How to play well with others.

Joint ventures: a phrase that goes with Entrepreneurialism like jam and cream with a scone.

Partnering up with someone can be a great thing. You get to access their network, and you can share costs, obviously you have more capacity for work and gain an extra brain to help you come up with all those innovative ideas?

Possibly the biggest benefit is that you have someone to share the risks with; someone to gossip and whinge with.

But are there downsides to partnering with another human? And do you ensure the great relationship you started with stays great.

In this episode of the podcast, I talk to my long term business buddy and Hot Copy Podcast partner, Belinda Weaver, and we share the highs and lows of our business relationship and give some tips on how to improve yours.

Tune in to learn:

  • What is a joint venture?
  • How Kate and Belinda started working together
  • What reservations Belinda has about working with Kate
  • What did she hope to gain?
  • What have been the challenges?
  • What tips Kate and Belinda have for working together
  • What to do when collaborators won’t pull their weight?
  • Why processes are so important

Can you have a joint venture if one of you is a control freak

With contributions from Maria Doyle, Amanda Van Elderen, Gavin Hodges and Katie Bell.

Listen to the podcast below:


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Buy the book:

Confessions of a misfit

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About Belinda:

Belinda Weaver is a copywriter and copywriting mentor with 10+ years in marketing and copywriting. After quitting her marketing day job to start Copywrite Matters, Belinda worked hard to become an in-demand copywriter. It wasn’t long before she was consistently booked 4-6 weeks in advance, writing copy that pushed her clients’ marketing into the spotlight.

Now, she’s helping others on their journey to becoming successful copywriters via her website, copywriteMatters.com.

She’s also the co-host on my other podcast the Hot Copy Podcast.

Her website Copywritematters.com has courses, coaching and heaps of free content to help you improve the way you write.

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Transcript:

Kate Toon: Joint ventures. A phrase that goes with entrepreneurialism like jam with a scone. Partnering up with someone can be a great thing. You get access their network, share the costs, and obviously have more capacity for work, and an extra brain to help you come up with all those innovative ideas.

 

Possibly the biggest benefit is that you have someone to share the risks with, someone to gossip with, and someone to whinge with.

 

But are there downsides to partnering with another human? And how do you ensure that, that great relationship you started with stays great?

 

In this episode of The Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur podcast, I’m talking to my long term business buddy, and Hot Copy podcast partner, God that was hard to say, Belinda Weaver. And we will share our highs and lows of the business relationship that we’ve had, and some tips on how to improve yours.

 

 

Hello. My name is Kate Toon. I’m the author of Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur, How to Succeed in Business Despite Yourself. Have you bought it yet? If not, do it now.

 

And today I’m talking with Belinda Weaver. Hello Belinda.

 

Belinda Weaver: Hello Kate. Thank you Kate. How kind of you.

 

Kate Toon: Lovely. I’m gonna read out your bio now. Get ready. It’s exciting.

 

Belinda Weaver is a copywriter and copywriting mentor with 10 years plus experience in marketing, copywriting, and other things. After quitting her marketing day job to start Copyright Matters, Belinda worked hard to become an in demand copywriter. It wasn’t long before she consistently booked four, she was booked four to six weeks in advance writing copy that pushed her clients marketing into the spotlight.

 

Now she’s helping others on their journey to become successful copywriters with her courses and resources at her website, copywritematters.com and of course as I mentioned already she’s also the co host on my other podcast, The Hot Copy.

 

Quite fast!

 

So. I hate reading out bios, but that was a good one. Did we miss anything? We didn’t tell them about all your strange fetishes there, for, old lady television and Dr. Who.

 

Belinda Weaver: Oh well it will come out during the show. Let them blossom like a flower.

 

Kate Toon: It will all come out. It will all leak out during the podcast.

 

I actually wanted to get you on the podcast a bit earlier, but I kind of fannied around it a little bit. So I’m very glad to have you. Thank you very much.

 

Does it feel weird that I’m going to be interviewing you?

 

Belinda Weaver: I just hope I live up to the hype.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah I know. I do too.

 

We are gonna go through a few questions here, and Belinda, very out of character, although, I’m not sure how out of character. I’ve not scripted anything.

 

Belinda Weaver: Yep. Flying free. I’ve got my wine, I’ve got my brain, I’m here. Let’s do it.

 

Kate Toon: Wine and brain. That’s all you need.

 

I’m gonna start with a definition, because I’ve done that twice before and it kind of helps me remember what the episode is about.

 

The definition of a joint venture is a commercial enterprise undertaken jointly by two or more parties, which otherwise retain their distinct identities. Does that describe what we’re doing?

 

Belinda Weaver: I think so. I think the big thing we’re seeing is the idea that a joint venture is a win – win thing, where both parties should be benefiting. I like the inclusion of the distinct identities, ’cause you know, we’ve got the pod, but we still got our own things going on. And we bring our own personalities to the pod, so, I like that.

 

Kate Toon: We need to find some more comparisons since I can only think of  Morecombe and Wise right now.

