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Collaborating with the 'competition'

In these weird times, it seems appropriate to talk about connecting. Connecting and collaborating.

But more than that: connecting and collaborating with the competition.

The thought of collaborating with perceived rivals might seem daunting but I can vouch for the fact that the benefits far outweigh any potential threats.

As Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

The adage of ‘know, like, trust’ applies now more than ever. I don’t take a strategic approach to meeting fellow (‘competitor’) copywriters; it has just happened naturally. I have built some really strong bonds with others in this sector, all of which have been borne out of accidental meetings, mainly through networking.

So what are the benefits?

They teach me - subject matter experts learn best, and most, from each other. Whether it be showing me a new app that can help improve my writing skills, a link to a motivating blog post or a head ups on attending a useful webinar, it’s all about sharing knowledge, and that feels good.

· We refer work to each other - sometimes I’m just too busy to take on new work or I have a lead that doesn’t quite match my skillset or interests. By making a genuine referral to a fellow writer, who may be more appropriate, the chances are that the gesture will be reciprocated at some point and trust strengthened with the client, who sees that I have their best interests at heart. It’s a two-way street.

We sanity check – we often use each other as a sounding board on rates, proposals and messaging (in confidence, naturally) and have also been known to check each other’s work. Sometimes, two minds are better than one.

They boost my confidence - connecting with people I know, like and trust is a winning formula. They support me up if I’m feeling uncertain or insecure, and I’d like to think I do the same for them.

It strengthens our industry - sharing information, tips and advice with business associates in the same industry can help ensure that everyone is working towards similar business goals. Social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter help build community spirit and generate meaningful conversations on interesting topics.

I have known some of these amazing ladies for 10+ years, and one, for only a few weeks, but at the heart of these connections is a gut feel, on which I rely.

These fabulous women are now far more than just business associates and fellow copywriters: they are coaches, confidantes, mentors, counsellors and above all, friends.

So, keep an open mind when it comes to your competitors. Find out what makes them tick, listen to their struggles and applaud their successes. If you put your head above the parapet, you may be surprised how much everyone can benefit.

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