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What to Look for in a Joint Venture Partner

Joint ventures are one of the fastest ways to build your list and your business.

But there is a lot of mystery and confusion surrounding joint ventures. What’s the difference between a joint venture and an affiliate? How do you do a joint venture? How do you find joint venture partners? Who would be a good joint venture partner for you?

Let’s start by understanding what we mean by a joint venture partner, and then we’ll look at what you should look for in a joint venture partner.

In the world of marketing your coaching, consulting or other service-based business, a joint venture partner is someone you collaborate with to build your list, sell your programs and expand your reach.

There are many different types of joint ventures you can pursue, such as expert interviews, telesummits, giveaway events, collaborative books, programs you co-create, etc. I can’t possibly get into all the detail about each of these types or how to do a joint venture here (but keep an eye out for future posts and let me know what questions you have below).

So let’s start by looking at what you should look for in a joint venture partner.

  • They are joint venture ready. This means they have a targeted and responsive list, an affiliate program, and valuable programs. They should also have some basic systems in place. What those systems should look like depends on the kind of joint venture you’re doing, but at a minimum, they should have high quality marketing material in place to help you easily promote their program.
  • Their solutions and programs are a good fit. They should serve the same target market but offer a complementary solution. There might be some overlap with what you offer, and that’s okay. You shine in your own part of your niche, and in your own unique way.
  • They value relationships. You can do a hit and run joint venture, but that’s a pretty short-sighted approach. I have joint venture partners who I’ve collaborated with for years. We talk outside of launches, we share our insights and advice with one another, and even share our programs.
  • They are willing to play the game. You want someone who is willing to step up and promote you. They’ll send multiple emails, promote you on social media, interview you, offer their own bonuses, etc.
  • You like them. I know this might sound silly, but I only want to joint venture with people I genuinely like. It’s about relationships but it’s also about authenticity and protecting your list. Now, I’m only speaking for myself personally here, but I can only promote someone if I like their work and I like them. Otherwise, my heart won’t be in it and I won’t do a good job, so I may as well not bother. It’s also important to me to protect my list. The people in my community have shown trust in me and I don’t want to blow that trust by promoting someone who does mediocre work or who is blatantly obnoxious.
What other features do you look for in a joint venture partner? What questions do you have about doing joint ventures? Please leave your questions and comments below – you have my promise to personally reply.
Thank you!

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy MacKay

Thanks Cindy! Great points and I totally agree with the last one. I certainly want to align and resonate with those who promote me, and who I promote. Working together in joint ventures can be a very positive way of promoting and advertising.
Wendy MacKay´s last blog post ..Is it self esteem or ego that allows me to feel I have value?

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Cindy Schulson

Thanks Wendy! Sometimes I wish I were better at it, but if I don’t gel with someone, I just can’t fake it. I might be limiting my opportunities a bit but the good news is that I really appreciate, like and respect all my clients and joint venture partners.

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Terri Zwierzynski

These are all great tips, Cindy! The most important one being relationships.

One question I got asked just this week is how to find and approach a JV partner. My advice was to start looking via social media (a perfect way to find people in the industry…by being friends/following people you already know, then look at who they are friends with/following, etc.) and start building relationships. IMHO JVs don’t happen unless there is some alignment of philosophy and approach, and a level of trust on par with the level of commitment involved.

What other advice would you have for how to approach someone for a JV?

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Cindy Schulson

Thanks so much Terri! And you are the queen of JV’s and connecting people.

Before I approach someone for a JV I make sure I get to know their work. I get on their list, maybe listen to one of their webinars, or even buy a program. That way, I’m confident that their work and approach are truly a good fit for my community. Then I approach them on social media and if all goes well, we bring it to the phone so we can really get to know one another.

Here’s an example of a Facebook Message I sent someone whose work I really admire. She has a very big list (I believe 40K+). This message led to a phone conversation and I am going to promote her and she is going to promote my program as well. (You’ll see I mentioned that I’m Canadian in my message, as she is Canadian as well. You can refer to a point of common interest if you like to make a stronger connection).

“I’ve been following your work for awhile and one of my clients is now taking your program. She has spoken very highly of your work. I would love to connect and learn more about how I can support what you do.

Let me quickly introduce myself. My name is Cindy Schulson and I’m the founder of Attract Your Niche. I work with coaches, consultants and other solopreneurs to help them discover their ideal niche, create a powerful message that is true to who they are, and earn more leveraged income.

