Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

090: 3 Stages of Creative Collaboration You Can’t Ignore [Podcast]

Looking at the author’s name on the cover of a book, it’s easy to assume they did it all on their own. But when you turn to the last page and find the acknowledgements, you discover just how wrong you were.

3 Stages of Creative Collaboration You Can’t Ignore

In a recent article, I wrote about the unfair truth behind the success of some of the most creative icons in history — authors, painters, and musicians whose work still endures today. The cornerstone of the piece was this:

Without a network, creative work does not endure.

If you think you can tackle your craft alone and hope for sustainable success, then you’re kidding yourself. Be it writing, music, or business, you need people to reach people.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Andy and I talk about how networks magnify the work of their members, and why some places become hubs of art, entrepreneurship, and innovation, and why others do not.

Listen in as we discuss how networking is the foundation of these hubs and why it’s in your best interest to start building one today.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (Reading this via RSS? click here).


Bring your own oar

Years ago, I went on a high school canoe trip in Wisconsin. After paddling hard for what felt like hours, we hit a calmer section of the river and linked up with the other canoes in a makeshift floating caravan. It provided a safe environment to enjoy our surroundings and to navigate the waters around the bend.

Looking back, this exemplifies networking pretty well. On your creative journey, there are white-knuckle rapids and calm, soothing stretches. What helps you stay afloat are the people in your canoe and the others around you.

A strong network and a skilled team are the keys to reaching your goals. But how do you find a network? How do you convince someone to let you in their “canoe?” The best place to start is to bring your own oar (talent, skill, knowledge).

All right. That’s enough with the canoeing analogy.

Here’s the bottom line: There’s no such thing as a free ride to success. You must be good at something before you jump into an industry and get noticed. Networking is more than who or what you know, it’s who you help. Generosity gets you on the river, community keeps you in the boat.

Show highlights

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The natural progression of working relationships
  • Questions to consider before you build a team
  • Different levels of collaboration
  • What the greatest creatives in history knew about networking
  • How to create an environment with an excess of intellectual capital
  • Why places like New York City, Nashville, and Paris become hubs for an abundance of art, culture, and innovation
  • When to start thinking about building a team
  • Where to find sojourners who are on the same path as you
  • A secret to successful collaboration

Quotes and takeaways

  • People are more powerful when they are united over a common idea.
  • To become a successful creative professional you have to network.
  • Community is within our grasp more than ever before.
  • When you get enough people together you create an abundance, an economic spillover.
  • You have to be good at something before you jump in to help someone.
  • If you want to reach people, you need people.
  • Don’t rob someone of the chance to be generous.


Where are you at in the stage of building your business, platform, or art? Share in the comments

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Hey Jeff and Andy. I’m so glad I just listened to this great episode.

    Because yesterday, I coincidentally got my act together and initiated what I’ve been working on ever since the Tribe Conference ended. A Mastermind Group.

    I’ve been exploring it ever since the mini session you ran. I’ve spent a lot of time connecting with different people who I thought may be a good fit. And I was really nervous about asking a couple fellow writers to join (because they were much further along than me). But everyone agreed to join (including two Tribe Writers making us a party of five).

    Honestly, putting myself out there like this caused me to panic a bit which is why I procrastinated. I’ve never ran anything like this and it’s a bit intimidating.

    But then I was driving to a funeral on Sunday while listening to Do The Work when Steven Pressfield said that if you’re feeling panicked about an impending project or piece of work, it means you’re on the precipice of something great. I hope that’s true. Either way, I had to give it a shot.

    Thanks again so much for what you guys are doing with this podcast. Every episode resonates and it seems to say the right things at the right times.

  • Kellie

    There is so much wisdom this podcasts. It also represents why you and Andy make an amazing team. This week I meet with a group of six people who want me to join their network to create conferences and live events. As I listened to your podcast, I realized we can collaborate on both my live events, and theirs, as a team. Thats huge. I also gained knowledge on something else we have in common; besides careers and being musicians, I also use oars to paddle my kayak. 😉 Thanks for, yet another, excellent educational piece art.

  • Nicole M

    So I listened to the podcast yesterday and I thought to myself, well I am networking but I don’t have anything to offer anyone as far as collaboration. I was feeling kind of down about it. Then my friend Miguel sent me a final copy of his manifesto to look at, and there in the acknowledgements was my name! I had helped him iron out some grammatical errors. I didn’t think of it as collaborating at the time, but that’s what we were doing! Feeling on track now. 🙂