I used to get really nervous around people I respect. I still do sometimes. What’s my opening line? I don’t want to appear to be like a fan. Are they going to think I just want to make money off of them? Ah, networking, it’s such an odd thing…yet, as counselors we should be masters!
We all know that collaboration is great. It’s so easy to get stuck returning emails, phone calls, and listening to podcasts, that often we don’t take action that will lead to achieving our ambitious results!
There are actually five specific approaches to collaboration that will fast forward any aspiring consultant’s ability to start landing big-time clients and gain exposure that helps their practice explode.
Create a Platform for Collaboration
Starting a website is no longer enough to get the attention of people that are bigger than you. When you collaborate with bloggers, consultants, and marketers that have a larger audience than you, it will help you grow quicker. But why would they want to partner with you?
Ask yourself these questions:
- What is not being done in my field?
- What new technologies are not being used?
- What can I master that will help others to succeed?
If podcasts are saturated, make a video podcast. If those get saturated, dedicate yourself to teaching through some other platform.
When I first launched the Practice of the Practice podcast, the only other podcast that focused on counselors in private practice was the American Counseling Association (ACA) podcast, but it had not been updated in six months. By launching and consistently posting, I automatically became the #1 podcast for counselors in private practice.
I had a platform to invite other professionals to engage with my audience. “Can I interview you for my podcast?” is a great pick up line!
I had well-known private practice consultants Kelly and Miranda from ZynnyMe on my podcast in Session 45. They have a huge audience and run online courses, such as their Business School Bootcamp. I knew that eventually I wanted to offer some sort of e-course. They are about three years ahead of where I am.
In developing partnerships, it’s way more about trust and knowing the other person than any skillset. With Kelly and Miranda, I kept in contact with them, supported their work, and even became an affiliate to send them business. Their work mirrored what I was doing. Because I had a platform and got to know them personally, we moved from creating a basic connection to brainstorming ways to collaborate more.
Help Others Look Good
I’ve been a part of social worker Julie de Azevedo-Hank’s Facebook Group for a while. Julie is a media guru; she is regularly interviewed on major news channels and in some of the top women’s magazines in the US.
She posted something about putting yourself out there in the media. That was a few years ago. So, I reached out to her and told her about my new book, Mental Wellness Parenting. She asked if I would be willing to give a few away for free. Instead, I told her that all day long I’d give away the e-book completely free to her whole audience.
When she interviewed me for her audience, I:
- Tried to give away really good free parenting advice
- Showed my expertise in the area
- Made her look good, by citing her work and expertise
- Helped her to be prepared by sending her some talking points
By making Julie look good, I made her experience with me as positive as I could.
It’s Not a Strategy
None of this is a strategy. It’s being authentically interested in getting to know people, not because they can help you, but because they are fun to be around! What’s great about collaborating is that when genuine friendships develop, it helps everyone.
A few months ago, I threw out the idea to Julie, Miranda, and Kelly about hosting a conference together. We decided to rent a beach house in La Jolla and name it The Most Awesome Conference. It’s an extension of who we are as consultants, friends, and experts in our respective areas.
As you grow as a professional, find others that are doing what you want to do, build a platform, get personal, and make them look good. As you do that, it’s going to help you grow as a consultant and provide amazing value as well!
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net