Episode 18 // Collaborate Like a Boss

May 5, 2015

In today’s episode of Being Boss, Emily and Kathleen talk about creative collaboration and partnering up. We’ve both had creative collaborations in the past and are obviously collaborating with Being Boss, so we’re taking you through the steps of what it takes to create a successful, dreamy partnership that works.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"That's how collaborations start. They start as friendships or they start as a conversation."
- Kathleen Shannon

Discussed in this Episode

  • Collaborating with each other on Being Boss and how that has sparked collaborations with other creatives
  • Getting into the right mindset for creative collaborations: start with small, brainstorming sessions
  • Thinking of your worst case scenario and best case scenario for starting a collaboration/partnership
  • Being open with your collaboration partner(s) and having constant communication
  • Finding your communication style, co-working space, or scheduled meetings to check in regularly with your partner
  • Building a trusting relationship with your collaborative partner(s) and nurturing that relationship outside of business
  • Setting boundaries, defining roles, and assigning tasks/responsibilities
  • Actionable steps to take if you want to collaborate with someone
  • Getting it on paper and making it legal


More from Kathleen

Braid Creative

More from Emily

Almanac Supply Co.


Kathleen Shannon 0:04
Get your business together, get yourself into what you do, and see it through.

Emily Thompson 0:10
Because being boss is hard when you work and life is messy, making your dream job of your own isn't easy.

Kathleen Shannon 0:18
But getting paid for it, becoming known for it. And finding purpose in it is so doable if you do the work,

Emily Thompson 0:28
being boss, a podcast for creative entrepreneurs, from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Welcome to episode eight to collaborate like a ball. Brought to you by fresh books, cloud accounting.

Kathleen Shannon 0:42
Today's episode is all about creative collaboration and partnering up, we're gonna chat about the ups and downs of collaborating with another creative or multiple creatives and tricks for creating dreamy partnerships that work first an announcement we got an announcement.

Emily Thompson 1:00
All right, so our first Secret Episode is live and ready for download over on our website. This episode is all about cultivating confidence for the creative entrepreneur, you can find out more and sign up to get it to add love being boss calm.

Kathleen Shannon 1:17
And I think about I think in that Secret Episode I talked about getting a psychic reading, don't I? You do.

Unknown Speaker 1:22
Yeah, that's

Emily Thompson 1:23
that one.

Kathleen Shannon 1:24
We were going to make a secret episode on like woowoo business practices. And I decided just to combine it all. Combine the

Emily Thompson 1:32
confidence and the actually it was just a little a little was it foreshadowing for the woowoo episode DICOM which we need to do that one.

Kathleen Shannon 1:38
I'm excited to do that one

Emily Thompson 1:40
that was gonna be a fun one. We'll definitely do it.

Kathleen Shannon 1:42
We plan on putting out a Secret Episode once every three months. So be sure to sign up for that at love being boss calm and you'll be sure to get the new secret episodes once we release them. All right. So okay. In today's episode, I want to talk about creative collaborations. It's a topic that's been on our minds for a while now. And so I just kind of want to give a little bit of backstory about how this topic came to be. And I went into business with my sister four years ago, and it certainly had its up and ups and downs. And but it's mostly been awesome because we inherently trust each other. We're sisters, we get along great. And we have each other's backs no matter what. Everything was just split 5050 it made sense. But that said I've been super hesitant to partner up with anyone else ever. Like even in college, I hated group doing like the group work.

Emily Thompson 2:47
I was always the one that did all the work. I was that one that was like pissed at everybody because no one else was pulling their weight size, do everybody's job for them.

Kathleen Shannon 2:54
I was always with people who did the work. And some of them are my friends to this day. But they like to do the work between the hours of like midnight and 6am. And I have always been a sleeper between the hours of midnight and 6am. So that was always frustrating for me. But anyway, so it really wasn't until we did being boss that I really partnered up with someone else. And so I think that we want to talk a little bit about our collaboration. And for me it's sparked collaborations with other creatives, it's really given me the confidence to branch out a little bit beyond just my own family whenever it comes to creative collaborations and partnering up and so what about you Emily? Like what's your background in collaborating? Sure,

Emily Thompson 3:44
I've actually done a couple of them over the years. So whenever I started my like life as a creative entrepreneur, I was a jewelry maker. And it really sort of started then I remember the first like notable collaboration that I did was with a was with like an Etsy friend of mine like 767 years ago or something. And I made jewelry and she was a stationery designer. And so we decided to to join forces and like and combine our followings to do and do a What was it? It was a stationery and jewelry combo pack. And so it was with Viva La violet, her name is Heather. And now she's a WordPress designer. But she she loved Alice in Wonderland. And I had just had Lily and was totally into like cutesy girly, things like that too. So we did to her like product collaborations where she designed stationery and I designed jewelry pieces and we had to like gift sets that we did. And it was a really easy fun collaboration where she designed the packaging and I did order fulfillment. We both put them in our Etsy shops and it was a really fun way. Like even then I didn't even realize what I was doing there and it was just like us wanting to do something together and was really sort of a fun project for us to do. And we split the weight, or the weight of the projects equally and dinner dinner own things, we were able to just sort of share our followings with each other, like even back then. And since then, like I guess they've sort of like grown in size, my collaboration is because that one was just a really easy one that we just sort of pulled off like without too much planning. A couple years ago, I did a, I did a website template that was designed by Jeff Jessica Swift, and I developed it and we put it for sale on my site. There was there was that fun workshop that you and I tried that time remember that?

Unknown Speaker 5:41
Oh, yeah, that was awesome. That was awesome. We sold zero tickets. No, we

Emily Thompson 5:47
sold one ticket.

