When setting yourself up in business, it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut of sitting on your own, having no-one to bounce ideas off, Facebooking all day, eating and drinking because of boredom.
When I started in business – the idea was to outsource and collaborate as much as possible so that the ideas could to stay flexible and adaptable and the company could offer the best value for money.
The key element I learned was to constantly be on the lookout for collaborators that can perform better than you or that can help you get your thoughts and dreams off the ground.
Jack of all, Jack of none:
Super(wo)man you are not.
We are only human and trying our hands at something we have no experience in can do more harm than good.
You might be a great accountant but that could mean that you’re possibly rubbish at sales.
You might be great at sales but your design skills stretch no further than finding Microsoft Paint on your machine.
I’m rubbish at accounts – in fact when I got my first tax return I couldn’t even enter my name without feeling nauseous.
Presume I got it together and tried to sort my accounts, it’ll probably take around a week o sort out each month.
Because I know this, I cut to the chase and outsourced immediately to an accountant who then charges less than a couple of my hourly rate to sort the whole lot … and, obviously, knows the systems better than me.
Design is an area where I would definitely consider collaborating on simply because getting the brand right is imperative to a successful project and, although I started out as a designer, I prefer to leave this element to someone else and, again, stick to what I am happier doing.
To be confident you can find the right person to collaborate with you, obviously, need a great list of contacts. You can’t simply flick through the yellow pages and give the job to the first person that picks up the phone.
Building the list takes time but the best way to get there quickly is to ask your current contacts.
Networking is also a brilliant way to build your list by meeting people and growing the trust you need to be able to employ pre-qualified providers.
Talk to the screen:
When collaborating on a project where the partners can be sitting on the other side of the world, communication is key.
Google Hangouts is an awesome tool but we also have platforms like Skype, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Slack etc. As a side note – another reason to use Hangouts is that you can instantly record the hangout and, if you so desire, upload directly to your YouTube channel – all synchronously in the background.
Organisation is another requisite that is often overlooked but can so easily be optimised to maximise the smooth running of a project.
Every new Point and Stare project has a process in place which is followed to the letter.
For project management itself, we use Asana – this is an online tool that allows you to set up projects and tasks, assigned to either a whole team or individuals – all online and therefore accessible anywhere in the world.
Asana also integrates nicely with Dropbox – a file hosting service giving you and your team instant access to project files.
It’s also possible to set up an internal portal using WordPress with instant chat, project management, CRM and even support/ bug reporting plugins but, ultimately it’s entirely up to you and how you prefer to work.
Nocation, Nocation, Nocation:
As mentioned, forget signing long leases, paying through the nose, just to store empty desks, and just hire what’s needed. The trend at the moment is to turn big spaces into shared desks/ coworking spaces.
If you’re rich enough to convert the spare room into an office, do it.
If you’re like the rest of us, just find a small space that you can afford where you can get away from the lure of watching TV from the sofa in your pyjamas.
Check out local coworking spaces or, if you’re in the middle of London take a look at Google Campus, @workhubs, The Trampery or the many, many places available.