Self-Care in the Form of Small Business Collaboration!
Mental Health and Collaboration go hand-in-hand in the small business world. Ask yourself, do you do a good job at both? How about one or the other? If you're not sure, today's blog post is just for you! And if you think, "Yes! I slay at both!" then I encourage you to still read. You never know what pearls of wisdom you might find!
The Importance of Self-Care:
Y'all, mental health is IMPORTANT. Say it with me: "My mental health is IMPORTANT. I DESERVE to feel good, as well as, do good. It is my RIGHT to take care of myself, before I take care of others. Making myself HAPPY, is not self-indulgence, but self-care."
Okay, now that we are all on the same page, let's talk a little more about the importance of self-care. Last week, I talked about how taking care of yourself, helps to create a more efficient business, and I hope you are trying it out for yourself. But aside from efficiency, self-care is important for the longevity of a business and the quality of customer service of a business.
If you are not taking care of yourself, your business will not last. Burnout is an incredible force, and I have experienced it first-hand. A job that I loved, that I truly believe saved my life, became a prison, because I forgot to take care of myself while doing it. My biggest struggle was saying "No" when I was at my capacity both mentally and physically; so what is your biggest struggle? Can you identify it? Saying "No" can be a form of self-care. I'm not perfect. The people pleaser in me hates saying "No", but I am aware that by doing so, I am preserving the goals I am working towards!
When I have taken a self-care day, weekend, or just afternoon nap, I am happier. When I am happier, I am far more capable of interacting with customers in a positive way! I always work towards being the most professional version of myself, but when I am burnt out, unhappy, or unhealthy, positivity is not the emotion I reach for. Knowing that about myself, I am able to pursueade myself to take care of my mental and physical health, even when I feel like I have "too much to do". So ask yourself, when are you happiest? How do you interact with people when you are happiest?
Ways to Collaborate with other Small Businesses:
So how do you collaborate with other businesses? I'll admit, it can be hard, and definentily scary; rejection or failed partnerships is a possibility. But our greatest successes happen in the darkness of fear and uncertainty! One of my favorite quotes is: "The tiny seed knew, that in order to grow, it needed to be dropped in dirt, covered with darkness, and struggle to reach the light."- Sandra Kring.
Questions to ask yourself before inquiring about a collaboration with another business:
1.What products or services do I want to offer to my customers? (Make a running list--always add when items come to mind).
2. What things can I do or make, that will be unique to my business? (No copycats here).
3. From that list, what products or services would do well with my customers and business, that I do not know how to, or do not have time to, do or make myself?
4. What businesses offer those products or services? Do I like how they run their business? Do I like them as a person? Can I see myself working with them?
Ways to Begin a Collaboration with another Small Business:
1. Once you have identified items/services that another business could provide, and found a business you'd like to work with, it's time to reach out. It is important to contact that person in their preferred method (see their bios, it often tells you).
2. You want to send a message that sounds both friendly, but professional. Be specific, and offer specific examples of products/services you are interested in. You can include past work that they have done as examples of items you are interested in.
3. The most important thing to include, is your boundaries. BE SURE to be specific in your wants and needs with another business. So many collaborations and partnerships get messy, because clear boundaries were not established in the very beginning. This can include (but is not limited to): timeline, price point, exclusive rights, partnerships with other businesses, etc. Advocate for yourself, so that you don't have to defend yourself later.
4. Send your message and believe in yourself! If it works out, you may have just opened the door to a great partnership and friendship! If it doesn't, keep trying!
Why Collaboration is a form of Self-Care:
Some of my best products are the result of collaborations with other businesses. I cannot, nor claim to be, an expert in everything; I don't even try. What I do try to be, is a good business owner, an even better creative mind and heart, and true friend to all who need me. My business has not just opened up doors for me to pursue my dreams and passions, but it has opened the flood gates to the opportunity of new friendships--and that is my greatest achievement.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Cultivating Courage Conference for women in Agriculture. This conference reminded me of the importance of collaboration and having other people in your corner--we were not meant to walk this earth alone, and we certainly should not have to build a business on our own. Going to this conference stirred several things in me, but the biggest take aways were this:
1. I want to work WITH people and not FOR people.
2. I must do more of what scares me, in order to grow myself and my business.
3. I miss teaching people, and sharing what I am passionate about.
If you made it this far, I'm going to share a little secret with you...I am working on my first ever Small Business Workshop with The Saddle Shoppe. This event will be a single day event for women in business wanting to grow and collaborate with other small businesses. I will be hosting this in April, here in my hometown of Greeley Colorado, to a limited number of wonderful business ladies. Be on the lookout for more information, and be sure to grab a ticket when they go up for sale! I want to be so candid with you, I am terrified by this. But God has put it on my heart, and I ready to take the leap!
So What's Next?
Did you enjoy today's reading? I hope so! These bad boys take me several hours to write. I also hope that you will consider joining me in April for The Saddle Shoppe Small Business Workshop--It will be an incredible opportunity to grow yourself and your business! If you are interested, please leave an email in the comments and I will send you the information FIRST!