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Collaboration Not Competition

6 min read

I recently joined a networking group. I’ve attended a couple of meetings but my schedule won’t allow me to be more active until the end of January. I was very excited about this group because the limited members I know are fantastic people.

The past few days there have been rules flying around via email, “3 missed meeting and you’re out”. I was told I couldn’t promote my virtual assistant business because there are already a few people offering VA-type work. I began to think this group was not for me. I understand rules are important, I realize participation is key to the success of any group but not being able to talk about my business makes me feel like I can’t be myself. I wasn’t even asked what type of VA business I had so they don’t know what kind of work I do. How are they to know if the other VA businesses are similar? That’s like suggesting a divorce lawyer, a tax lawyer and a criminal lawyer all do the same job.

My business philosophy is collaboration not competition.

When I look at another virtual assistant, I consider how we may work together, I keep them in mind should I come across a client who is not a fit for my team but may work well with theirs.

Aside from skill differences, I also believe there has to be a personality, style and work-ethic fit. I only want to work with people who understand the value I bring to the transaction. I only have a limited number of hours in the day, I don’t want ALL the business, I only want the business that best fits my lifestyle. If you’re a potential client and you choose to work with someone else – I’m okay with that! I know I’m good at what I do, I’m very ethical, and I want to see you succeed. If my company is not what you’re looking for, then who am I to stand in your way?

Recently, when trying to follow a twitter account back, I was notified he had blocked me. Blocked ME? I’m not exactly a political or controversial tweeter! I checked my most recent tweet:

“I love when I get to work on SEO for my real estate clients”

He was in the business of search engine optimization. I can only assume he didn’t want me following him and learning all his secrets! What he doesn’t realize is he may have missed an opportunity to acquire more business. My time is limited and if I were to take on more clients needing this service in the future, I’d be looking for someone who is a thorough as I am. It could have been him.

Are you losing clients because you’re intimidated by competition rather than open to collaboration? Understand what makes you unique, offer quality services and you’ll never worry about competition again.

Photo Credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/ / CC BY 2.0
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