Unknown Speaker 5:49
That one person who bought that ticket listens to being boss. Now,

Emily Thompson 5:53
I don't know. I don't know if so Hi. So so we had the failed attempt at a collaboration A long time ago. About all my indie boom projects are really creative collaborations every time I do one. So my indie brand projects are anywhere from four to 12 months of branding website and strategy. And as a small studio, I don't do it all myself like I'm not trying to do it all myself. So sometimes I collaborate with braid for the the personal branding and business visioning portion of those projects. Sometimes you bring in copywriters, and so or my which is Lexi content from Atlanta, they're adorable and hysterically amazing people. Abraham row photography is a local local business that I use a lot for branding photography for my clients. So really like my daily work is kind of creative collaborations. So starting with that fun jewelry and stationery collaboration years ago, it's definitely how I've built my business. And I absolutely love doing collaborations, you know, I

Kathleen Shannon 7:01
want to jump in and say that I feel like even the work that I do with my clients is very collaborative. And because of this process that we take them through, they're in every step of the way. Yeah, and so that it feels very collaborative. But then we also have a couple of employees. And then, as you mentioned, you and I we're partnering up on indie boom projects and branding projects, before we started being boss together, and then also, I mean, I would even say, we've just now ventured into working with other contractors, such as writers, we work with Erica midkiff, she's an amazing content coach. And she actually, we actually collaborated with her recently and hired her to help us with our own content for our big braid method ecourse that we're about to launch in June, I can't wait. I can't wait. Anyway, um, but I think that there's something different to kind of working with contractors and collaborating with clients versus really partnering up on a project with another creative.

Emily Thompson 8:11
And maybe that's there's definitely a line between partnering and just general collaborating. But really, when you think about it, the same rules apply to both whether you're just collaborating on a quick like blog post, or you're partnering up on a business venture, like I think the same rules and, and like etiquette, sort of fall in line for both scenarios. So I think we're gonna be talking about books today. Let's we are,

Kathleen Shannon 8:37
so I asked our Facebook group, what they thought about collaborations, and here were some of the comments that we got there. Our friend trust, this says, I like the idea of collaborating, but it would need to be the same kind of chemistry as being in a relationship with someone. Even then I couldn't see myself collaborating creatively with my partner. I'm fiercely independent and very protective of my vision. So the synchronicity would have to be something absolutely stellar. I've never felt it with anyone. But I have always wanted to be part of an amazing team of creatives that make a project happen, the sum being bigger than any of the parts, so to speak. And I love that last line, she said the sum being bigger than any of the parts, because I feel like that's what I've created with braid creative, and then especially with you with being boss. Both of those interviews are so much bigger than I could have ever done by myself. So yeah, I loved her comment.

Emily Thompson 9:41
I agree. And we also have another comment from Erica that says I love the idea of creative collaborations, but honestly have no idea how to go about setting one up. There are so many creatives that I'd love to work with, but I have zero idea how to reach out to reach out and ask also how Do you best sum up and agreement so neither party gets screwed? And a lot of people piped in and they were like yes to what Erica says.

Kathleen Shannon 10:09
So we'll definitely be talking about that a little bit. Allison here says, I've been approached about collaborating, but I'm kind of paralyzed when I think of the logistics of it. And that's the part that really always got me whenever it came to collaborating as well. Allison says, I have no idea what standard on the financial end of it plus a huge part of the benefit to the side hustle is that I don't have I don't ever have to take anyone else into consideration when I make a decision. Unlike I had the day job.

Emily Thompson 10:40
Oh, I agree. That's some good pain points there. All right. Carrie wrote in and said, I have always done creative work solo. And in private. I know this stems from fear more than anything, and just something I've struggled with for a long time. I've seen amazing things happen out of good collaboration and would love to experience it. But how to get started is a mystery to me. I have fear of falling into a leader slash follower dynamic. And that doesn't seem like a formula for greatness.

Kathleen Shannon 11:09
Yeah, I included Carrie's comment, because I really want to talk about that. The dynamic of a partnership in the collaboration, I think that that's really important. And so yeah, I like her comment. Alright, and our final one is from Jill. And she says collaboration is scary, because I always have to make compromises. Also, there are always egos to contend with my own included, I believe in but struggle with being gracious if the other person has the better idea. I think this is funny, because I mean, if you come to me with a better idea, Emily, I'm like, amen. I'm so glad I didn't have to think of that one. the logistics of getting credit and getting paid also worry me how to structure a contract to take that stuff into consideration. Alright, so we're going to be talking about all of this stuff today, I'm super excited to dig in. So I think that the first thing whenever it comes to a creative collaboration, and really the first way that we start, every podcast we do is about getting into the right mindset. So I would say a good way to get into the right mindset, whenever it comes to creative collaborations is to start small. And that's the thing that comes up in a lot of our podcasts is just start small one step at a time. And so I would say I'm finding someone that you have really great brainstorming sessions with that can be a collaboration, or smaller project work together. So for example, before hiring an employee, maybe just send them some project work. The same goes for collaborating and doing bigger projects together like a podcast. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 12:49
yep. It is all about starting starting small. And like you can even start with something as easy as like a blog series, or, or dot, I mean, the product collaboration that I did with Heather's seven years ago, it was put none of aired, neither of us out any money whatsoever. It was just a little bit of our time, like there was no investment other than two people who were already friends wanting to get together to sort of do this thing. So we started really, really small and the return was small, but it's obviously it obviously got me into the the mindset of collaborations being this easy thing that you just do. So start small, start with something really, really small, and then work your way up from there.

Kathleen Shannon 13:34
I think another big mindset thing, and this is probably even more than starting small. For me getting in the right mindset of collaborating, is to explore the worst case scenario, but then also the best case scenario. So I am before you and I even started being Boss, I was like, okay, what's the worst case scenario? What could happen? And I think that the worst case scenario is that we both get burned out, and we end up hating each other, and we're not friends anymore, right?

Emily Thompson 14:05
But then again, is that actually going to happen?

Kathleen Shannon 14:08
Right? A lot of miscommunication along the way. And so once we identify that that's the worst case scenario, then we can kind of work backwards from there and say, Okay, how do we keep the worst case scenario from happening? And I think it is basically we just need to have regular conversations all the time. Emily and I, whenever we're not emailing, we're like chatting through Evernote, sometimes we're even texting. We have we try and keep clear boundaries. So even when we're texting, I'm like, oh, sorry, I'm texting you on Evernote, but all the same, like we're we are touching base.

Unknown Speaker 14:46
I mean, wouldn't you say that we're

Kathleen Shannon 14:47
probably talking once a day in some way.

Emily Thompson 14:49
Once a day, like if I ever have a day where I'm not talking to you? I'm like having caffeine withdrawals.

Unknown Speaker 14:56
I start to miss you.

