Build Partnerships for Creative Success Without Getting Burned!

One of my favorite things about meetings with my coaching clients?

Hearing about all the exciting, inspiring things they’ve been up to in their creative businesses. 

Seriously– so much can happen in the span of 7 days!

Most recently I had a call with a client and learned that she’s decided to team up with a fellow creative for a collaboration!

A year ago, if someone had told her about this partnership, she’d probably have laughed in their face!


She used to hate the thought of collaborating as a creative entrepreneur because it brought back memories of those awful group projects from school.

Can’t blame her – 

She was burned too many times by lazy classmates riding her coattails.

But this time, she approached it differently, and much to her surprise – it’s working out amazingly well!

She admitted this collab has been a total game-changer, something she never expected.

 So, what made it click?

  1. They sorted out all the nitty-gritty details and roles upfront.
  2. They made sure they both knew the boundaries, which they respected throughout the project.
  3. They check in regularly to make sure they’re still on the same page!

Lots of creatives out there, just like my client, tend to hold back when it comes to trusting other creatives, especially with stuff that’s super important to their business and reputation. 

It’s totally understandable—being cautious is smart.

But the benefits are huge once you let your guard down and team up strategically with fellow creatives as long as you do it right! 

In this blog, I’ll showcase the power of joining forces with other creative minds. We’ll cover how to make these collaborations purposeful, impactful, and beneficial for everyone involved!

Creative Collab Case Study

While each collaboration is different, there are consistent benefits to partnerships with other creatives. 

Let’s take my client’s situation for example.

This project holds several key advantages for her:

  1. It’s been a great learning opportunity. Collaboration lessens the learning curve. She gains insights and skills from her collaborator that she didn’t possess before, building and expanding her own skill set in the process.
  1. Mutual respect and defined roles. They value each other’s strengths, which leads to clear role definitions. Recognizing their differences, they play to their strengths, making them a dynamic duo! They are truly stronger together.
  1. Financial perks! A clear-cut agreed percentage of profits upfront ensures a fair share for both parties. 
  1. Increased capacity & resources. She’s getting to dig into projects that may not have been possible for her to do on her own because of the money, time, and energy commitment.
  1. Improved credibility. Teaming up with a well-respected industry figure enhances her credibility. It’s a valuable addition to her portfolio and resume, reflecting her association with someone esteemed in the field.
  1. Audience and network expansion. Working together grants her access to new audiences and networks. Her partner’s followers, community, and fans discover her work, expanding her community and creating more opportunities through increased exposure.

Collaboration Opportunities

Still skeptical and feel like collabs just aren’t for you? Well, maybe that’s just because you haven’t seen it done in a way that resonates! Good news is, you’ve got options when it comes to teaming up in the creative world.

Chances are, you can find a way to work with fellow creatives that feels good and works well for you and your business!

Here are 8 of my favorite ways to collaborate with fellow creatives in your business! I hope these ideas get the wheels churning and inspire you to reach out to a creative you respect, admire, and trust!

#1 Co-create

The first option is to create together! Mix skills for something fresh! Combine talents to make new and exciting projects that leverage each person’s unique perspectives, skills, and creativity! Co-creation comes in many shapes and sizes! Examples include an agent/artist relationship, a writer/editor partnership (a match made in heaven in my book), a web designer and a web developer, or even a graphic designer and a copywriter who work together to bring different but complementary aspects of a project to life!

#2 Cross Promote

Help each other shine by sharing the spotlight! Swap shoutouts and share each other’s work to reach more people and a wider audience! I was so honored to be featured in my business pal and brand photographer, Nicole Bedard’s recent Small Business Spotlight (and here I am returning the favor)

#3 Guest roles/spots

Hop on each other’s platforms! Do guest appearances or interviews to introduce your audiences to something new. This is especially strategic if either if you host a podcast or a YouTube video series! My friend and fellow RISD alum, Rebecca Rueth, and I used to do this often when Clubhouse was all the rage! We hosted a room called Biz Tips for Creatives that brought our distinct but overlapping audiences together to talk all about the technical and artistic sides of creative entrepreneurship!

