When is a collaboration a good one? I’ve been in this game for a long time with many people coming to me with ideas wanting me to make a web site for free for a percentage of the profits. I learned the hard way that mostly such web sites make absolutely no money because either the idea wasn’t an original one or the person with the idea didn’t have the time and marketing resources to make the actual business part of it work.
A person sees ebay and thinks building an ebay clone type of site is going to be the biggest thing since the original. No it won’t as building an actual web site that functions as an auction is only a small part of running a successful business. If you don’t have the time or budget to advertise, build a brand on and off line then like any business it will fail to make sufficient funds.
Collaborations are good when both parties are not primarily motivated by financial success but instead there’s a fun aspect to it. I would not go into anything where I can see I will make a loss however and nor would any sensible partner. Collaborations need to make sense and to have a realistic chance of success. Copying the ideas of other existing web sites rarely works. Many have tried to do another eBay, all have failed – it’s all down to budget.
A perfect collaboration is one with another that has skills to bring to the table or is an existing strong brand. Trust is a very important factor as well as work ethic and loyalty. I myself always look favorably on those who are creative spirits who have additional skills that I don’t have. A positive energy is needed, a person that can kick ass as well as praise where necessary.
Any project worth doing is never easy whether working in a collaboration or not and should always be considered in what level of success you are looking for and whether that is realistically achievable within the allocated budget and available time of all parties. My number one rule is to never place all my eggs in one basket, spreading risk as after all a man has to eat and has bills to pay.