 

Belinda Weaver: Oh, I like that.

 

Kate Toon: Maybe French and Saunders, maybe that’s a good one. Yeah, we’ll have to find some better comparisons.

 

I thought the distinct identities was very important. It’s not like you’re starting a venture together. You’re not starting a company together. We’re not talking about partnerships. It’s where you come together, maybe for a project or a particular thing, but you still have your own stuff going on. I thought that was quite interesting. A bit different to just coupling up.

 

I do like the phrase commercial enterprise, because it’s not like we really make any money from our podcast

 

Belinda Weaver: We really do it for the love of people.

 

Kate Toon: We do. We are planning to try and sell some mugs because of my obsession with branded materials. I do love my merch think it’s good. If we sell a couple of tea towels and mugs then we’ll be quids in. That can pay for stuff.

 

Obviously, the podcast has helped us both in other ways.

 

Let’s talk about how we got together, because you approached me.

 

Kate Toon: Can you remember way back? I think it’s over two years.

 

Belinda Weaver: It was a warm summer evening …

 

Belinda Weaver: I remember seeing you post a picture on Facebook of your new Yeti microphone, and the update basically implied that you were gonna start a podcast. It was something I’d been thinking about.

 

We’d been copywriting buddies for a while by that stage. I took you out for dim sums when you came to Melbourne, but we’d never actually, kind of done anything together.

 

I was really excited by the idea that you were starting a podcast, ’cause I had thought of start a podcast, but that’s when I thought, “You know what? I think this would be better if we did it together. I think it would be easier. I think it would be more fun. I was hoping it would be more advantageous to us both if we were a team rather than doing podcasts separately, against each other.

 

Actually, I probably had a few wines, because it was just rather on a whim that I just emailed you and said “Hey. Do you wanna do a podcast together?”

 

And when you shot back and said yes, I was stoked. It was really spontaneous

 

Kate Toon: It’s interesting because, as is my typical way, I bought the microphone, wanted to show off about it. Probably had buried it with the intention of doing a podcast. It was one of those vague things I was never gonna do.

 

Then you got in touch, and we agreed to do it. I just wonder, do you think back then a bit of you was like, “Oh. Bugaration, if she does one and I do one, then we’re going to be in competition with each other.”

 

Belinda Weaver: Oh yeah! Absolutely, I was like well that’s gonna be hard. That’s gonna make it all that much harder, but I was thinking, “Wow. If we did one together, I think we can really make it bigger and better.”

 

I kind of came out of maybe a little bit of fear and also a little bit of … because, you know, if I had seen you post your microphone before I posted mine, I’d had been like, “No! That was my idea! She’s gonna think I’m copying her. Dammit!”

 

Belinda Weaver: Yes, I mean, I’ll be really honest, there was fear in that equation. It wasn’t all kind of like rainbows, hey, let’s be awesome together, but it just seemed to make sense to have one Australian jewel rather than two competing podcasts.

 

Kate Toon: The truth be known, I knew sweet F A about podcasting. You were way more into podcasting. Before I actually said something.

 

Belinda Weaver: That’s right, ’cause I was like “Do your homework. Go and listen to some things and come back

 

Kate Toon: I never actually did. I just lied to you and pretended that I had.

 

Thank goodness you sent me that email, because, again, this is a little prod. I’m not sure I ever would have done it if you hadn’t given me the prod, and look at me now. I’ve got three! I’m a bit of an addict.

 

Can you remember? We really didn’t know each other that well. We’d been bouncing about on Twitter and social media. I think a lot of people think that joint ventures always happen between people who are really good friends or who’ve done lots together, but we hadn’t. Apart from a few dumplings, and wonder around the therapist shop in San Francisco. That always makes me giggle. I’ll put a picture of the shop in the show notes so you can see why it makes me giggle.

 

Belinda Weaver: Kevin.

 

Kate Toon: I think we bought a creature.

 

Belinda Weaver: It was my daughter. A stuffed toy for my daughter.

 

Kate Toon: Kevin. I don’t know what Kevin was, but he was cool for your daughter.

 

We didn’t really know each other. You only knew my online persona, really. What reservations did you have before we started working together?

 

Belinda Weaver: We have a giggle together. We’d been out socially a few times. I was like, “Well, I know I can have a giggle with you.” I didn’t actually think beyond that because I was full of bluster and confidence thinking, yeehaw, let’s just get on with this.

 

What I’ve realised, and I think we’re going to talk about this soon, is as we started working together, I realised that we didn’t really know each other that well.

 

I went into things like I do. I went in with supreme confidence that it would all just work out, which has helped me to push through the challenges that we’ve had. We took quite natural challenges.

 

Also, as we’ve gone through, I’ve probably had more reservations. Not reservations, but I’ve been worried if I’m bringing enough wind to the table because I sort of added in that the joint venture is the win – win.

 

I started going … You know that self doubt and comparisonitis stuff that we coach against. Am I enough? Am I bringing enough to the table? Because I wanted it to be a 50/50 split.