Emily Thompson 14:57
I know. So So yeah. Weird. definitely consistently talking and and that's going to keep that worst case scenario of us like getting pissed at each other from happening because there's that constant constant connection going we're there's nothing bad happening and if something does start happening where like i'm starting to get miffed because of whatever i can't even imagine what would go wrong but we're talking so much like you're going to pick up on that and then we can fix it quickly or whatever that would be that would never happen i would tell you if i was mad but but yeah i think i think going after that worst case scenario and realizing that it's not probably going to happen unless you really just screw everything up but also that idea of starting small allows you to sort of slowly build that proof that you need to show you that you actually can do this and then it's worth it or it's fun or whatever it is that you're trying to accomplish for yourself

Kathleen Shannon 15:50
i want to be sure to talk about best case scenario too because i think it's easy to fall into the fear of worst case scenario but best case scenario so one of the things that you and i did emily when we started this podcast and that i think is good for anyone starting a creative collaboration or business together is to set goals and to imagine what the best case scenario is and you know it's funny because i think that sometimes you can set your goals like really small so that you can reach them easier which i that's a whole separate conversation on goal setting right by best case scenario i mean i feel like we've already gone beyond our best case scenario and now we're having to create new best case scenarios

Emily Thompson 16:35
we are we aren't where we did we set both levels of goals we've met the ones that would be easy enough to reach so that like we weren't being sad that we weren't reaching our goal but then we did we did make those those best case scenario ones and once you reach those especially it's all worth it and so even if it is hard or you're going to have to give up a little bit of control or whatever it is that then makes you not want to do these things you'll quickly find out that the benefits that come from collaborating totally outweigh this idea that you're going to give up creative control or you're gonna have to ask permission from someone else before you make a decision like those things don't matter anymore and this is coming from someone who has serious authority issue something that i talk about a lot and you just you get used to it it becomes it is a partnership so i don't know it has to come from both sides

Kathleen Shannon 17:25
and i like what trista said was it trista about it feeling like a relationship like you should have those hell yes let's do this kind of feelings whenever it comes to collaborating and i guess that that just depends on the size of the collaboration too so the bigger the project the more important i think it is to have those feelings otherwise again start small dip your toe in the water with maybe a project before you really partner up

Emily Thompson 17:54
i agree with that um so one of the mindset things that i think it's really important to get into is this idea of sharing which for creative entrepreneurs when it comes to like us running our like businesses usually as solopreneurs this idea of letting someone in and having to share everything about a project or a whole business or whatever it may be if you don't get back to that kindergarten mindset of let share then things are going to go downhill very quickly you know for us it was for us it was definitely an adjustment or i guess probably less so than usual because my business is very much mine and david's your business is very much so yours in tara's so you i guess we already have a lot of that sharing mentality already built in

Kathleen Shannon 18:42
i think we were already sharing with each other we were as experts yeah kind of on this mastermind level where we were talking numbers and there were a few people that i would share that kind of information with you are one of them so i think that not just sharing but establishing trust so that you can openly and transparently share

Emily Thompson 19:02
sure we'll say and the things that you share is really important too because you do have to share numbers like that's one of those things have those conversations early and we talk about having money conversations early and as often as possible we talk money all the time or sharing roles like being able to say like kathleen and i both design but i had no problem sharing the design role of kathleen actually i said have attic didn't want it so like being able to share your roles and being able to define what those are but also just feelings in general which can be really hard hard with or for some people we talk all the time about having hard conversations and that first that first phone call that your skype call that we had after we decided that we should probably talk about maybe actually doing this we asked each other really hard questions and like shared our actual feelings were guarding what this was that we were getting into so just getting into that mindset of sharing and knowing that that a partnership or a relationship on on a collaborative level only is really effective if you're going to share as much as you need to if not maybe a little bit more but not too much right

Kathleen Shannon 20:19
boundaries a little bit a little bit deeper into this conversation

Emily Thompson 20:24
um i also i want to talk about so everyone or most of the comments talk about how they don't even know how to get started but i want to the mindset shift of just ask or just send an email i actually in a recent blog post well it's not that reason i guess but three months ago i actually blogged the email that i sent kathleen to ask her if she wanted to collaborate with me on this podcast

Kathleen Shannon 20:55
so i blogged that how did i miss that

Emily Thompson 20:58
i'm pretty sure i tagged you in everything

Kathleen Shannon 21:03
i'm sorry i shared it

Emily Thompson 21:04
no it's fine well we'll put it in the show notes but um but it really is just as easy as sending an email and asking what's the worst case scenario the worst case scenarios they're gonna write back and say no in which case what harm does that do a little bit of rejection is actually good for everyone so and then you just ask again and you'll find out that getting a no doesn't actually hurt and getting a yes like the best case scenario the possibility that actually happening outweighs a little bit of fear that there is an in hearing a no

Kathleen Shannon 21:36
can i share a story about asking someone to collaborate recently yes you can so i had i have a well creative colleague someone that i've worked with before here locally i ran into him at a coffee shop and he was telling me about a cool new project that he was working on and i was like oh can i brand it like let me take it through the braid method and he was like yeah sure so we met up and we were talking about next steps for that and then afterwards i got so excited about his project i couldn't stop thinking about the business model of it and all the ways that could grow and i was like oh my gosh kathleen why are you thinking about this like the you this is none of your business serial entrepreneur i know so and my husband and i we invest in real estate like so we buy little rental properties and recently i thought maybe i should take some of that cash that i would use to buy a rental property and invest in a business like i just started getting into that entrepreneurial mindset so i drafted up a letter to this guy and it was kind of like hey this might be presumptuous but are you looking for business partner like maybe we should partner up on this thing and then i let i let fear get ahold of me and i said oh i'm not gonna send that am i crazy like what am i thinking so i didn't send the email and a week later he emailed me and was like hey are you interested in partnering up on this like i've thought about having a few different people as a partner and but you and braid like it just makes a lot of sense and it's definitely not something that i would go into lightly but i feel more brave going into it well one because i had had the idea of partnering as well so it seemed kind of like a universe right answering the call kind of thing and then also partnering up with you on being boss like i've learned that it's not i mean i guess before i thought that partnering up in business was practically like getting married but i'm writing that it's really not like it really is business and it's really just like doing the work that you would do for someone else anyway but just making some of the profit off of that yeah and our conversations have been much more official because we don't have the history that you and i have emily or that right me and my sister have so our conversations have been a little bit more official and it's i've been able to really see kind of what it's like going into a real i'm doing air quotes a real collaboration or a real partnership where you know you have to get lawyers involved early to get things drafted up on paper and llc or being amended and that sort of thing so what i want to say is all that stuff seems really overwhelming and kind of scary but it's really not like you're just kind of figuring it out as you go and so whenever i talk to him about like hey how are we going to split the profit it was the same way that you and i would have the conversation yeah so anyway so emily and i whenever you and i partnered up i mean we just decided 5050 would be the easiest way to do it now another thing whenever it comes to collaborating is if you have other business partners and it probably is a good idea to get a lawyer to talk these things through with That can be kind of pricey. But you have to consider is it your business that is going into the partnership? Or is it you that is going into the partnership. And so for me, I decided to just bring my business into the partnership, basically. So I could use my team as a resource. Yeah, so I wouldn't have to do it all myself. Right. So that's like a big thing to consider whenever having partnerships. But again, if it's just you, and just someone else, I do think that 5050 is a pretty easy down the middle way to go. But sure, quantifying that partnership, and kind of like the roles and how much is what worth, that gets a little tricky.

