Often, if you are standing within the ‘solopreneur’ space, it’s a sense of being exactly that; a company of one. Even if you have people working for you, if you’re realistic, they have been working for you, not with you. And when it comes to interaction between yourself and owners of other startups or SMEs outside your immediate industry or thoughtspace, or the corporate arena… it really isn’t happening. It isn’t just a few mountains that’s called The Great Dividing Range.
It can sometimes feel like standing on the inside looking out. It can feel as though – maybe because you don’t have anyone you trust, maybe because you don’t have the funds to hire talented enough people, maybe simply because you are a perfectionist who can’t relinquish control of even the smallest task – you are trying to do everything yourself.
It’s as though you don’t have anything left on your mental credit card limit, because you have exhausted all of your resources just getting through the day to day. You’d like to expand, but even thinking about it is exhausting.
Maybe it’s time you rethought your company’s economic outlook; not in terms of financial outlay, but by banking on a new type of investment.
It’s a commercial currency that in the age of information has the potential to take over as the new gold standard. It’s intelligence, and if you use it to your best advantage, by working collaboratively and innovatively, then your portfolio will soon be in the black.
Think about this as an example. You are someone who makes bespoke business shirts and suits. It’s not a big market, but you are brilliant at what you do, and your clientele are extremely loyal. Most of your production is done in a large converted warehouse, but the second floor is empty. You are struggling to fill it with one tenant. At the same time, you want to expand online, because that would be a fantastic market for you, but you don’t know quite how to do it. You need help with social media, because your technical skills aren’t great. And you would really like to have an in-house photographer but full-time isn’t an option as you can’t afford it.
Welcome to the world of the collaborative creative space, and the chance to make your own intelligence bank.
That second floor becomes a hub – sub-let to complementary businesses to your own, who in return for the square footage, provide you with online marketing, web design, photography, and social media strategy. At the same time, they bring their own clients into the space and introduce them to each other’s businesses. Those clients are not just SMEs, either – they are corporates, whose executives end up in a very nice looking suit. It could even see your business becoming bigger than you had ever imagined. All because you created an investment in your own acuity, and that of other innovative thinkers. Over the last few days I have been in this thought space. Investing in myself whilst surrounded by fellow thought leaders, who many I consider as my collaborative intelligence bank.
Instead of attempting to do everything with effort, we are doing what we know extremely well and effortlessly, and I am banking the skills of my fellow entrepreneurs – as they are with me.
This is not reinventing the wheel, but increasingly it is becoming apparent that the distinct ‘line in the sand’ between solopreneurs, between industries, between ‘professional’ and ‘creative’, between corporate and entrepreneurial – is becoming increasingly blurred.
Why? Because those who see the value in working together to upskill, to engage their thought processes, to become more than they are now in terms of their intelligence… they are creating a new form of money.
Without spending a cent.