 

I didn’t have that reservation whenever we started.

 

Kate Toon: It’s funny that you say that, because actually me and Belinda have never had this conversation in real life. We’ve never really talked about it. We’ve had a few open conversations, which we’ll talk about in a minute, but we never really had this chat. I feel that this is quite therapeutic because I often feel that you are the yen to my yang. I don’t know which one is which, but I feel like I’m the black one and you’re the white one because I think, generally, you’re a much more jolly, positive human than I am. I’m a bit dark, and I’m a bit cynical.

 

Before we started to work together I’ve been burned a few times. When you suggested it, I did have reservations. I was like, “She’s gonna be better than me. Why does she wanna do this. I’m a bit suspicious, like, what does she really want from me?” I feel I don’t know if I ever told you that. But I was like …

 

Belinda Weaver: I remember you asking me because it was as soon into our “how will this work” conversations that you went, “I have to be honest here, I’m totally sauced on your And we got through it. That was our first probably awkward conversation.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, which needed to be had. I don’t know if we actually did because we were a bit poo, but I think we put together a document that sort of said a few things. I think my question was, what would happen if one of didn’t wanna do it anymore. I think we just said we’d either kill it completely, or we’d negotiate a new host. I think we would be horrified of the fact that the other one got a new host. Highly devastated.

 

Belinda Weaver: Yes! It’s like watching someone get married together.

 

Kate Toon: Oh, God, yeah!

 

Belinda Weaver: I was once, and she’d be marvellous.

 

Kate Toon: Even when you interview other people, it’s a bit like you’re having an affair. I don’t like it when you go on your own.

 

You’re mine. He’s mine! We’ll just have to say that right now. You can never do it with anyone else, because I will just cry. That’s the podcast I mean.

 

I did have reservations, and I was worried about … I think we resolved a lot of it by having it on a separate site, because, again, I think we were both like, “Are we gonna have to merge our brands? Is it gonna be the Hot Copy podcast brought to you by blah blah blah?”

 

Belinda Weaver: Absolutely, and having those conversations of how will this work. That’s exactly what you have to do with a joint venture. How’s it going to be split, who’s doing what? The challenge we had is we didn’t know what we were doing, so we didn’t know, but to the best of our knowledge we wrote down how it would work, and what would happen if it all went tits up. Which it hasn’t done.

 

Yeah.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah. We also really didn’t know who would do which bits of it. There’s quite a lot involved in preparing the notes and finding guests, and then recording and editing it, coming and doing the WordPress stuff and sharing it on social media.

 

I think in the early days we did that differently. That’s evolved. I guess on little tip that comes up is, we didn’t really have it all worked out when we started. I see many people think that you need to know exactly what’s going to happen and be able to bullet point every possible eventuality. We definitely didn’t have that, and that’s hard because as she said, we didn’t know each other that well. We liked it each other, but we didn’t 100% trust each other.

 

It’s tricky. It’s hard. Can you remember way back when, we talked a little about this, but what you thought you would gain by us working together?

 

Belinda Weaver: Part of this is doing a podcast and part of this is working with you, but the whole thing, as we said about a joint venture, is using your intro, sharing audiences. There is that. I’m going to be very upfront about that, because I wanted to reach new people than I was doing, and that’s one of the reasons you do content marketing. More than that, aside from that, I wanted to make it easier on myself. I wanted to share the workload. I knew it would be more interesting doing it with someone else. I didn’t know how interesting. It’s way more fun, and I’m so glad because I think we have more interesting conversations than I would ever have on my own with myself.

 

Kate Toon: Oh, God. Absolutely.

 

I must just apologise to anyone listening. It started to monsoon in my back garden, so if you can hear rain, it’s rain on my tin roof of my little Toon cave in my back garden.

 

I think I didn’t really know anything about podcasting, so to be honest, I was piggybacking on your knowledge because you knew a lot more than me. You knew how to set it up. You knew about auto tunes, you knew about Stitcher, you knew about editing. I didn’t really know anything about that.

 

I didn’t really think about the audience thing, because I kind of felt we both had similar sized audiences then, and I think a lot of the people were the same people. Maybe they’re not. I think now they are. Everybody who knows me, knows you. Everyone who kind of sides up to your course, ultimately sides up to mine and vice versa, and I love that. We can talk a bit more about that in a minute.

 

I think I was doing it because I didn’t know what I was doing, and I though this was going to make life a lot easier. She can work out how to do it all.

 

Belinda Weaver: What I was hoping is also, which is what had happened, I was hoping we’d tap into listeners in the States, and England, and that kind of expansion of reach as well. I love, obviously, all the people we know in Australia, but I was ambitiously hoping we could go across the sea.

 

Kate Toon: I know, and again, totally naïve. I didn’t even realise there were any other copywriting podcasts, and now I look and see that there are some super big ones that have been going for ages, and also lots of others … I remember you saying, “There isn’t really anything in this niche.” And then I look now, and there’s loads. What idiots we were.