Emily Thompson 25:43
It does. But But the key there is that if you're going into a partnership, or collaboration, or whatever this is where you're wanting to partner with someone in some way, you have to do it with the idea that it should be bringing mutual success. And it's defining what that is for each party. And for us, it was, for us, it was just creating like really badass content, and maybe making some money off of it in the future. And you know, as we grow, we begin thinking about how to monetize that. But in the beginning, it was just creating some content, it being equal work for both of us. And the idea that we were it was going to be something that we use to elevate each other and elevate ourselves. It wasn't something that was going to drain us and we had that conversation, like, you know, is this something that we have time for. And if you hadn't had time for it, we wouldn't have done it. So you have to go into these things with the idea that it should be for mutual success, not just your own, if you're doing it for your own success, it's the wrong reason to do it, it's going to fall apart, you should definitely be building each other up and elevating each other's like reach and abilities. And if the trade off is lopsided, even at out, either give them more of the profits, or you take on more work or whatever it is so that it's an even trade of money or no have energy. And if if you need to trade money for energy and like have things weigh out differently on that side of things, do it, but it should be an even trade off.

Kathleen Shannon 27:18
And I think that you figure out what's even just by making lists and talking things out. I mean, it's really, it's complicated, but it's also not.

Emily Thompson 27:28
Yeah, it's also not you just have to do it.

Kathleen Shannon 27:31
Alright, let's talk about like the habits and routines of establishing a good creative collaboration. Yeah. Um, so I think that communication style is like a good habit to get into and figuring out how you best communicate. And so like for us, I think establishing Evernote early into the game was immediately at immediately, we immediately started Evernote. And that's where we kind of started brainstorming. So I think that that has been huge in our success in our collaboration. I'm also I mean, we're not in the same city as each other, but having a co working space, or Yeah, regular huddles like even here at braid creative. We've started doing weekly get togethers where we huddle up, and we talk about our lineages what's on our list, and where we need help, and what kind of great things are going on things that we want to celebrate, and then where we're struggling and where we need help from our other people. So yeah, that kind of thing has been a really great book. But back to co working space. I think that that is, I think identifying whether or not you need to be in the same space as the other person is really important. I think that some collaborations you can probably get away with not being physically next to each other. But I think that a lot of collaborations or partnerships really do benefit from proximity.

Emily Thompson 28:59
I agree with that. And just the idea of checking in regularly period, which is something you talked about if that has to become a habit of the partnership, period. I can't imagine going a week without talking to you like about something whether that's an email that someone has sent us, or like whatever's happening with the next episode, or simply that we're launching an episode actually two episodes every week. We are checking in with each other regularly and not just about not just about work stuff, but also like personal stuff, like I want to, I want to make sure that my partner and this thing that we're building isn't losing her shit over like, I don't know, some crap in your life or whatever. Like, you know, we definitely have conversations beyond business that that assist us in, in making sure that we're always going to be on the same page and we know what's happening and know what's going on with both the work but also our lives so that we can be just healthy people in general, which I think is really,

Kathleen Shannon 29:54
really important. And I think it's I think that's a really good point and remembering that we're friends First, yeah, and I even think that with my sister, whenever it comes to braid creative is that we're sisters first. And so I remember whenever we first started braid, and there was a lot of tension, because I had been working solo for a year. And I was really used to just hunkering down at my computer, no music, no interruptions, and just being able to work. And that actually kind of sounds like a dream. Now, I work with no interruptions. But my sister had just come from 13 years of working at an open office agency, and says she really thrive off of that kind of constant communication and feedback and bouncing ideas off of each other. And I mean, isn't that like the dream, if you're starting a business with your sister to be able to like, I don't know, sit side by side and like, chat and work on things together. So it really was an adjustment for the both of us. And we really did have to meet in the middle. And I would say it took three years to really get into our working stride of where I can run across the street, we bought houses across the street from each other. But I know, so I can run across the street and talk to her. And I never feel like the time that I spend just chatting with her about life is wasted. And I feel the same with you too. Like, if we end up chatting for 30 minutes after we record a podcast about life,

Unknown Speaker 31:26

Kathleen Shannon 31:27
whatever we do, like we need to record this. But it's not time wasted. Because it's building the relationship. It's building that trust that you need to have a good collaboration and a good partnership.

Emily Thompson 31:43
I agree. I think I think that what someone said earlier about, like, the relationship really is the foundation for it. And we will talk in a minute about, you know, tapping your drive and people who you already know, to become your collaborators or partners, I think, I mean, if you and I hadn't known, I wouldn't have just emailed you one day and been like, hey, Kathleen, let's start this, this podcast together. And I want you to treat this like a part time job. But I want to launch it in three weeks, which I actually did. Like, I would not have done that. If you and I hadn't had not only like a personal relationship, we'd also work together. Yeah, multiple projects for each other's business. But is the fact that we had this really great relationship already. That then we just through business partner on top of Exactly.

