Collaborating With People From Other Professions


A sometimes overlooked element of collaboration is the practice of merging ideas and energy with from totally different walks of life professionally.  Not only does this expand the knowledge and experience of all parties involved with new concepts, but it also brings about fresh perspectives that one cannot usually discover when working with people within the same field.  

For example, if a musician / singer-songwriter writes songs for a living, then that is something that can be applied to almost anything.  Humans love adding the element of music to their projects. Whether it is a movie that would be far more impactful with a score, a charity gala where some light music would set the mood, or even a grocery store that has its own radio playing store-wide on constant rotation to help shoppers feel more relaxation for when they are standing in line, one thing is true across all these settings; people, humans... we all love music.

Now imagine that you are a store owner, and your store is a bakery.  You have a clever name picked out and you now want to have radio commercials.  In your advertisement, you will want to have your information conveyed, but you want more than just a narration and some canned backing music, what do you do?

If the songwriter and the baker team up, a jingle can be written so that the advertisement is more memorable.  Not to mention the side benefits of collaboration, where something like an opening party at the bakery could benefit from live music and other entertainment. Now the songwriter and the baker have two ways to interact; in a studio setting where the commercial is created, and live on site where people can witness the collaboration.  Maybe the baker and singer always secretly wanted to do what the other one does. The songwriter loves to bake, but never got to be in a real bakery kitchen area, or the baker has secretly written poems and lyrics in the back of their bakery log book.. This opportunity presents itself and benefits both parties in several ways. And that is a beautiful thing!!

The goal is always expansion in my opinion.  To expand awareness of a brand, or a certain offering, and there are more opportunities to ‘wow” people that are from a different station in life.

Musicians may very well appreciate other musicians, and in a group that can be all fine and well, except for the fact that it's a whole lot of the same presented differently, and therefore, harder to stand out.  However, a musician walking into a bakery is more likely to stand out like a rockstar because the bakery demographic sends most of their time in the bakery, so when a musician walks in with a guitar it’s a bit of a bigger deal since it’s not common.  That generates excitement in a special kind of way that is different than in situations where everyone in the room is used to such things,

That has always been a secret to my own success;o be an orange in a pile of bananas.  Oranges and banana can make a wonderful flavor together! A tropical smoothie results!! And that's the same when I, as a musician, take the initiative to put myself in situations where there will not be many others like me.  

You can be guaranteed to meet people from all walks of life in any place that serves basic needs

Food: Everyone eats.  If you are human, it’s likely that you eat soo a grocery store is a great place to hang a flyer or to casually converse about the rising costs of legumes, which can  result in a question of what someone does in life, and hopefully, business cards could be exchanged before moving on. It’s all about seizing such opportunities and utilizing creative promotional approaches. Other places of easy promotion are malls with hair salons, clothing stores, beauty product stores and so much more.  Anywhere were people of all professions and walks of life will go to get everyday supplies. That’s not to say that a songwriter couldn’t connect with others at a music supply store. The main difference though is that there very well may be other people there at the same time doing the same thing, so there is a slightly increased sense of competition.  

It’s all about knowing how to identify opportunities,hich brings us back to cross promotions and collaborations with people of other professions.

What speaks to you in a way that will lead to authentic, beneficial collaborations?

If you are passionate as a songwriter and also about animal rights, you would be unlikely to seek a collaboration with a slaughterhouse.You would more likely benefit from working with organizations like the ASPCA, or some animal rescue associations.  Maybe write a theme song supporting them, or offer to donate portions of proceeds from the sale of a song that was created for that demographic and community. Don’t hastily go and align with anything that wouldn’t be somewhat personally gratifying. People can sense an authentic connection between entities, and so that songwriter and butcher shop example would be a time where it would likely be obvious that it would be a mismatch ethically for some.  It doesn't mean that it wouldn’t or couldn’t happen, it just means that it may not be an optimal match to bring the highest level of success to all.

Ask yourself this: what am i passionate about? Think about it. What speaks to our soul while also not being in line with your own current profession?   What would you do in life if you didn't do what you do? These are potential areas for interesting collaboration and cross-promotion.

For me, in another life I would be a full-time filmmaker, or a web designer, or a photographer, or even more radically, and different, a venue owner.   So that is where I would start when seeking opportunities to expand.

Becoming connected to people in vastly different areas of professionalism is just a good idea, in my opinion.  You never know who knows who, or what may come of out-of-the-box connections.

Take a look at who is in your sphere creatively, and ponder who else could be included that would benefit from knowing you and likewise. It’s a good exercise in expansion and broadening opportunities.

Good luck out there! Be creative...Maybe someday we will be collaborating.. You never know.

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