How To Do “Too Much” and Live To Tell The Tale

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I used to have a “problem.”

Like you, I always seem to have an overflow of ideas.

But if I’d try to work on more than one project at a time, all of the projects would suffer, and none of them would come to fruition.

You already know I preach focus. Especially if you’re just getting started in business or blogging or some other creative endeavor. Pick one thing and work on it until it’s successful or not.

But once you’ve reached a certain level of success (I don’t know what that is exactly, you’ll feel it) more opportunities begin opening up.

Some of them just aren’t right.

But some of them are absolutely kick ass.

The old me would put the kick ass ideas aside. “Ehh, I can’t work on that, I don’t have time.” Or “Ehh, I can’t work on that, I don’t want to lose focus.”

But lately I’ve completely changed my tune.

And here’s why: partners.

Partners! It’s so simple.

Find someone you get along with. Find someone who rocks. And co-create the idea. Not only does this take up less of your own mindspace, but I think it can result in a more kick ass product.

An example of all the projects I’ve been working on recently …

Just a couple of weeks ago I did the Minimalist Book Sale (aka Luxury of Less Launch). This involved 13 other kick ass people.

On November 15 is Mind Control Method. I hope I’m right in thinking that Mind Control Method will change your life. I absolutely loved creating How To Live Anywhere and writing Luxury of Less, but Mind Control Method is something unique. It’s the anti-Law of Attraction (which is a BS “law”) and it has worked for me since I was 8 years old. That’s 21 years! I’m having a ball writing/creating/mapping/brainstorming Mind Control Method. If you’ve sent in questions or suggestions I really appreciate that.

And that’s all well and good. But I’m also working on 3 other projects concurrently. One of them will see the light of day in 2010 (another 72 hour sale involving another bunch of kick ass people) but the rest are scheduled for 2011. I’m fully in the present, but that doesn’t mean the future isn’t going to happen. :)

The only reason these 3 other projects have any possibility of seeing the light of day is because I’m working on them with 3 different people. 3 other rockstars, I should say.

I love doing what I do and, as long as I have bad ass people helping out, I can take on more projects. Sometimes these partnerships just come together, but in case you could use some help …

5 Tips For Finding and Working With A Kick Ass Project Partner

Maybe finding a project partner isn’t for you. That’s cool. But if you’ve ever thought about it, this should help.

1) Don’t force anything.

If you force a project, if both of you aren’t fully into it, then don’t continue. It’s not going to work out. It won’t be easy quitting or changing directions on a project that you’ve already begun, but sometimes that’s the best option.

2) Be clear about who does what.

There will probably be overlap, but be clear on who’s creating what and how the project is being worked on. Again, there will probably be overlap where both of you work on the same things, but in general you should work on your strengths and your partner should work on theirs.

3) Be clear about your goals.

If both of you have different goals for the project it could result in lots of bad blood. Before getting started be sure you are both on the same page with what the project will and won’t be.

4) Set accountability deadlines.

When I’m working solo I don’t really deal with concrete deadlines. When working with a partner it helps for each of you to have deadlines so the project is consistently being pushed forward. A specific launch date helps to get both asses in gear. If there is no launch date then have “module launch dates.” That is, dates when certain parts of the project need to be completed.

5) Keep it light, keep it fun.

In my late teens I ran a company with 2 of my friends. I swore off ever working with partners again. I realize now that the problem wasn’t the partnership, but the fact that we didn’t have clear ideas, clear goals, accountability deadlines, and we forced it. The partnership was doomed from the start. The projects I’m currently working on all flow because they’re with people who rock *and* we keep it light. It’s not a formal, stuffy business environment. (It really can’t be since I haven’t even met 2 of them in person!)

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{ 23 comments }

Casey Friday

Partners are awesome! I have a buddy who comes up with loads of great business ideas, but he never wants to implement them. He straight up tells me that if I ever want a fresh idea for a business, he’ll supply the idea with no intention of implementing it himself. He’s the “thinky” type, and I’m the entrepreneurial type. Great mix.

Glad you’re having success with partners!

Karol

That’s cool Casey. But a partnership isn’t just idea person / action person. In that “partnership” the idea person does nothing and the action person does everything. Not a good split. :)

Casey Friday

Haha, good point. I’m going to him right now and asking for a refund. :)

Paul V

Hey Karol

I’m just another guy who just had to land in a blog like this. Your blog is refreshing and seems to me that you’re kicking ass real good. Your content just makes my mind prove myself over and over that Internet and Freedom is the way to go.