Kathleen Shannon 32:34
Okay, so a lot of our Facebook group members, they were curious about, like, how do you even start a collaboration? How do you approach someone so like you said, You holler at your friends. But I would also say, even if there's someone that you admire, that you would like to work with, or that you would be curious about partnering up with, hire them for something, hire them to develop out your website, if you're like, maybe you're a designer, and you need to find a developer that you can regularly partner up with, hire them invest in that exactly ship with the money, I mean, because you and I have traded 1000s and 1000s of dollars 1000s.

Emily Thompson 33:15
We have, and I've done the same thing. So people in our realm, we all have something to buy, so or if not even to buy, we all have newsletters, like I have started so many relationships with people who signed up for and D tactics, my newsletter, and then just started replying to them. Actually, that's exactly how we got we landed the Paul Jarvis interview.

Unknown Speaker 33:40

Emily Thompson 33:41
Yeah. And so and that podcast was a collaboration of

Kathleen Shannon 33:46
like, who knows what I'm not saying that Paul Jarvis is going to be

Emily Thompson 33:50
starting a business with us has big plans for you.

Kathleen Shannon 33:54
That is not true. That is not true. But but it is a relationship that I would love to keep going. And not because like, Oh, well, here's what he could do for me. But more like I just like him as a person. So and I think and same with Danielle chrissa. The jealous curator, I would love to collaborate with her one day on a project. Who knows what that will be. And it might not be tomorrow. It might not be next week, it might be three years from now. But I just I think setting the path by inviting people onto your podcast or blogging about them or doing like investing in something that they sell, like, yeah, buying their artwork or buying their products. It goes huge or simply hitting reply to their email, like you said. So that's how collaboration start. They start as friendships or they start as communication back and forth. So the guy that I'm going to be partnering up with or that braid is going to be partnering up with I followed his Twitter account for a long time and just kind of like tweeted back and forth. Um, Then finally met him in person and was like, hey, we've been tweeting back and forth. So even just a social media relationship. That's mean, social media has really leveled the playing field and you can have access to anybody over Twitter or Instagram, you can really start to build up genuine trust, I think I mean, I know that social media is a little bit of a front, but I think that you really can build genuine trust from following someone on Twitter or Instagram, or Facebook or wherever they post the most and interacting with them engaging with them. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 35:34
yeah. So that's how you start, just begin engaging. I've started lots of relationships just by hitting reply or commenting on a blog post or, or joining someone's mastermind group, or whatever, whatever it may be. Just take the first step. And don't let excuses stop you from doing it.

Kathleen Shannon 35:58
Okay, I want to talk about like some boundaries, because this is the part where it gets into the logistics. Yeah, that someone mentioned that they were scared of, and I get it. And so whenever it comes to really successful creative collaborations and partnerships, I think it is imperative to have some boundaries in place. Yeah. So I think the biggest thing you can do from the get go is define your roles. Define not only like, I mean, pretend like it's a, like it's a real job I put

Emily Thompson 36:33
that makes job outline,

Kathleen Shannon 36:35
but it is like creating an organizational chart. So like, what is your job title within this partnership? And what are the tasks that you do? Write it down on paper, or in Evernote, where you can both see it outline? And so again, with us in our partnership, whenever we first started talking about being Boss, I was like, okay, but I'm not doing any of the tech stuff. Like I just read. And you're like, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 37:00

Unknown Speaker 37:00
I got it covered.

Emily Thompson 37:02
No problem. I'll figure it

Kathleen Shannon 37:05
out. I was like, bye. I'll do all the branding and the episode agendas and the show notes. You know, so I think that that's how we kind of evened that workload out.

Emily Thompson 37:16
It is well and let's talk about that. So Kathleen, in our in our roles of being boss, you do design, design in show notes. And like social you get images, you do social media images, it used to also do email communication. Yeah, I do a lot. Anyone who emails us Kathleen is the one that emails back. And also, here's another sharing thing, Kathleen, and I share a being involved email address. Like we don't even have separate email addresses for being boss. We share one. Yeah. So. So Kathleen, you do those things, your design, show notes, social media images,

Kathleen Shannon 37:52
agenda now like the agenda is before we actually start recording the episode. So yep, I'll create a new agenda and kind of say, Okay, here's what we're talking about. And I'll actually create spaces for Emily to fill out. I also Oh, handles sponsorships. So I communicate like back and forth with people that are interested in sponsorships. And then also probably a lot of the guests in arranging the guests and right, making sure that everything's set there. Then Emily, you do everything else?

Emily Thompson 38:24
How do you all the other things? So I do? I do. I did the website development and continuing development as we add things like e commerce, deer, that guy that I also do, I do all the podcast editing, I load the show notes. And I like put everything into the system. So it goes to iTunes and like the YouTube video, which I think we actually just spoke and I decided to hand that off to Kathleen to help streamline that process for for loading up some of the extra content.

Unknown Speaker 38:57

Emily Thompson 38:58
what else do I do? Is that all I do?

Kathleen Shannon 39:01
Um, well, we both do a lot of planning.

Emily Thompson 39:04
Yes, we're both super involved, obviously in like business development.

Kathleen Shannon 39:08
And so I think that whenever it comes down to it, it's like, Okay, what is it going to create a podcast and we kind of start to outline what we imagine it will take. And this is for any sort of partnership or creative collaboration, like walk yourself through mentally, what you would be doing in a day, in a week, in a month and just write down all the tasks and then you can kind of start to assign those tasks to the appropriate people. And so, for example, this partnership that I'm about to go into, it's like okay, I can obviously do the branding, and the design like that is what I am best at. And so don't take your skills for granted that you already have ran in with us like Emily, you are really good at tech stuff. I would probably blow my brains out before I can Get a podcast edited.

Emily Thompson 40:03
Right? Sometimes I want to.

Kathleen Shannon 40:06
So that's the cool thing about if you're already if you already feel like you have a creative expertise is using that expertise and bringing that to the partnership. And then and then, you know, really determining I mean, sometimes it's okay to say no to a partnership. Oh, yeah. And because if like maybe if your skill sets are too similar, or maybe if you're, I mean, sometimes people are just too similar, and they don't complement each other enough. And that's one thing I love about partnering with my sister is she's very methodical and logical, and I can just come up with some wild idea. And then she kind of figures out how do we actually make it happen? And if it really even makes sense, or if it's just a scattered idea?

