As a startup founder or creative, being thrown into a new industry with no real contacts can be overwhelming. The Good Collective, a community of founders, strategists and creatives, wants to provide the support you need to succeed — whether that’s through contacts, workshops or just learning how to confidently price your work.
“The Good Collective is the common ground between founders, strategists, and creatives because at the end of the day, business owners are creative,” says Bryan J. Noel, co-founder of Good Collective. “How can we serve each other and empower each other?”
The Good Collective is one branch of Very Good Co, a strategic coaching team for Phase 2 businesses, founded by Noel, Dan Marengo, Nathan Cheuvront and Joey Thompson. All four founders collectively have more experience in the startup world than I have fingers in my hands, so they know a thing or two about learning from their mistakes and helping others avoid them all together.
We sat with two of the Very Good Co founders, Noel and Cheuvront, to talk about how you can become a better collaborator and entrepreneur and get on the path to success with these six tips.
#1 Don’t identify yourself by your success
“You can’t define your identity by how successful of a creative you are because it’s going to ebb and flow every month. One month you’re going to be on top of the world doing some major project for some awesome company and then the next month you won’t be able to generate any leads whatsoever. Instead identify yourself with the core values in your life like who takes time and invests their time in you. Maybe you need to link yourself up with a mentor. Maybe you need to take a break and go on a vacation.”
#2 Stay connected to your industry and its rates
“Look at the other creatives in your industry, see what they’re doing and start talking to them. A lot of creatives will put their heads down when they get projects and they’ll just stay on with the same client or multiple clients for the same rate. For example, as a filmmaker, video is my first love. I realized that I needed to start connecting with other filmmakers. I needed to start talking to them and figuring out how they were doing their craft and how they were billing and how they landed projects.”
#3 Track your hours
“In regards to utilization rate, track your hours. It’s a really simple concept. There’s got to be 50 apps out there that will allow you to track your hours. We love Timetracker.”
#4 Hire partners, not vendors
“Sit down with creatives, interview different ones, and present the problem that you’re trying to solve and see what they would do to solve that problem. What you’ll find is that you’ll scale your business with a group of solid strategists and creatives.”
#5 Understand what your objectives are (and adjust expectations accordingly)
“A lot of difficulty with creatives and strategists is when they come in, sometimes the founders aren’t even sure what their objectives are. ‘What’s your objective? Make more money. Why? I don’t know, it just sounds good.’ What’s the purpose of that? What is that fueling? If we see money as a resource, not the end game, then what’s the purpose of having more of that resource? What do you want your impact to be?
Understand what your objectives are and be very transparent with strategists and creatives and saying here’s the objective I’m trying to meet. Here are my expectations for this creative deliverable.”
#6 Know when to market yourself
“Stop trying to do everything yourself. For every founder, and especially with copy, marketing is the last thing that everyone feels like they know how to do.
What happens is a lot of those companies, they either grew by referrals. They grew by early success. They grew by a new product buzz. They got picked up on a few good events. But then they hit the glass ceiling. So they start plateauing or they see opportunity, they just can’t get it and they’re frustrated why. That goes back to again, what’s my business objective? But how do they know that the product’s actually gonna sell because they haven’t really marketed at all?”