It's a new year — time for a fresh start. Welcome to our 15-day series on how to fall (back) in love with your blog. The series is all about stepping back, re-evaluating things and making sure you're still connecting with your blog. Here's what you won't find in this series: articles on analytics, plug-ins, sponsored content, ad networks and the like. What you will find is tips and strategies to stay inspired, motivated and pushing your own boundaries, all while loving what you do.

Fall in Love With Blogging Day 14: Collaborate | Food Bloggers of Canada

Blogging has the potential to be a very isolating hobby or profession. It's so easy to get comfortable behind your laptop screen, in your yoga pants with just the dog or cat for company. If you're still struggling to build a community, it can be even more isolating when you're not sure if anyone out there is even reading.

When I left my corporate job to become a freelancer, the biggest adjustment for me wasn't being self-motivated and getting work done, like it is for so many. The biggest challenge was missing colleagues to bounce ideas or problems off of, and it was something I hadn't even thought of while I was saving an emergency fund and building a client base before striking out on my own.

I just missed people to talk to. And I'm an introvert! If you're an extrovert, being all alone in your house all day could be almost crippling!

And that's why one of my absolute favourite ways to grow as a creative entrepreneur and stay inspired is to collaborate.

Passion Is Contagious!

If you've ever been in a rut, one of the best things you can do is sit down for a cup of coffee with somebody who's really passionate about what they do.  Let them talk about themselves — hearing or seeing the genuine spark and excitement in their voice and in their gestures is infectious.

Now imagine if you team up with somebody who loves the same things that you do ... that passion and excitement can start running rampant until it's epidemic. When you start brainstorming a project with a partner, it doesn't take long before the ideas start flowing and before you know it, you'll probably have three or four really solid potential projects to consider.

Collaboration Do's and Don'ts

All that excitement, inspiration and creativity can be great but ... ideas don't amount to much until you turn them into actions. Here are a few things to consider before you do collaborate.

DO Choose Your Partnerships Wisely

Collaboration is a partnership. Before entering into one make sure it's with somebody who complements you well. It works best when you have similar work ethics and values, and when you each bring different strengths to the project. And, you want to make sure it's somebody you get along with!

Some people are perfect for one particular project, others may prove to be great collaborative partners for multiple projects over the span of years, or even decades. Don't put any more pressure on yourselves other than the project that's right in front of you right now. See how the first one goes before thinking ahead to the next!

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If the partnership has the potential to earn income for you both, make sure you have some type of contract in place outlining how the income will be shared, how expenses will be split and what happens if one of you can't see the project through (does the other party have the opportunity to carry it to fruition on their own or with another partner?).

DO Make a Plan

The idea is great but you need a plan to execute it. Make sure you know who's responsible for which pieces and have deadlines for each of you. Honour those deadlines and make them a priority. If you can't fit a project into your schedule then put it on hold until you can.

DON'T Be Afraid to Deviate

One of the best parts of collaborating is the creative ideas that get generated. If you come up with multiple ideas, write them all down somewhere. Choose the project that works best for where you both are right now in terms of available time and funds. Pick a smaller project if you have a limited time to commit and file the bigger ones away for next time.

But, all creative projects tend to evolve as you work through them. Don't be afraid to adapt your plan if a new idea or a twist on your original idea presents itself as you start working — sometimes very pleasant surprises present themselves. Don't shut them out because they're not part of the original plan.

A creative collaboration can be a huge benefit for all involved. With the right partner or team it can be motivating, fun and creatively fulfilling. It's a great way to work with other people and push your boundaries, enabling you to do more ambitious projects that might otherwise have been out of reach for you.

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