#4 Features

Feature one another! Collaborate on articles, videos, social posts, or whatever platform your ideal clients respond to best to capture attention and interest! When I first hired my copywriter, Sam, I wanted to introduce her to my audience! We did a feature post on Instagram so people could get to know the wordsmith behind my brand voice who helps me capture my business strategies and coaching methods in blogs, emails, and more! Think of all the hits created by your favorite artist and the partners they’ve featured– I’m here for alllll the Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift collabs.

#5 Joint ventures

Team up for events, products, or one-off projects! When you pool resources and skills you can create something exceptional! These promotions might bring together a group of experts—copywriters, therapists, graphic designers, business coaches, and more—who share their top-notch resources and tools. This collaboration not only builds their audience and email lists but also leverages each other’s credibility.

#6 Long-term or Project-based Partnerships

You might decide to partner more formally for ongoing projects or for specific project-based opportunities. 

#7 Co-brand 

You may not realize it, but you see this all the time with “brand a x brand b” labeling! Co-branding is when two distinct brands or businesses come together to create something new, leveraging each other’s strengths and audiences for mutual benefit. Most recently I saw the washable rug brand, Ruggable, co-branding with nameworthy brands like Barbie and Disney as well artists like Keith Haring and interior designers like the legendary Iris Apfel!

# 8 Platform Take-overs

Swap spaces for a bit! Let each other take over your platforms, giving audiences a fresh perspective. Swapping platforms is like a creative exchange: think an artist taking over a writer’s page and vice versa. They plan engaging content—like the artist showcasing visual storytelling on the writer’s platform while the writer shares tips on crafting compelling stories on the artist’s page. This switch-up spices things up, grows audiences, and builds trust among their followers.

There are certainly additional ways to collab with other creatives, but these are some of the most common and beneficial options! 

It’s all about leveraging talents, growing networks, and sparking innovation! Whether your partnership is a one-time thing or a long-term opportunity, these collabs open up a whole new world of creativity and possibility! 

The Benefits of Strategic Creative Partnerships

In any partnership, the goal is a win-win. The best collaborations happen when both sides get as much as they give. It shouldn’t feel like one person’s doing all the heavy lifting. 

The trick? 

Working with partners whose skills, ideas, and resources complement your own!

When everyone has a stake and a shared interest, that’s where the magic happens and you can expect to see results like these:

  • Reach more new people! When you team up, your work reaches multiple audiences, not just your own. This broader exposure means more eyes on your work, potentially increasing your followers or supporters.

  • Think outside the box! Creatives know the value of diverse skill sets and viewpoints. When your talents complement each other, it’s a double win! The result? More impactful, innovative outcomes.

  • Resource Sharing. Collaboration means sharing the load and lightening the burden—financially, in time, and effort. By pooling resources, you work faster and cheaper. This efficiency often makes seemingly out-of-budget projects possible!

  • Networking. Collaborating strengthens bonds. It’s not just about the project; it’s about building relationships. Done well, you’ll strengthen your relationship with your collaborator. Plus, you tap into each other’s networks, opening doors to new connections and opportunities.

  • The Referral Effect. Your collaborator’s reputation (that “know, like, trust” factor) can rub off on you. If they’re respected and trusted, that credibility extends to you. It’s like a referral—a boost in credibility without starting from scratch. This is especially true if your collaborator is more established than you are. If you are the more experienced, you can still learn a lot and benefit from the cache your newer collaborator has!
Joining forces doesn’t just double the effort; it multiplies the outcomes. 

Collaborations offer a way to leverage each other’s strengths and networks for mutual growth. Finding the sweet spot where everyone wins is the key to a successful, long-lasting partnership!

COO Tip: Don’t forget to put a contract in place (they’re not just for clients)! That way all the important details are discussed AND agreed upon before starting the collaboration. This can and should include things like payment or profit sharing, any commitments required by either party, ownership of the collaborative work product, and limitations around the partnership. That way, you both know exactly what you’re getting into and can refer back to this agreement at any point in time if needed.

Take Action

So, what’s next for you? 

Ready to dive into a collaboration that could take your creative business to new heights?

Pick a strategy that resonates with you—co-create, cross-promote, or maybe try a joint venture. Whatever you decide, make a solid plan and then I urge you to take imperfect action! 

Reach out to that fellow creative you admire and explore the potential of teaming up. Your next big breakthrough could be just one collaboration away!
Need help? I’d love to support you. Reach out to schedule your 90-minute Clarity Call today!


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