Is Collaboration The Answer?

I work with a lot of clients in a lot of different fields. For the most part they are individuals and/or small businesses trying to make their place in the world. Whether it’s business services, life coaching, physical products, or just talking about subjects to show their expertise, often they’re doing it alone.

I have (what I like to think) a very successful collaboration with Andrew Rondeau of We Build Your Blog. We run several things together including the successful all-in-one blogging and website course Income Blogging Guide, and the upcoming WordPress plugin to see all your stats in one place, Pro Blog Stats. We each bring our own unique skills and experiences to make things better than if we did them alone.

However I don’t see many others collaborating or joining together. A lot of people seem to be struggling on their own, setting up a site, producing content, driving traffic, getting business, and so on.
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I often think why don’t more people find others that do what they do online and join up? I guess there are a few barriers:

– Trust. If you haven’t met this person before, and perhaps may not meet in person for a long time, how do you trust them?
I say look around their site, look on their social media profiles and see what kind of person they are. Contact other people who may have dealt with them, and see what kind of experiences they have had. Gut feeling is also often a good sign, however you have to be careful, see below.

– Relationship. How do you know you’re going to get along with this person and they will do what they say they will do?
You don’t. You can try it and see. Start small, perhaps write a guest blog for each other. Perhaps collaborate on an eBook, or a webinar or a small product that doesn’t take much time and see how that goes.

– Money. How can you trust this person will pay you money that is owed to you?
Well if you’re currently earning $0 then half of nothing is still zero. However there are safe guards you can put in place. You can alternate payments, perhaps someone pays for the domain name, the other for hosting. Income can be split at certain levels, so when you reach your first $100 then it is split. Don’t wait until it’s $1,000. Keep a spreadsheet or online Google Document that both have access to and can see income and expenditure on.

I have a problem letting go and sharing things and (when it comes to outsourcing) delegating, but I don’t believe I would be anywhere near where I am today without collaboration. What has been your experience?