 

We have gone a bit global, because you remember that lady? You drove that lady, and you said she’d been listening to us hiking through the Hollywood Hills, and that was lovely.

 

We reached a milestone a while ago of over 100,000 downloads, and it’s well over that now. That was a bit mental. I think both of us love the moment when someone emails us and says, “I was listening to you, while I was on the loo.”

 

We love that don’t we?

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah, absolutely, and the reviews we get from different places. I’m like, whoa, that’s awesome.

 

I feel like I know the podcasts I listen to. I feel like I know the people quite well. I’ve clearly never spoke to them. I find that quite disconcerting and fantastic at the same time.

 

Kate Toon: I just think it’s crazy that people have us in their ears in odd places.

 

I love it. You know, I’m a big fan of that “Reply All” podcast that I don’t think you really ever got into. I’ve vaguely in love with PJ and Alex on that show. When there’s not a new episode, I feel really sad. I miss them. When they laugh, I laugh because I’m like, we’re such buddies, it’s really fun.

 

Belinda Weaver: I have this similar thing where I’ve been bingeing on this Lord of the Rings podcast, and the guy who, I’ll tell you about it after thing because it’s freaking awesome. The guy who does it, I put a tweet out, and I put the podcast hashtag, and he liked my tweet, and I phoned my husband. He just liked my tweet about Gandalf. I understand.

 

Before we move on, when I moved to the states, I felt quite disconnected. I was doing working things in Melbourne, and flying to Sydney every now and then, and being in Brisbane, so I was talking to people in person, and I feel like just having a regular thing with you makes me feel more connected.

 

Kate Toon: Awwww.

 

No. You little dumpling.

 

Let’s talk about the horrible stuffs now. We’ve been woo woo and la la.

 

We did have some challenges, and we continue to have challenges working together. I think that suspicion that I had did not go away for the first, I don’t know, for a while. There’s been a few times that I would be like, “Why are you doing this?” I remember like when you were sharing all the podcasts on your own site as well. I was like “We never agreed to that. Why are you doing that? You’re outranking our site. She’s got some evil reason.” You never actually did, but that suspicion was always there for at least the first year I would say. It’s coming back, not constantly, but that trust thing took a long time to build, don’t you think?

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah, and it let to small conversations, but that was one of the journeys of getting to know each other. I would be like a big, goofy dog going, “Huh? What? I was just doing it. I didn’t actually think about it.” Or “I was just trying to help.”

 

It was all about setting boundaries and working out how we worked best. There were some super emotional conversations that we exchanged, and one of the challenges in that is the time difference. You would be working through something and sending messages, and I would be cooking my kids dinner. “Whoa, I can’t talk about this right now.” Or I’d be sending updates and you’re in the middle of some super stressful project that you’re working on, and it would be 24 hours delay before one of us could reply. Even if it wasn’t stressful, and was an awkward conversation we were trying to have with each other, the time different does make it difficult to keep on top of things because we do have a crossover, but sometimes we’re trying to talk to each other in stressful moments.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, and therefore you can’t talk to a person, so it festers for 24 hours before you can actually have that chat, which makes it worse. I don’t mean we do that as much anymore. I think we’re pretty good. I think the only issue that we sometimes have is that the software we use, Asana, sends notifications every time you scratch your bum. Sometimes you wake up to 27 notifications, and if you forget to say a word, and you add it in the next comment, you get another notification.

 

I think another thing that’s taken a while to work out, and I think this is important for both of us, was that we actually sell the same thing. We both sell coaching. We both sell courses. For a long time, I don’t have a full copywriting course like yours, I have a SEO course. Then I remembered there was a moment where you launched an SEO copywriting component. We’d never spoken about the fact that we couldn’t sell what the other one sold, but I felt like it was a complicit agreement. We wouldn’t shat on each other’s toes, but we hadn’t made that agreement. That was, I think, one of our good conversations. It took a while for us both to realise that it didn’t matter. Actually, a lot of our followers buy both of our things even though they’re similar

 

People are going to listen to us, and they’re just going to prefer the style of one of us to the other, and there’s nothing either of us can do about that. That was a big learning. Did you have that learning too?

 

Belinda Weaver: Yes, I think we agreed not to outright … I don’t think we actually spoke about the agreement. We did have conversations about it, but there has been a lot of implicit agreement in us not having super competing stuff. More as a gentle ladies’ agreement.

 

One of the things about joint venture is you can either work with someone who has a similar audience even though you do different things, or you can work with someone who does the same thing, and it can still work.

 

One of the things if someone is going to partner up with someone else is to realise that crossover’s going to happen and have the conversation about what you’re going to do. I think one of the things I like about our partnership is you’re very good at saying, “this is something we need to talk about” because I’m not very good at having those conversations. We’ve done it like band aids. Let’s just thrash this out, and we’ve done it in five minutes or less. “Ah. Okay. Cool. We both feel a lot better about that now.”