Emily Thompson 40:50
Yeah, I think having complimentary skills, but also complimentary, like, energy. Yeah. You're pretty similar. And in that way, maybe more so than most. But I'm being like David, for example, like David Knight, or the example of like, relative husband and wife, team who, who run a business together who run and create it, we we work together all day, every day. And it's really great, but it works really well, because I'm like, the crazy like energetic, bouncing ideas off the wall person, and he's the one sitting there is like, methodical and going. Okay, Emily, like, let's see, does this make sense? And do you have time and he's the one who sort of reins me in. And having those complimentary energies, I think is super important for running something especially long term successfully. And if you are, if you clash at all, like if Dave and I clashed at all, one, we would be together. But do I certainly wouldn't, wouldn't have hired him on to manage my business. And same thing with you, if you and I had ever like clash before, then I wouldn't have asked you to, to come be a part of something that I hoped and is proving to be something that's amazing. So, so define your roles and pick people who pick people who can fill the roles that you can't fill yourself is really, really important. I think holding each other accountable. holding each other accountable, is super important. And it is one of those boundaries. Get over it. If you have problems with people holding you accountable for things. That was one of the things that whenever I, I contacted Kathleen to say, hey, let's do this. One of my points was we will make each other do this thing. Yeah. And so there are tons of times where I'll send you an email or an action email that's like, hey, Kathleen, I need you to do this.

Unknown Speaker 42:45
I love it whenever you tell me what to do.

Unknown Speaker 42:50
I like it. Well, the

Kathleen Shannon 42:52
thing is that I mean, I guess, you know, whenever you're a solopreneur, which I have a team, but whenever you whenever you're your own boss, right? You're constantly having to make your own decisions, even the little things, even just what to put on your to do list and what order to do it in, and it's exhausting. And so to have someone else tell you what to do, is really a gift. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 43:16
it's amazing. I'm the same way when we've talked about this, I hate it in the evening, whenever David asked me what I want for dinner, I don't care. Make the decision for me, and then make me eat it. It's fun. Um, so no, I think I think that is huge. And so just the fact that you and I who do have these sort of separate businesses where we get to sort of do whatever we want, in some sense, like being able to come together and be just as comfortable having you tell me what to do. And vice versa has been super important for making sure that we keep this ball rolling. Because if not, we probably would have done three episodes and just stopped. But instead of us being comfortable holding each other accountable for what comes next is what keeps us doing really, really cool things and getting cool guests and planning really cool projects and all that stuff. So So get used to get used to having people tell you what to do a little bit because it just makes it money. No

Kathleen Shannon 44:15
else. I think that making it real, makes it accountable. And I guess what I'm trying to say is, this is real. And so I felt really real whenever we got our fresh book sponsorship. Yeah. And so now we're accountable. Like I feel right now. Like we're a little tired. like doing two episodes a week was a little ambitious, right? And then we're also recording a lot of episodes right now because you're about to take your 40 day road trip, right and so we're really busting our ass but we've got our recording dates set on the calendar and I think that if you've been listening to being boss for a while, you know how much I love my calendar and setting appointments and we take those appointments seriously. Do and so but we also take our sponsorship seriously and so if we don't put out these episodes we might get sued i mean i don't check emily we are legally bound to a contract with our sponsor now so um and i think that we take each other that seriously to whenever there is a date on our calendar we're always there we're always on time we're always recording an episode regardless of how we feel and that is what it means to be boss is that you show up and you do the work and it doesn't matter if you're tired it doesn't matter if you're burnt out i mean obviously to be

Emily Thompson 45:39
a good boss hired and don't get burnt out but if it happens because it will you just got to keep doing it and and i agree i think i think sponsorships for us has definitely helped hold us accountable for keeping this going but also just the excitement of like who else is gonna want to be a sponsor like those

Kathleen Shannon 45:56
well in our listeners now to hold us accountable

Emily Thompson 45:59
oh definitely i mean imagine the uproar that would happen if we didn't post an episode

Kathleen Shannon 46:03
the enthusiasm from our listeners certainly kept us going

Emily Thompson 46:09
for the

Kathleen Shannon 46:09
manager so i mean that comes to any sort of project you're doing whether or not it's in a partnership or collaboration but getting feedback good feedback that you can hold on to and keep you going and focus on that stuff in those collaborations

Emily Thompson 46:26
and speaking of that sponsor kathleen why don't you tell us a bit more about that

Kathleen Shannon 46:31
so freshbooks is amazing you can do your invoicing billing you can capture your expenses you can track your expenses you can track your time you can send out estimates and quotes and quickly convert those into invoices you can generate reports that's actually my favorite is generating reports i like going to my little profit and loss sheet and just i generate it and i can see how much i'm spending and how much i'm making and they have award winning customer support freshbooks also has mobile apps for iphone ipad and android so you can get it across all of your platforms stand top of your business with a clear picture of its financial health try fresh books for free today go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the how did you hear about us section

Emily Thompson 47:24
i also think that there's nothing wrong with having a trial period for collaborations

Unknown Speaker 47:31
say more about that

Emily Thompson 47:32
so well like you said earlier about about like hiring people and giving them like projects do before you just hire them outright or saying you know let's let's do a one week blog series or something as a collaboration with someone with the maybe with the idea that it could go on to be something amazing but like having a one week trial period or just setting dates and saying we're gonna try this thing out again sharing being super open and transparent with your expectations do a trial period see if it works if it doesn't work goodbye it was fun thanks for trying it but if it does work keep doing it so trial periods for collaborations or partnerships i think is a good way to test the waters especially if it's the first one you've ever done

Kathleen Shannon 48:22
you know that makes me think it's probably a good idea to always have an exit strategy and i know that that sounds maybe a little pessimistic it's kind of like the equivalent of having a prenuptial agreement before you get married and it's no fun to think about something failing or going awry before you ever begin but is so important and i think that i do it with my husband so i we all have always agreed that if this is no longer working for us we can always split up yep which is kind of the beauty of being in a second marriage

Emily Thompson 49:00
right well in dave and i have had that same conversation we're like if you ever get tired of me let me know and we'll go like

Kathleen Shannon 49:07
and you know you and david aren't married correct we're not married and so it's kind of like this we're choosing to be together but this is not a relationship show but i think that the same thing applies to partnerships and so even with my sister will often have a conversation and i think having these conversations of what would we do if we weren't doing braid i think it kind of just allows us to not take what we're doing together for granted it also there's something about having a little bit of freedom that makes you want to stay where you are