Paul V

Karol

That’s awesome Paul! Thank you so much! :)

Matt

That’s a great point about the difference between your earlier working-in-partnership experiences and how things work now that you’ve learned some key distinctions.

Thank you for sharing this–and hopefully you’ll go into greater detail about all of this in future posts…

Karol

Thanks Matt. Yeah, I may go into more detail. Specific questions?

Matt

Just off the top of my head, some specific questions:

How do you handle communication with a project partner to make sure momentum builds and the deadlines actually get hit?

How do you actually make sure you have the same goals? People sometimes use the same words to mean different things–how do you clarify goals and minimize potential misunderstandings around the project?

How do you handle the accounting? Behind the scenes, there’s surely plenty of stuff to figure out…what system do you use to make sure everything’s totally transparent and handled smoothly for all involved parties?

Just a few that came to me as I read this article…

Karol

Hey Matt,

Great questions. A lot of this boils down to trust. Especially the accounting. The beauty for me is that I don’t do anything for money. Yes, it would suck to get screwed out of money, but I work with people who I trust wouldn’t do that. It’s pretty easy to handle by simply giving everyone involved login access to Paypal or e-junkie though.

Communication: skype, e-mail, and Google Docs has been working well. Momentum falls on all parties. Yourself as much as anyone else. If you’re continuously working towards the goal your partner should be as well. Otherwise, you didn’t choose a good partner. (That’s OK, it happens.)

Goals: this should be ironed out before you start working together. Also, goals change over time so don’t be to strict about every detail. Every good relationship involves some kind of compromise sometimes.

Cheers,
Karol

Marios

Karol, few years ago I worked with a partner on web related projects and it was a disaster, and you are so right it was not me or him, the problem was that we did not have clear focus who is working on what and when it has to be done. Finding the right people and setting up clear goals is the key,

Marios

Karol

Thanks for sharing Marios. Sorry you had to go through a bad partnership, but at least now you know. :)

Mark Powers

I am usually flyin’ solo on most of my projects. But I do find that when a partner is involved, it can certainly add a level of accountability that kicks things up another notch. Great topic to cover, Karol!

Karol

Thanks Mark! Yeah, it definitely helps with accountability as well. :)

Lach

One of the primary reasons I decided to get into social media was to find good partners for collaboration. Perhaps easier said than done since it’s imperative that you’re all on the same wavelength. I suspect the best partnerships come from longer standing relationships where there is already a lot of trust and shared experience. Any views on that, Karol?

Karol

Good point. 2 of the partners I’ve had a relationship with for most of this year. But I also have never met 2 of the partners in person. :)

Arvind Devalia

Karol, one of the beauties of being a blogger is that I get to meet so many cool and inspiring people.

I am now at the point where I am ready to create some joint ventures and I am lucky in that I have so many potential buddies to choose from.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and suggestions:-)

Karol

That’s awesome Arvind! I fully agree, the beauty of being a blogger is most people are cool, inspiring, and easily approachable.

Nick Laborde

What perfect timing, I’m currently thinking about partnering on a project and these tips will help it become a success.

I too swore of partnerships early on, but now realize why they didn’t work out.

Karol

Awesome! Let me know how it goes Nick!

Paz

All I have to say is KICK ASS people wanted…please apply. Both of us…always have tons of ideas and I agree most of them should never go further than the breakfast table. But we have a problem that we don’t hang out with motivated people. We try to be ambitious and don’t get me wrong…i did watch movies all Sunday afternoon too, but we would love to find people that really get us and are motivated to move forward with us.
I am not sure why that is so hard to find. Maybe we hang out in the wrong places or don’t hang out enough. One of the reasons I am addicted to reading blogs is because i feel like I get to hang out with Kick ass people and hopefully someday get to have a cup of coffee with them. I think it is hard to find people that have a similar passion and ambition as you do sometimes. But I agree don’t push it with the wrong people, we have done that and failed miserably.

Karol

Thanks for kicking ass Paz. :)

Pete Sisco

At first blush this seems to contradict your post about being focused in order to get things done. But what really happens is an evolutionary process. When we are starting an online business we need single-focus in order to get things done and ‘get in the game’. But once we have a thriving business we attract more opportunities and it makes perfect sense to enter co-operative partnerships/joint ventures with people who can take us to the next level.

Karol

Yes, to get started you definitely need to focus on just one thing. :)

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