facebook, and will use those platforms to blow off steam at the end of the day.
Yes, both of us can use social media, but neither one of us was using it effectively, so for a year and a half, our social media presence was lacking.
If we’d assigned a platform to each partner, we would be farther along in our social media journey.
Instead, we ended up hiring someone to do both because we weren’t focusing on it.
What needs to happen in your business — in your life — to make the next 12 months be successful?
Your answer can be anything:
- A monetary goal
- A lifestyle goal
- An “x number of lives changed” goal
Can you reach that goal alone, or do you need a partner?