Emily Thompson 49:41
yeah so so just being or having the other person be okay with you dreaming otherwise yeah because otherwise like you're going to have thoughts of what would happen what would happen if we did do this pod i haven't had that thought yet though but like let's say we get tired after busting out three episodes a week

Kathleen Shannon 49:58
yeah let's let's have this conversation right now in front of so and Okay, what would happen if we decided not to do this podcast? How do you think? Would we just say, okay, our sponsor contract is going to be up. You don't write this date, let's reassess. And maybe only do one, if you think that we would tiptoe our way out of it and say, let's just have one episode per week, and then or less. Or maybe we can seasons. And then after the season is over, whenever we come back, maybe we actually reassess whether or not we still want to do this. Sure. I

Emily Thompson 50:32
mean, either way, and that's the thing. It's just simply being like, open to that conversation. Like for me, if it came down to it, and I really didn't ever want to do one again, like, we would just stop, I would imagine, like, Okay, well, what if,

Kathleen Shannon 50:44
what if I didn't want to stop? What if I was like, I want to keep being boss, and see, okay, this is where this is my next point, which is getting my paper and make it legal. So Emily, and I have not done this yet, which we just really implicitly, this is

Emily Thompson 51:00
kind of been our trial period. And a lot of times,

Unknown Speaker 51:03
we just wanted to

Emily Thompson 51:04
see if this thing was going to work. And then we ended up getting sponsorships. And we've grown hugely, we made it to number two recently in business on iTunes. So like, we obviously see this is going to happen, and part of my road trip is to come to Oklahoma City so that we can actually get some of this stuff on paper, because trial period is over. I'm not going anywhere, anytime soon. I'm hope you don't either.

Kathleen Shannon 51:28
Say one of us wanted to quit. It's It's interesting, because the potential for being bosses huge, but we're not really making much revenue net now. So like, would it be that you just hand it over? Like, let's say I wanted to continue doing being boss? Would it be like, Alright, well, I'm going to keep it? Or would it be that I need to buy you out? And then how much is your half of being boss worth monetarily? Maybe it's just the amount that it took that you would charge to set up a website? Right? Or, you know, so these are all questions to consider, this is stuff that we need to think about. And it's stuff that you need to think about when we go into a partnership is how you're going to get out of that partnership. Yeah,

Emily Thompson 52:10
definitely, we'll definitely have that conversation, get that lawyer in the room. Right? It's gonna

Kathleen Shannon 52:15
be okay, here's the other thing, let's say you can't afford a lawyer or you just feel overwhelmed by that. I don't think you need a lawyer to make it official and get it on paper, right to start with. So I would say just draft up like what you want. So draft up, what your roles are, what your goals are, and how much time you can dedicate to the project. So literally write down, I will be spending X amount of hours a week on this project that will typically be on Fridays, or whatever that looks like and talk about the money, you know, and how you're splitting the money. So all things, these things are really important, and then talk about the worst case scenario. So I think maybe our real worst case scenario is that one of us doesn't want to do it anymore. But the other right does. Yeah. How do you handle that? Is there a buyout, and so just get all of these things drafted up on paper, date it and sign it, maybe even send it through something like Adobe echosign, which they just changed their name.

Emily Thompson 53:20
I know, I wish they stopped changing.

Kathleen Shannon 53:23
I don't know what it is now. But that's what I use for contracts in my business. So I mean, that's even something that you and I emaline that we could do before we ever have a lawyer look at it. And then basically, right we could do is have a lawyer, look at these terms and conditions that we've drawn up in plain speak. And they can say, oh, but have you considered X, Y and Z, they could probably throw a couple of clauses in there to make it just really official, so that we could then file that paperwork with the state and be a legit business. Right?

Emily Thompson 53:51

Kathleen Shannon 53:52
I think it's as simple as that.

Emily Thompson 53:55
Well, it is more or less. I mean, sure, we could. I don't know, actually, Kathleen, as we grow our online media conglomerate, which is what we're doing here, right? I mean, we'll definitely have to reassess things. And I think that's something you have to go into it thinking as well is that you will have to continually reassess things. So in our current state, if we're just going to be doing our sponsorships, then you know, what does that buy out or, or exit strategy look like? And then once we launch something amazing, and we're making millions and millions of dollars, whatever that looks like, then we'll have to reassess that and see, see where we are then because at that point, we've put so much more of our energy into it. So regardless of like what we're doing, reassess, like as things grow, you'll be reassessing but you do have to have a starting place and Kathleen and I had that starting place like those first emails that we that we did whenever I first asked Kathleen To do this, we definitely outlined like, Okay, look, no one's quitting their job, obviously to do this full time. Like that is not what we're doing. It's gonna be like part time side hustle, here are the things that we're going to do.

Kathleen Shannon 55:05
Let's do it for a while and see what happens. And I, even now we're coming against new issues as we start to create new products. And as they start to be built out of our being boss, like expertise really right. And so then it's like, Okay, do we share this? Do we split it if we have clients, because we do similar things? I mean, I think that in our businesses were so complimentary. But still, we can do similar things. Right. And so it's like, do we have a non compete? How does that work? And I think in other partnerships that might be more glaring than in our partnership. But it's just like all stuff to think about. So

Unknown Speaker 55:44
it all is the same, just think about it.

Kathleen Shannon 55:48
Just think about it, but then also talk about it out loud. And be clear on what you expect that way. There's never a question or that way, whenever you bring something else up, it's not awkward, because you've been talking this whole time about tough stuff,

Emily Thompson 56:03
right? Oh, I know if we hadn't had these tough conversations. And I came in here one day and was like, so what are we doing about that? freshbooks sponsorship money? Like at that point, it's kind of weird, right? But it's not because we've literally talked about it every step of the way, like, as many are at any point, if you and who you are, I have a hard question that just sort of pops up. We don't sit on it. Like we're not sitting there talking to everyone else around everyone else around us. We

Kathleen Shannon 56:32
don't have time. We don't know I don't talk to everyone else,

Emily Thompson 56:35
I have time to talk to one person. And that is

Kathleen Shannon 56:41
all right, what are like some super actionable tactics and to do's that people can do if they want to collaborate with someone?

