Competition, What Competition? Why Collaboration Might Just Be Your Strongest Asset

By Abiola Babarinde

African Women 2
Collaboration is a game where everyone wins. You build your network, expand your audience and strengthen your brand.
As ambitious women, chasing our dreams is part of what gets us up in the morning. While it is important to protect our ideas, we have been taught to keep our distance from the competition while studying their progress. It’s easy to believe that ‘there can only be one’ and do everything humanly possible to be That One. But actually, there isn’t only room for one. There’s room for everyone who is tenacious and passionate enough to pursue their goals, and collaboration plays a huge role in that.
Still not convinced? Read on to find out why collaboration might just be your strongest asset.

Collaboration is a source of inspiration and support

Even the smartest, most connected and experienced people in the world don’t know it all. Through collaboration, you get to bounce ideas off people who truly understand your industry. It’s a “great way to make sure that we all keep moving forward and nobody gets left behind”, fashion-travel blogger and life-stylist Fisayo Longe tells us. Building a business or high-powered career is definitely not for the fainthearted, and even the toughest of us can benefit from support from other people who get it.

Collaboration strengthens your skills and expands your network

Collaboration also helps build your technical skills by sharing knowledge with those in your field. My fellow writers and enterprise enthusiasts constantly share videos, articles and books aimed at improving skills from strategy to copywriting. But if you keep all your aspirations under wraps, people won’t know that you may benefit from what they have to give. Sharing educational resources creates a ‘pay it forward’ culture that leaves you better off in the end.

Collaboration also brings you closer to people that it might have taken you years to meet. After all, “people who know talented people are always more useful than a single talented person with no connections,” says producer, writer and radio presenter, Phoebe Parke. In my experience, I’ve met CEOs, entrepreneurs and leading creatives through people in my industry, such as life-coach and business manager Seun Awolowo.

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Collaboration enhances your brand and grows your audience

One key challenge that all businesses face is expanding their customer base/audience. Again, collaboration is part of the solution. It’s one thing to present your own product, but when another brand or business is doing this, you become even more legit. It “adds to your reputation as someone who knows what they’re talking about”, Phoebe says. In blogger Fisayo’s experience, her audiences have grown through friendships with fellow bloggers like Melissa Holdbrook, and “Freddie Harrel [who] invited me to be part of an event she was organising recently that made me almost a thousand pounds. My presence there pulled a bigger crowd which was also great for her”. Collaboration creates scenarios where everyone’s a winner and gets a share of success.

“Think about what you have to offer, not what you have to gain and collaboration will come easily”, Phoebe advises. Even those at the top of their game collaborate. As Fisayo points out, “life coaches like Brendon Burchard and Ariana Huffington have grown their audiences significantly and made millions of dollars through collaborating with each other.” If collaboration works for them, it’s probably going to work for you too.

Collaboration celebrates your uniqueness

Finally, never forget that you have something unique and distinct to bring to the table. The truth is, you are your only competition and you owe it to yourself to improve with each day. No one has walked the same path as you or thinks exactly the way you do. This is a principle that Seun applies across all her areas of her career from life-coaching to the corporate world.

As the saying goes, “no one is you and that is your super-power.” Have confidence in yourself, your abilities and what you have to offer. Fisayo puts it like this, “when you are proud of what you have created and you really believe in your content”, collaboration becomes second nature.

How has collaboration helped your career or your business? Let us know in the comments section below.



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