 

We can do it, you’re right. We both have different styles, and I’ve had people sign up to my course going, “Oh I listen to you both, but I felt more akin to what you were saying,” or something like that. That’s just going to happen. It was only one person, once.

 

Kate Toon: No one’s ever said that to me. [inaudible 00:24:10] I’m going to find them. No, I’m joking.

 

I think, again, that brings us to another challenge, which is we are different in our approaches. I would say I’m a bit more fly by the seat of your pants. I turn on the podcast. I have read the notes. I haven’t prepared questions. I haven’t done anything. Where you are much more methodical and you write out what you’re going to say and [crosstalk 00:24:40] I think you were like, “You haven’t prepared anything.” And I was like, “That’s too scripted.” But actually all of this turned into a perfect partnership.

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah. Absolutely, and I think that’s kind of summarised when we were listening to [crosstalk 00:24:44] history. It actually the episode you got me on to review [crosstalk 00:24:48] podcast, and you were saying, “The dude’s talking about Cezanne versus Picasso, and I’m Picasso. Quick ideas, fast implementation, but really spot on. And you were saying, “I’m Cezanne, who does a lot of planning and thinking and constant tweaks and revisions and is much more of a slow prodder. That’s a really interesting distinction. We’ve worked it out now.

 

Like I was saying for a recent pod, I just think about when I think about it, I kind of write as if I’m saying it. I kind of can’t really do bullet points in that way. You know now, that you can just ignore those notes and do what you like.

 

Kate Toon: Yes. Yes. Yeah, where as I find it if I script it all out, I sound like I’m reading, and it sounds bit halted and odd. It’s bad for me to just have a few odd words, and then let my brain slip sideways. That difference in style on the podcast works well because some people respond more to a, let’s be honest, a well thought out argument, which I would say is you, and other people respond well to a bit of ramble, which is me. Maybe I was a bit harsh, but you know what I mean.

 

I think other challenges we’ve had have been not necessarily with each other, but working out who should do what, and the constant feeling, and we still might have this, the constant feeling that the other one is doing more. You said you weren’t bringing enough wind. I never feel that you’re not doing enough, ever. I always feel that I’m not doing enough.

 

When I see that you’ve had a bit of a session in a sauna, and you’ve done some stuff, I’m like, “Fuck! Now I have to do some stuff!” We constantly [crosstalk 00:26:41]

 

Like if you write two episodes I’m like, “I hate her! It’s mine!” [crosstalk 00:26:48]

 

Belinda Weaver: It’s true though. I think what happens when we get through a design now, that I only have small windows of time because of my life and what it is. You only have small windows of time because you’re doing ten million other things.

 

We kind of claw forward in the way that we can. That’s just how it works.

 

The challenges when we were starting out, I was like, “Oh, there’s stuff that needs to be done in WordPress.” Clearly, I’ve run my own website, I know that. But then you’re like I’m doing the website, and I was just trying to help. I think, very quickly, well actually, not very quickly, but eventually we went, “No no no no no. We need to keep it separate.” If I haven’t done it already I will get to it. Just back off. Look after what you are doing. And that was cool. That was a bit of a relief because I don’t need to worry about what’s not on my list.

 

Kate Toon: When I get to it. Yes. [inaudible 00:27:42]

 

Sure.

 

Belinda Weaver: Oh. Bless him.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, and sometimes it’s just by the skin of our teeth.

 

Hang on a minute, I’ve just got to let [inaudible 00:27:54] in because he’s getting a bit soggy outside. [inaudible 00:27:58]

 

He’s in now.

 

I think the key to that is communication, and we’re quite anal in our communication now. We use [inaudible 00:28:13], we use Dates, but even the other day it happened. I don’t think we worked to who is going to do the social media stuff. I was down to do it, but I think, you, to be nice, had gone, “Oh, I’ll do it because she’s busy or something.” You set it all up and you didn’t tell me that you’d done that, the nice thing, so I did it all anyway. Then you were like, “Oh, I did it all,” and you never told me. And you sent a really funny note that I was thought was funny [crosstalk 00:28:42]. You were like, “Must remember I am working with someone else.” Or something like that. I am part of a team.

 

Belinda Weaver: That’s right. I am part of a team now. Because you remember … it never occurred to me to actually tell you that I’d done that.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah, it’s funny isn’t it? It’s just ongoing communication, and because sometimes I’m super busy, I’ll write something short and sweet in replies, and I’m conscious when I read them back because that sounded really abrupt. I didn’t mean to sound abrupt, but just that communication and that consideration has to constantly be maintained. It’s tough. It’s tough at times.

 

I kind of feel that you are good at keeping us accountable, because, to be honest, there’s been plenty a time that I’ve thought let’s just not do an episode for the next couple of months. I can’t be asked. And you always say we should keep to the schedule, we really should. Honestly, if it wasn’t for you, the Hot Copy podcast would not still be going. I know this because now I have the Recipe podcast, and I’ve got this big … You’d go crazy if you looked at the dates of when they’re published. There’s big gaps. Sometimes I publish on Wednesday, sometimes it’s on a Tuesday. You would freak out.

