A few months ago, I sat down with a mama who was worried I would be trampling on the long-term dream and vision for her local business. She was worried, because I have more skills in marketing and business, and would I take her market away?
The thing is... she had the guts to reach out, to CONNECT, and to COLLABORATE, rather than butting heads with me down the road.
And that Mama meeting, and the playdate for our toddler girls, turned into a beautiful friendship! Plus, it gave birth to her dream… and also mine. (You can hear more about this here!) We made a decision that day to COLLABORATE, instead of the alternative… to COMPETE.
So often, we see women in the online space, or multi-level marketing, or direct sales, or even in person business interactions.. in CUT THROAT battles with each other. We don’t want to collaborate, because we’re afraid someone will steal our clients or our content. But this mentality and approach is built so much on the idea of distrust and female competition.
The reality is that we (women) CRAVE community and connection. It’s in our DNA.
We want to work together, but we also want to see success. And what I have seen is that we can have both, that actually our success can be even BETTER if we ditch the competition and embrace the collaboration!
We all have our OWN individual STORIES and gifts that we bring to the table... so in reality, we are our only competition. (If you want to see how you can write your unique BRAND STORY, start here!)
When we make the decision to work together, to collaborate, and to GROW as moms in business TOGETHER, amazing things start to happen.
I’ve had a few experiences where ditching my competition mindset for collaborative effort was BEAUTIFUL.
These are my ideas for how we can invite collaboration in the place of competition:
ONE - Embrace the fact that we can help each other out!
You know the phrase, “It takes a village...”? It takes a village to raise babies, and well, it takes a village to raise babies AND businesses, too.
Next time you’re struggling with an element of your business, reach out to see whether there are other mom business owners willing to brainstorm with you. Maybe they’re even in your same line of business.. honestly, that would be even more helpful!
Trial and error is a huge part of running your own business.. but why not save yourself some time and see what’s worked (and not) for other mamas?
TWO - Join some uplifting mom entrepreneur groups!
Uplifting groups filled with mamas like YOU can help you make connections with other moms going through the same thing: raising babies and running a business! There are both free and paid online groups, so find one that fits you. And remember that sometimes mom groups can turn judgmental and not-so-fun… but there are really great groups out there, too. Explore to find one that feels good for you.
The Pod Collective is my online entrepreneur membership and networking community where moms can come and get the support they need, learn how to grow their businesses, stop getting stuck in the overwhelm, and start taking inspired action forward!
THREE - Get some in person connection!
If you’re in Tacoma, try out The Pod Works, our mom-made co-working and event space that welcomes women of all creative and professional pursuits, often in the company of their children!
You can also visit The Village 253, where people post about local events and tons of mom meet-ups.
And if you’re not in Tacoma, I recommend seeking out (or creating!) a co-working space in your area that has a mama-focus or collaborative spirit!
Loneliness is REAL (I did a whole video about that here!), and it can really affect your mental state and your business, IF you’re not taking the time to truly CONNECT.
I really believe that if we implement these ideas into our business models and lives, we can gain so much from collaboration and really begin to support one another in this journey of motherhood and business!
Below are some stories from other Mompreneurs. They shared their stories of collaboration OVER competition with me, and I want to share them with you!
Stories of Collaboration from Mompreneurs
“Last year when I was starting out my business, I partnered with another children's consignment shop. I truly felt that they wanted me to succeed. We hash tagged our event #communityovercompetition. We both did awesome at the event and it was a win/win for both of us!! We both got new followers and collaborating was so much easier when doing it together as a team than alone!!” -Mama Michelle
“I don’t really have a collaboration story *yet*. I have, however, been so touched by the support of preschools in the community. Instead of seeing my Spanish classes as competition they have promoted, encouraged, and offered support to me. Shout out to Arcadia Montessori & St. Mark’s preschool as well as Immanuel Presbyterian Church 🙂 I was especially & pleasantly surprised that a Spanish immersion preschool (Chavitos Nature School) shared my Playgroup event. It just goes to show that if we are truly values driven and authentically sharing ourselves through our business services - that’s what we’ll do - serve our community, customers, students, clients. These schools clearly share the Casita Mia goal of creating little global citizens!” -Mama Mia
"I was a birth doula and photographer for 3 years. I had one of the busiest businesses in the area and loved working with families. After baby number three, I moved to network marketing because the on-call demand was just too high. The very first thing I was BLOWN AWAY by was the collaboration vs. competition. In a profession that's all about women and families, and love and joy, there was WAY too much scarcity and competition. AMAZING work, amazing people, but NOTHING compared to the profession I'm in now and the people I meet every single day. Women who work together make the world a better place.” -Mama Amanda
"I have a friend who started her wellness retreat business right around the same time that I was branching out and starting my functional medicine health coaching biz. I was worried that her nutrition services would take away from mine initially. But she offered me a few opportunities to be a guest speaker for her and that’s when I realized I had a colleague and not competition. By working together, we’ve learned more about each other’s businesses instead of operating in the dark or out of fear. We’ve come to learn the nuances and the way that we compliment each other and add value versus compete. It’s amazing.” -Mama Jennifer
"The degree to which I've been worried about competition has been directly correlated with me not being fully grounded, secure, and confident in what I brought to the table. So I felt tinges of competition and envy much earlier in my business, but it hasn't been an issue for years as I've come to realize that no one can do what I do, how I do it, and for the people I'm called to serve. In that sense, I have no competition. I feel this way about other businesses and the unique sauce they bring to the table, so I don't see collaboration as a threat and view it as a juicy opportunity to amplify the work of both parties when it makes strategic sense." -Mama Titilayo
Do you have stories of Collaboration over Competition?
I would love to hear from you! Post your stories in the comments below, or send them to email@example.com!