Holding hands and sticking together is one of those concepts that writer Robert Fulghum insists everyone learned in kindergarten. While we may have learned it then, by the time we get out in the world of adult work, many of us seem to have forgotten Fulghum’s concept in favor of “watch your back” and “dog eat dog” philosophies.
At some point, most of us learn once again that being neighborly pays dividends. Not always, but more often than not. Being neighborly creates good will, boosts a business bottom line, creates harmony, and makes you feel good.
It works for freelance writers, high tech manufacturers, farmers, insurance salesmen, orthodontists, and interior designers. It works in the corporate world, too. It works in small communities; and it works across the internet. In the digital age, social media has made networking easier, and support groups are more relevant than ever before.
Getting Out and Getting Ahead
Going it alone is not only difficult, but lonely. A consortium of apple growers, an association of bakers or barbers, and a professional affiliation of doohickey manufacturers take away nothing from an individual or business, but offer benefits for the whole group. There is strength in numbers. Not only strength, but comfort, advice, a group of guaranteed cheerleaders, and an occasional shoulder to cry on.
While it may be surprising that freelance writers, a solitary and reclusive breed if ever there was one, would band together for the common good, it is also sensible.
Wordsmiths who find the process of selling their words intimidating figuratively link fingers with others through platforms like WriterAccess and face down the fear of facing the marketplace alone. Although technically in competition with one another for jobs, prevailing freelance writing rates offer fair value for customers as well as fair return for writers. Being part of a network provides a safety net of strength and support. It’s the warm, comfortable feeling of holding hands, sticking together, and watching out for traffic.
Multiple Benefits Accrue
Returning to simple concepts learned in childhood pays dividends in other ways. It’s not childish to respect your competition. Instead, it’s a particularly effective business strategy. It is also the essence of smart marketing. It makes sense to support a teammate because the whole team then has a better chance of winning. And, when you get in a bind, you don’t have to be afraid to ask for help or seek advice.
Sharing resources, experiences and helpful tips — even recommending a competitor on occasion — does not drive business away. Conversely, it has the effect of boosting your own bottom line. Customers trust “nice guys,” and being a good neighbor pays off. Almost always.
Two other important concepts learned in kindergarten: “Take a nap every afternoon,” and “Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.”
Adrienne C is a “closet philosopher” who tends to stockpile bits of paper with words and phrases she finds inspirational. She tries to organize her thoughts better for her clients, however, while following random paths of divergent interests through life.