 

You’re very good at that.

 

Belinda Weaver: It’s why I started blogging in 2010. In that time I’ve missed maybe three or four blogs. It just really irks me to have a non-symmetrical schedule.

 

Yeah.

 

Kate Toon: See how different we are? I for like four months, and then I’ll blog 17 times in two days.

 

We’ve had some challenges working together, but we’ve also learned a long the way. We’re going to go through some questions from the Misfit group in a minute, but what would be your tips for working together better in this kind of joint venture thing?

 

Belinda Weaver: Know that your work brings something to the table, but don’t commit 100% until you’ve thrashed out some details. I think each person should have an opportunity to change their mind when you doing that whole “How’s this going to work? Who’s going to do what? How are we going to split the workload? How are we going to split the money, if you’re doing something with an income? What do we do if it all goes tits up?”

 

During those conversations, because they’re often really awkward conversations, I think you should have an easy out where someone can tap out and go, “You know what? I’ve changed my mind, and I don’t think this is going to work.” You should be able to save face doing that.

 

I also think it’s worth pushing through those conversations. Even if you don’t have everything knotted out, to give it a go because one thing I love about you, Kate, is you try stuff and it might not work, but usually it does. That’s brilliant. I think even if you don’t have all the success story written out and all the details ironed out, still if you’ve got most of it there, you should do it.

 

My other one is be prepared for awkward conversations. Be prepared for different styles. Have a bit of a plan to tackle those head on, because if you can get through them it’s totally awesome. The way we work together has totally blossomed, and I’m so glad we didn’t go this is a bit icky and awkward, let’ just pack it in.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah. Yeah, I so agree. Often people will say go with your gut. If I go with my gut, I would’ve not done it because I was scared. I didn’t.  We both pushed on through.  Our confidence has blossomed. Especially our confidence in ourselves, because we have discussions where I’m the funny one and you feel like you’re not the funny one. Or you feel more likeable, and I feel less likeable. Those things have worried me across the years. Am I coming across as daft, and she sounds so much cleverer? Now I just don’t care. That’s just the confidence that’s built up. The confidence, that we talked about, that we can have similar offerings. Exact doesn’t matter.

 

Don’t go into a joint venture if you’re a Nervous Nellie. If you’re full of anxiety. If you’re not confident in your own business to begin with, it’s going to get a bit harder if you then team up with someone. It’s different to teaming up with someone where you’re both working on the same project, because you’re trying to maintain your identity. If your identity is a bit wobbly to begin with, then it can be a struggle. I think that’s really important.

 

I think communication is everything. Being able to get on the phone, not do it by email, get on the phone and have that awkward conversation. Nip things in the bud. Be honest. Even the other day there was something where you wanted to change all the pronouns from I to we. And I thought, “Who the hell [crosstalk 00:33:48].” I’m not trying to be egotistical because I’m saying me. Isn’t that a bit petty? I thought you were feeling a bit left out, but you said it just didn’t make any grammatical sense. Oh okay. I was like, oh dear, she’s having an ego crisis. Don’t worry, I’m not trying … Even now we can have all of these misinterpretations.

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah, I was being a grammar nerd.

 

Yeah, but that was a nice moment because you were honest about how you were feeling, and then I got to say I was being a ?? about it. Oh okay. No problems.

 

Kate Toon: And then it’s done. We nip it in the bud.

 

Go a couple of points from Misfit Group. Some of them are just statements, and some of them are questions.

 

Maria Doyle, who was on the first episode, says, “My takeaway is that it has to be completely 50/50 otherwise it makes it really hard to succeed. 50/50 in terms of motivation [crosstalk 00:34:42]. Amount of time of cash invested, if not, resentment on some level will occur, and that will be the beginning of the end. What do you think about it?

 

Belinda Weaver: I agree in terms of having motivation to succeed has to equal. Wanting it to work. I don’t know if time and effort at cash needs to be 50/50, though, if the rewards are split accordingly as well. If someone says I’ve got more time, you have less time. I’m going to invest more cash, you’re going to invest less cash, but I get 80% of the rewards and you get 20%. I think if you can work out that split, it doesn’t need to be 50/50, but you both need to make it work. Otherwise, resentment, yeah. That’s gonna happen. Yeah.

 

Kate Toon: Yes. Yeah, definitely. We are definitely 50/50 in terms of effort and reward. Reward is pretty difficult for us to measure, but we’re still doing it, so it’s obviously working to some degree.

 

Sometimes I’ll ask people how they found me, and a lot of them it is because of the podcast in way or another.

 

You have to be aware that it’s going to ebb and flow. There have been periods where I just couldn’t be bothered, and I felt like you carried the load for me for a while. Then you produced a human, and during that period, you have to take a step back. I think you have to be flexible with that and be able to help each other out now and again. Don’t be so rigid about who does what, but I think we’re both aware that we could do the other person’s thing if it came to it.

