Stop Competing, Stop Crying and Start Collaborating

Collaborating is a Sign of Confidence and Competence

Collaborating is the difference between people who have confidence in the place in the market and people who are on defense. What I see so many people doing is focusing on what their so-called competition is doing. Am I saying you shouldn’t understand the pulse of the marketplace or what standard practices are? No.

You need to go on the Offensive and attack the problem, not the “competition.

Let’s be honest, you’re not “assessing the market”, you’re looking at what other people are doing and frustrating yourself playing catch up, or getting aggravated over everyone who beat you to the punch on an idea.

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned as a Creative Entrepreneur comes from my past as a track and cross-country runner:

Stay in my own lane, run my own race, run at my own pace.

It’s such a simple and straight-forward concept that 99% of people fail to do, and it keeps them from becoming the top 1%. The power of absolute focus comes from understanding that playing to your strengths, and scaling them cannot be denied. It is the not so secret formula of Olympic Level Athletes.

Attack the problem, not the other people solving it

When I see other people creating content, or participating in an industry where I have clients, I don’t attack them. What I do instead is reach out to them as an ally so that we can attack the same problem together.

If you are in business just to make money, this concept will disgust you, but if you want to deliver tremendous value and aren’t held back by vanity, you can see collaboration as nothing but beneficial. By working together with others you can gain a fresh perspective, speed and of course respect.

Every single day I retweet and promote and sing the praises of my contemporaries because I respect the marketplace enough to understand the truth is that someone who wants to work with me, is going to work with me regardless if my work and reputation merit it.

Over-saturation is Irrelevant

The word that is cheating so many of you out of your success is “Over Saturation”. Someone else did it already and you missed the boat to be first, so you won’t even bother, and yet you missed the opportunity by not showing up to be BEST rather than FIRST.

Everything I’ve ever achieved any success in was already wildly saturated. Anything I’ve ever made a dime on was wildly saturated. What people fail to understand is that all you have to do is deliver unique value. You don’t need a new idea, you don’t need something completely original, the remix often is more popular anyway (Unless Hollywood was involved).

Here are 5 Benefits of Collaborating with Your “Competition”

  • Different points of view and creative depth
  • Split responsibility and more resources
  • Shared credibility and pooled audience reach
  • Additional data points for decision making
  • More authority in the market from a consumer perspective’

One the things that I’ve learned from collaborating is that it sharpens my instincts and expands my empathy. If you are a creative or an entrepreneur or both, then you may sometimes feel a sense of loneliness in your work.  By spending time with other who share in the same struggles as you, not only will you feel less burdened emotionally, but you will learn to trust your gut more and that you aren’t as isolated as you think.d

This is one of the most valuable gifts of collaborating, learning to understand others, but also being understood in return.

How to Stop Being a Starving Artist

Starving Artist Syndrom is a Problem

The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it. Being a Starving Artist isn’t noble, it is a crippling mindset that is justifying you accepting less than you deserve. I’m not debating you on this in the comments, it is a fact.

Great, so what do we do about it?

Look I get it, the market doesn’t respect creativity and doesn’t value it the same way it values technical skills or business savvy. Until that culture changes, you’re going to have to learn the language of business and how to create leverage as an artist, and that doesn’t mean getting people to all of a sudden wake-up and respect your creativity.

Understand What Other People Value (Hint it’s not your creativity)

You need to understand that what other people value is what you can provide to them. If your creativity can facilitate giving them what they value most, then you will be able to charge what you want or what is appropriate. This will ONLY happen after you managed to communicate that what you can do for them, aligns with delivering to them what they want most:

  • Time/Speed
  • Opportunity
  • Respect/Prestige
  • Profit/Resources
  • Consistency

You’ll notice that aesthetic, design and creativity didn’t make the list. By framing your language and the way you communicate around those values, you will always be a Starving Artist.

If You Really Want to Stop Being a Starving Artist, Answer This Question:

How does your work create value for me and my business? 

It’s really straight-forward. If you can’t communicate that to an employer or client in a meaningful way, you’ve already lost. You need to learn to speak the language of business if you want to be taken seriously. If you can’t do that, it’s okay, but you will have to partner with someone who can and split the money with them.

If you want a more in-depth conversation around how to stop being a Starving Artist and get paid what you’re worth as a creative, you may want to listen to this episode of my Podcast.