Admit it. It’s liberating, isn’t it? Running your own show feels like freedom. In a world where everything from a coffee break to a couple of hours out of the office needs to be approved and signed off by the Powers That Be, we have so much choice and control over the work we do, the people we interact with, the hours we clock up and the time we take a break. School recital? No drama - I’ll work later. Important delivery? I can be at home that day. We call the shots and, for all that we grumble about tax returns and being ‘on’ 24/7, the truth is the rewards are enormous and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m somewhat of a perfectionist however and, although I shudder a little at the term ‘control freak’, I have to concede that I do like to be in charge. Countryside living and working is my abiding passion, and my creative, business background has given me experience and some confidence. Add those factors together and you’ve got a woman who knows how she wants it and likes her own way!
But, one of the most beautiful and beneficial aspects of creating The Hills initially took this ‘control freak’ by surprise: the opportunity to collaborate. When I started out in business, I knew that collaboration was good for businesses, of course, but it was an objective stance rather than something I really waved the flag for. However, 20 plus years later, and my views on collaboration are far from lip service - rather, they’re the living and breathing part of The Hills’ philosophy.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford
Working alone, it can be easy to kid yourself that you’re being efficient and productive - there are no distractions, after all. I still love to work solo in my garden for example, because I get to do things my way and the results are exactly as I want them. Or perhaps they’re exactly as I expected them - and that’s an important distinction, don’t you think?
The winter months might not be when we are feeling especially motivated, but I am becoming more and more aware that when I network, collaborate and discuss ideas with others - which I do as often as I possibly can - I make far more progress, plus I get the added bonus of shared time with others and the chance to revel in their energy and fresh perspectives. There’s nothing so surprising and rewarding as other people’s opinions, angles and ideas - I have yet to meet anyone who has the monopoly on great ideas!
Teaming up can feel frightening initially - like you’re inviting your competitors in to steal all of your precious ideas and secrets. My experience has taught me that being open, authentic and collaboratively-minded only ever leads to more, not less. Today I choose collaboration over competition for better business and relationships.
I have learnt that working with others increases opportunities in all sorts of ways for you and your business! For instance, it increases your visibility by getting you in front of another audience and gives you credibility by being associated with other groups and successful businesses.
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler
It’s time to connect and collaborate, to support and strive for fantastic working relationships. Our shop and directory are proud places that share the very best of our local community creatives to The Hills followers and by promoting talented artisan makers I provide them with a platform as invested and passionate about small business support as they are.
Today I would like to invite you to collaborate on my blog post - and let me know in the comments who ‘you would like to get to know and work with’ - it’s never too early or too late to reach out in business - let them know you want to support them and let me know who we should be including in our directory and shop!