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah. Absolutely. It certainly makes it easier if it’s 50/50. Yeah I can. It sounds awesome.

 

Kate Toon: It does, it’s thundering and lightning now. Can you hear the … It’s bit scary because my roof is metal. I might suddenly get zapped or go off like the Wizard of Oz.

 

The next question, and I think this is a really good one.  I think we’ve dealt with this. It’s from Katie Bell, and she says, “How do you deal with collaborations who don’t end up pulling their weight, or do you have to keep pushing them and reminding them to get to do there work?

 

Belinda Weaver: I think if it’s a constant thing, you have to start asking if it’s the right partnership, because you don’t want to be a project manager in a partnership. That’s where the 50/50 splits, or at least clear boundaries have to be set.

 

If you’re being the nag and you’re starting to feel resentful about it, then maybe it’s not the right partnership.

 

Kate Toon: Right.

 

I agree. I think it’s almost like a marriage. It can’t just be an instant attraction. You have to show that some of your values are the same.

 

From day 1, we were both quite anal about processes. We’re both slightly perfectionists. We do have slightly different styles, but those cores of following steps and ticking things off are common to both of us. That’s what saves us. Even though we’re both quite different or even those might not be able to do anything for a couple of weeks, that process we talk about so much on the podcast saves us. One of you can’t be all like la la la, and the other one’s all like digging in and being anal.

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah. Yes. Yeah. Yes.

 

If someone’s super sloppy, and for getting it done, that’s just not going to work. You have to [crosstalk 00:37:55].

 

Kate Toon: Yeah.

 

Belinda Weaver: [inaudible 00:38:08] is gonna ban you.

 

Kate Toon: Right. I think Katie, if you would make a note of the number of times that you’re prodding, which I know sounds a bit anal. I keep using the word anal. I’m obsessed with anal. What other word could I use?

 

I know. I have an e on our podcast just in case.

 

I’m trying to think of another word for anal. I’m a copywriter, but I can’t … perfectionist!

 

Making that list, and after maybe a month or two months, then you need to have that open conversation and say we’ve had these times when you committed to doing something and you didn’t do it. I’m worried about where we’re at. What can we do to improve this? What processes can we put in place? What can I do to make things easier for you?

 

Then give it another couple of months, and if after that, it’s still happening, then that’s when that joint venture has to die.

 

I think that’s the important thing to say. There’s that phrase. There are some friendships that are for a lifetime. Some are for a season. Some are for a … I’m terrible at my quotes.

 

There may come a point. I can’t see it, and I hope Belinda can’t either, where we have to decide that we have to stop because it’s just not working anymore.

 

Belinda Weaver: I’d like to think if we ever did decide to stop it, it would not for personal reasons.

 

Kate Toon: Yes, totally. It will be because one of us is retired. We’ll be like, 73 and one of us won’t be able to do stuff anymore. I hope so. I hope it’s that.

 

All the awkward things that could have happened have happened. I can’t really see anything that’s going to come along now that’s going to make it worse.

 

That brings us on [inaudible 00:39:53] to Gavin Hodges because he has not had good experiences. He’s signed joint ventures all over the world for use of his equipment, and they’ve gone bad. It’s a mix of us being a little too small to service our new partner correctly, or an issue of distance, or an issue of the JV partner not being that into it. Even with water tight agreements it’s falling over.

 

That’s a good point to make as well. Even with your best intentions, you have a contract and you work it all out. Sometimes it just doesn’t work does it?

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah. I think he makes a really good point there. Being too small to service the new partner correctly. Not being too small, but if you’re bringing on … some joint ventures, it’s a code for affiliate, essentially. If you are creating those kinds of affiliates slash joint venture partnerships, where your one person with a product, and you’re bringing partners on to sell your thing, you have to create a process to make them feel part of the team. That they know what they’re doing. That they know what to say. It’s kind of like franchising in a way. You have to have a process for that.

 

Kate Toon: Yeah. Yeah. I think you have to be honest with yourself about how much time you really have, because lots of dangly things and lots of shiny things are dangled in front of you that you could do, that you could end up just spreading yourself too thin.

 

Lots of people, and I make myself sound slightly arrogant here … I hope you can still hear me over the rain. Lots of people have come to me for the last two or three years saying let’s do this together. Or how about we partner up in this. To be honest, I just don’t have the time or the energy. While it sounds exciting, I have to be honest with myself about what I can actually deliver.

 

I’m going to trying to get some foam, Belinda to stop the noise. Can you actually hear me at all?

 

Belinda Weaver: Yeah.

 

Yeah, I can. It sounds lushes. I’m in California. It doesn’t rain here a lot, so it’s kind of nice.

 

Kate Toon: [inaudible 00:41:48] rain. I’m trying to make a little tent out of pieces of foam. Hope that has dramatically improved things. It probably hasn’t.

