It’s oh so fitting that I’ve sat down to write this about 6 times. As gobsmacking to me as it sounds, Collabosaurus has been alive for 6 years! We’re celebrating the Collabo-birthday / birthday-saurus in true lockdown fashion, releasing a bonus offer (see at the bottom of this page) & consuming a lot of cake from the comfort of our homes.
This particular blog post has been a tricky one to write, mostly because it’s super hard to reflect beyond the 18 months we, along with so many other businesses, have just lived through. The best way I can think of to describe the last 18months is with the word intense. Intense stress, busy-ness & change, but also intense highs, wins & lightbulb moments.
Running a startup is truly a roller coaster ride, but there are a few things I’ve picked up along the way that may help you, too.
Not having a Co-founder comes with pros & cons. The single most impactful ‘con’ in my opinion is having someone in the business to share the mental load & bounce ideas off. For me, something that has been an absolute godsend over the last few years has been having an ‘Unofficial Co-Founder’ [UCF] where there’s daily communication & support in all areas of business. It can be as small as a text exchange but it keeps me sane & we help each other.
Big shout out to Emma Green for being the best unofficial co-founder there ever was. #UCF (It’s also her birthday)
As our team grows, I’ve found this hands-on practice opportunity one of the quickest & most effective ways to get new team members comfortable & confident in talking about your brand. Zoom & lockdowns are even better, because you can record the sessions! Not only get your mystery shoppers account of an experience, you also get to watch it back yourself to uncover learnings & the recording is a good resource for your team to refer back to.
The processes that we had in place for account management & onboarding were rock solid, until they weren’t. We experienced big, consistent growth unlike anything we have seen before in 2020 & our processes didn’t hold up under pressure. This led to a BIG overhaul & adjustment of how we manage accounts. I completely changed role responsibilities & reporting, automating elements to tighten up processes so that they were *more* foolproof. In turn, this has really impacted our margins & workflow for the better!
There’s nothing like needing to innovate under extreme pressure. It was painful at the time, but the new process works like a dream!
I absolutely have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to cap raising (probably because I was totally unsuccessful!) But one thing that kept coming up in those meetings was the Facebook ‘Formula’. Not having a male, technical co-founder was a big issue for many investors - to the point where I cut someone else into the business in order to fit that mould. Of course, I was taking this advice very literally rather than interpreting the feedback to be (more realistically) that they were keen on mitigating technical risks & ensuring I didn’t spiral into single-founder-insanity.
I was insecure about the fact that we were growing super slowly, because the expectation in tech unicorns were these rapid, insane spikes in growth. I made stupid decisions here, trying to chase quick spikes so that I could showcase them on a spreadsheet! Many years on, I am so proud of the slow & steady growth we’ve had. 2020 was the first year things really kicked up a notch & by then we were ready to handle it.
Take stock of how far you have come, often. It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of it all & forget to enjoy the journey! I still struggle with this. My entire 3 month stint in San Francisco was spent running a million miles an hour, in a state of super unhealthy, sleepless burnout stress. It’s only now that I look back on that & think “wow, I did that!”
What’s more, running a business gives you the chance to dramatically grow your skill set in such a short space of time. This level of exposure & learning is nearly impossible to develop within another company. So, even if your venture ‘fails’ on paper, the skills & networks alone are well worth it.
I probably sound like an idiot when I say it took almost 6 years to do this haha. Truth is, I don’t think I ever really had the right financial support around me - I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Of course, every tax bill was a huge shock & I have to say I am in love with my bookkeeper. They complement my accountants so well & email me with how much I need to siphon off into a tax account each month - so there are no more surprises.
While we’re on this dry topic, where is your superannuation? Not only did I not pay myself Super for far too long, I have been holding it in a place that charges fees to the point I’m losing money. The good news is that there are a bunch of awesome Superannuation offers on the market now, you’re spoiled for choice. Do yourself a favor & review that random Super account that was probably set up automatically with your bank back when you were 14.
Brand collaborations are still one of the most cost effective ways to reach new customers, build buzz & drive sales. One of the most beautiful nerd burger things I have now that Collabosaurus has reached its 6th birthday? More DATA.
Brands are tapping into partnerships more consistently, over longer periods of time, & they’re higher on the marketing priority list. 90% of the collaborations that happen on the Collabosaurus platform don’t involve cash exchange whatsoever, so there is a huge opportunity for both small & large businesses alike to team up for big results.
Well, there you have it! A few tid bits from the last 6 years building Collabosaurus.
For our 6th birthday, we have 6 days where you can nab yourself a wonderful bonus! Between September 26th - October 1st, all business plan (or above) plan upgrades get a tailored strategy document with 6 creative collaboration concepts for your business. That's essentially a years' worth of collaboration ideas for your brand.
The Business Plan on Collabosaurus is great because you get....
BIRTHDAY BONUS - 6 Tailored Collaboration Ideas for Your Brand - all at a price that's less than 10% of the cost of an agency.