Emily Thompson 56:51
Um, one of my favorite things is to just make a plan and set deadlines, period, actually, oh, here's a really Oh, fine, let's talk about this. So I've told you about this, Kathleen. But in June, no July, I'm doing a collaboration with crafted taste, which is a really cool like cocktail subscription service, like a description box service. And that this was the first thing that we did. So we're gonna be talking about, I'll be talking about this a lot on my social media stuff coming up, because it's really awesome. But we're doing an indie ship, orography branded box for crafted taste. And I get to like, make all the cocktails recipes and stuff. And the first thing that we did after deciding that we wanted to do this together was we made a plan of all the actual things that need to be done. So we need to like, come up with recipes. Think of all the like items that go into the cocktail box. And then we set deadlines for every step of the project. And we shared it, I added everything to my calendar. And so now we actually have a roadmap for going forward, because you can't really do anything unless you know what you're going to do and when it needs to be done. So that for me is like one of the like most actionable tactics you can take is whatever project that you're wanting to collaborate with someone, break it down into a plan, and then set deadlines, and then who the deadlines are for. So if it's if it's my deadline, as opposed to cats deadline, or being boss, if it's my deadline to get ecommerce developed, so that you can write content for whatever, like we have those plans set out and deadlines in place. So that we both treat it with the same seriousness, like we know exactly what needs to happen to get this done. And it becomes something that actually happens, as opposed to just a couple of emails that get fired off. But nothing ever comes up. But I love it.

Kathleen Shannon 58:41
I yes. Setting deadlines. Like that's how you make stuff happen. Yeah, and figuring out what you do need, what you need to do to make that happen. Yeah, I think my biggest tactic to do whenever it comes to collaborating, especially on projects, where it's new territory, and you're you're kind of stepping outside of your comfort zone is to make a list and on the left side, write down I am draw a line down the middle, on the right side, right, I am not. And just say like, I am a creative director, I am a branding expert. I am comfortable showing up and being seen and saying whatever. I am not a web developer. I am not a podcast editor. I am not a journalist. I am not you know and so I think it kind of really helps make it clear what you can bring to the partnership and what you cannot bring to the partnership. So I think that that would be my biggest to do for other people to try whenever it comes to figuring out what they're best at and what they need help with.

Emily Thompson 59:54
Yeah, I think that would also be a really fun like first activity for you. And someone that you want to partner with to do together ish. Yeah, so you both do it and then you both share and see if your skills are going to be complimentary or not. Because if you for the web development to slash, branding expert side of things like you to brand I do website, if you had brought that to me and we you didn't do website and I didn't do website, then we're gonna have to hire someone to do a website or something like that. So being able to lay those things side by side with those of your partners. And seeing what you guys can do well together, what you guys can do to complement each other and what's going to be missing so that you know, like where you're gonna have to put some additional energy or money to find someone who will do it. I think it's really important. So that's good one, Kathleen, I liked that name.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:55
Alright, so collaborate like a boss. Here's a recap. Start with smaller collaborations, even just brainstorming or project work together. And then outline your worst case scenario and your best case scenario.

Emily Thompson 1:01:09
Share, learn to share everything because that is the foundation for everything that you're doing in a shared collaboration or partnership. Also, just ask everything else that's keeping you from actually sending that email or making that phone call is just an excuse, because worst case scenarios that they'll simply say no. And that's really not that bad.

Kathleen Shannon 1:01:33
Get your communication down. So whether that's an Evernote, texting, emails, phone, and really establish your communication style, what works best for you and your collaborative partner?

Emily Thompson 1:01:45
Yes, and check in regularly being able to talk to your partner, constantly, no, not constantly, that's far too much. Being able to talk to them regularly and checking in on the status of products or projects, or simply how they're doing in general which could affected the with the work that they're doing with you is super important. So make it make time in your calendar to simply have chats with your collaborator. All right, who

Kathleen Shannon 1:02:11
are you going to collaborate with your friends, this might be your online buddies, it might be friends that you already have in real life, your friends is really the best place to start whenever it comes to collaborating with someone.

Emily Thompson 1:02:26
Yes. And set some serious boundaries, have goals, define your roles, and hold each other accountable for getting shit done.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:39
And that's it. That's it.

Emily Thompson 1:02:42
Otherwise, do it. Just do it because such really great things happen from collaborating with others and being able to expand your reach by partnering with someone who can assist you and doing really big amazing things is how especially online entrepreneurial ism work.

Unknown Speaker 1:03:04
Amen, man.

Kathleen Shannon 1:03:07
The braid method is how we help inspired but often overwhelmed dreamers, designers, photographers, makers, creatives, lifestyle coaches, who want to make a living doing what they love. Sharing who you are in selling what you do is about making money. Yeah. But it's also about your dream, your thing and what you can be known for. So we help our clients close the gap between their dream and their actual creative business vision. Now, you're gonna hear us saying vision a lot. That's because your vision goes hand in hand with your brand. Creative businesses and the people who create them are made up of all these threads, ideas and uncertainties, passions and distractions. So our method is about sorting through those threads, seeing the ones that overlap, getting the loose ones out of the way, and getting to the good stuff. So you can get it even more blended together, blended into a clear vision first, and then into a concrete brand platform. a platform that includes a logo, tagline, business card, Facebook cover design, brand positioning, copy, a brand story, and creative process sales slides, you can go to www dot brave creative calm to find out more.

Emily Thompson 1:04:20
If you're a creative entrepreneur who's ready to step up your online game with a cohesive and strategic brand and website that totally rocks your socks and makes it easy for your dream customer to buy you visit me at nd shop orography and check out our one on one engagement called MD boom. This is where we take our clients and we build for them an online presence that's tailored specifically to them and their business as well as their future growth goals. And the best part is that sometimes we do these projects in partnership with braid to pull in their branding and business visioning expertise for building a powerful personal brand. So you get the best of both of our worlds and just the tools you need to build your dreams. You can find out more and be Chicago fi.com slash and leap. Alright,

Kathleen Shannon 1:05:10
thank you for listening to being boss from Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon. Find the Show Notes for this episode at love being boss calm. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to new episodes on our website, iTunes on Soundcloud and Stitcher. If you like our podcast, please show us some love by reviewing being boss on iTunes and sharing it with a friend. Do the work be boss and we'll see you next week.

How are we gonna recap this? I don't even know what we said anymore.