 

Amanda Vaneldren asks a question. How do you work with others when you are a control freak? Does someone always need to be the boss? Asking for a friend.

 

That’s quite comedic, because Amanda is actually helping me with my copywriting conference, CopyCon. She’s doing some of the sponsorship stuff and some other stuff. It’s very challenging because she has an idea in her head of how she wants to do things, but then also, it’s my event. I know how I want to do things, so it’s been … She’ll say “I think it would be great to do this.” And she’s always quite sensitive about … It’s my new joint venture. We’re kind of working it out.

 

What are your thoughts on that?

 

Belinda Weaver: It’s about having a conversation about who does what. Creating boundaries around jobs where we would say, you’re doing the website, Kate. I’m doing the editing. We jumped into each other’s jobs a little bit, and that’s made us go no, this is not working.

 

I think we both felt like the other person was being a control freak because I think we both are control freaks. Creating firm boundaries around tasks that you are divvying up can really help to quell that. You agree, if I’m doing this, I’ll keep you in touch with what is happening. I’m able to discuss ideas with you, and I’ll get agreement, but I am doing it.

 

Yeah. Yes.

 

Kate Toon: Yes. Exactly. I think it’s a bit different in some situations because you and I came together, and we had nothing. We built something together.

 

It’s a bit different when you join something that someone else has already created and it’s their thing. You are coming to be a part of that. Maybe it’s not 50/50. Maybe you’re 10% contribution to it. You have to know … The person has to outline those boundaries, but you also have to respect those boundaries.

 

If you think, I would do this completely differently, and I’m annoyed that person won’t let me do it that way, you need to go and do your own thing. Do you know what I mean?

 

I think it’s important to give boundaries to yourself as well. That’s why I could never work for anybody, because I always, and I did for a long time, but I was always like “That’s a really easy decision.” I was really bad at accepting that they were my boss, and they were my boss for a reason. Whether I liked it or not, I had to do what they told me. I could challenge it, but, at the end of the day they said this is you and don’t agree with you, that it was not my place to

 

Belinda Weaver: The other thing … leave the emotion out of it. Sometimes you feel like someone is being a bit controlling. It can give you all the feels. All the bad feels. You need to have those awkward conversations, but without a lot of emotion because it’s usually just about process.

 

Kate Toon: [inaudible 00:44:59] Yeah. Yes. We’ll be honest, we have had emotional conversations. We are emotional beasts. I’ve talked about this in the book, the fact that I am emotional, I do take things personally. It’s a bit of a hard line. The entrepreneurs are supposed to be this emotionless beasts that just … Oh my goodness! This is [inaudible 00:45:23]. Either the Gods are agreeing with me or disagreeing with me.

 

The emotion shows that you care sometimes. You have to cup it and not be screaming and shouting at people, but sometimes it’s good to let it all out.

 

There we go. I am delighted with our joint venture. It’s the only one that’s stuck. I’ve tried a few other things with other people, and it’s ended or finished. So this is the longest work relationship I’ve had, Belinda.

 

Belinda Weaver: Yes, it’s been blossoming like a flower, Kate. We missed the one year. We missed the two year. We missed to 100,000. We missed the big milestones. We missed podcast 50.

 

Kate Toon: We should have an anniversary. We should send each other wood or paper or something with we reach a certain …

 

Belinda Weaver: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me back. And thanks for opening up to have these very vulnerable … I hope everyone feels the vulnerables here.

 

Kate Toon: Hopefully we can meet in San Diego and still [crosstalk 00:46:17], then we can have a party for two and a big celebration.

 

For now, thank you very much for being on my new podcast. And for teaching me so much about podcasting. I wouldn’t be there today if it wasn’t for you. So thank you very much.

 

I know! I wish we could hug, but we can’t. We’ll have to hug over the airways.

 

That’s it for this week. Thanks for listening to The Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneurial podcast.

 

If you enjoyed this episode, please head to the blogged post for this show, and spit out a little blob of appreciation. It will make Belinda and I very happy indeed, and feel a little bit less vulnerable. Also, for the love of all things hairy, subscribe to the show so that you’ll never miss any of my future ramblings.

 

If you have time, you can also leave a rating or review as well. That would be awesome.

 

Of course, if you like this show, you will most likely, like the book. You can buy it online at www.katetoon.com/misfits. It’s full of talk and chat in this kind of thing, and imposter syndrome, copycats, dealing with competitors, and vulnerability, and it’s got lots of tips and ideas to help you cope as an entrepreneur.

 

You can buy it from Amazon as well, but those guys take all the money, so ideally buy it from me.

 

You can also head to Facebook, and join the misfits group there.

 

Finally, don’t forget to tune into my other podcasts. A very special podcast called, The Hot Copy Podcast, with the delicious Belinda Weaver, and The Recipe for SEO Success Show where I talk about all things Google-y. Find them where you find the good podcasts.

 

That’s it for this week. Belinda, thank you very much! And thank you misfits. Keep on keeping on. You’ve got this.