Your Trusted Collaborators are Your Most Valuable Assets
I’m thinking about thought leadership recently shared with me by various leaders in the entrepreneur, startup and tech ecosystems. “Network, network, network,” says Tim Schigel, Founding Partner at Refinery Ventures and former fund Manager at Cintrifuse, a Cincinnati-based, private/public support network for tech startups. Schigel’s comments are in support of a recent WCPO Insider article I wrote about what makes an “investable” entrepreneur. His advice is that the quality of a startup founder’s network impacts the chance at pre-seed funding.
Really, Schigel could be talking about creative professionals and solopreneurs as much as tech startups. The idea, one definitely worth embracing, is that our trusted collaborators determine the value of our work more than our own accomplishments, skills and services.
Now, don’t listen to me at face value and start erasing flagpole projects and key accomplishments from your LinkedIn profile, website and social media channels. The unique work we build, design and implement distinguishes us from our competitors and helps us land customers and resources. However, our collaborators also play a key role when it comes to landing valuable projects.
What I’m proposing is moving the spotlight off yourself and sharing it with the people in your network. What I’m saying is that your messaging should be less ‘me’ and more ‘we.’
Basically, no matter how incredible your bio, LinkedIn profile and work experience, your trusted colleagues are more valuable than you. Your collaborators determine the outcome of projects as much as your leadership and work. Who’s on your product and projects teams say more about you, well, than you.
As far as customers are concerned, who’s on your teams ultimately determine what you’re capable of providing. Your collaborators also decide the quality of the work.
At my core, I’m a writer. That’s how I introduce myself to people I’m meeting for the first time. That’s the key vocabulary supporting my identity, marketing assets and personal branding.
Talking recently with Megan Trischler, designer and Program Director at People’s Liberty (PL), a Cincinnati-based philanthropic lab, we share the phrases Writer Plus and Designer Plus to emphasize the diversity and depth of our recent projects and work.
Before long, key ideas, road mapping and vocabulary fill our conference room white board and together we begin to understand what the titles Writer Plus and Designer Plus actually mean in a concise and understandable way.
For Trischler, her longstanding work as a designer complements and supports her events, management and programming work at People’s Liberty. Anyone who collaborates with Trischler understands from the first moment that they are working with a skilled designer. Sometimes, specific marketing assets like an illustration or logo are also part of the task.
Listening to Trischler describe what she likes about her People’s Liberty work, I see the detail and scale of her skills. I also better understand my own creative model. She’s both Creative Artist and Creative Director. There’s hands-on craft and staff management. What’s key is that her People’s Liberty work is collaborative. Her trusted team members always make a difference.
Many of the writers I know tend to be solitary. However, a Writer Plus understands that their network is their most valuable asset.
A Writer Plus will take on the role of project manager in order to maintain a project’s budget, quality and schedule. A Writer Plus handles client services in order to exceed project goals. A Writer Plus complements content creation with strategy and road mapping. A Writer Plus never works alone in a silo. There are coders, designers, engineers and researchers around them at all times completing the tasks at hand.
That’s the Plus in Writer Plus. It’s about building, designing and completing your work with the knowledge that trusted collaborators are your most valuable assets. It’s showcasing this concept with customers and talking about the people you value more than yourself. Finally, it’s about moving the spotlight off yourself and onto your network for good.
Want to learn more about the Writer Plus concept? SR Media is a creative hub for diverse design, writing and strategy services. Let’s start a conversation and discover if my network can bring value to your projects.