Oh, and I’m a Canuck! I grew up in Montreal and now live in San Diego.

Thanks! I look forward to getting to know you and supporting you in what you do so well! “

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Terri Zwierzynski

Great intro message! And your advice about getting on their list and participating in a class is spot on (as you know I do that with any Certified Expert prospect!)

I didn’t know you were Canadian! Over half of my VA team is Canadian – including Kimberly although she now lives in sunny Arizona!

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Cindy Schulson

Thanks Terri! Yep, I’m a Canuck although I now live in the States. And I do love connecting with other Canadians online – it brings back a small piece of home:)

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Patricia

Hi Cindy,
What if you are just starting out, How can you connect with JV partners when you are just starting out?
Why would they want to work with someone who doesn’t have a list?
I am a holistic practioner but am in the process of transitioning to Health and Wellness Consultant. I have always helped people it is what I do but now I want to help more people at once. I am Canadian too nice to meet you!

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Cindy Schulson

Hi Patricia – thanks for stopping by (you know, I love connecting with other Canadians:)!

It’s a great question, and really deserves an entire blog post. I will have that up for you very soon, so please keep an eye out!

In the meantime, let me suggest that you do the following:

1. Brainstorm on a list of prospective joint venture partners (use the criteria I’ve outlined in this blog post).
2. Get to know them, e.g. get on their list, follow their blogs, follow them on social media, attend their webinars, etc. I’ll share more on how to approach them in a future blog post.
3. Work on getting yourself more appealing to joint venture partners. That means you need to start building your list. I’m not saying you can’t approach potential joint venture partners before you have a list. You can – and I’ll share some ideas with you in a future post. But you will be infinitely more attractive to joint venture partners when you have a list – so don’t put that off!

Be sure you’re building a targeted list Patricia. This means, you have to be clear on your niche, e.g. who you help, what solution you provide and why people should work with you. You also need to create a valuable giveaway that is a top burning challenge or desire for your target market.

I hope that helps – talk soon!

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Patricia

Hi Cindy,
Thank you, that is a great help. I have been using twitter for a while but not sure if it could be considered a list. I have a very interesting mix of followers. My Facebook is mostly other practioners who have liked my page. I know who my niche is, but need to figure out what solutions I have for them. I look foreward to reading more of your blogs.

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Cindy Schulson

Hi Patricia – thanks and I’m so glad that helped! There is a big difference between your social media connections and the people on your list. The people on your list have raised their hand to say – yes, I value your solution and want to learn more from you, and I even give you permission to market to me. So it is really important to identify that solution and then build a targeted list. Let me know if I can be of any help to you in moving forward with that. Just go to http://www.talkwithcindy.com. Thanks!

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Uma

Thanks Cindy for your generosity and wisdom!

My question was the same as Patricia’s so I guess that justifies a whole blog post…I’m sure many others are floundering for some answers as well. I have another question. Since we’re all like-minded folks and here to heal the planet with our unique gifts, wouldn’t someone with a huge following give a newbie (who brings authenticity and a good product to the table even if she doesn’t have a list) a leg-up?
I know I would do that if I trusted the person and felt that her work needed to get out there.

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Cindy Schulson

Hi Uma – yes, it does!

I absolutely think there are people who will help support others who have a great product and reputation even if they don’t have a big list. You’re so right that trust is an important part of the equation. You have to trust that person will deliver a great product, with great customer service, and know a thing or two about marketing as well. I’ve had people with way bigger lists than mine promote me, because I earned their trust. You can do the same!

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Line

Cindy,
I was approached by an MD on LinkedIn to become a joint venture partner. But, I am new to health coaching and don’t have a long list and no clients yet. How do I nurture a relationship until I have something to offer in the partnership?

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Cindy Schulson

Hi Line – thanks for your question. I love that you’re thinking long term and about nurturing the relationship. Think about what the MD’s goals are and how you can best support her. Does she have programs you can help promote to your community on social media? Would you like to interview her and promote the expert interview to your friends, colleagues and social media contacts? Suggest a phone conversation so you can get to know one another, and so you can learn more about her and how you can best support her. I hope that helps!

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Adela Rubio

Great points, Cindy. You know I’m passionate about ‘Juicy Joint Ventures.’ I partner with folks I luv, luv, luv. I’m not looking for a one night stand. I’m excited about long term relationships, just like you. I look to connect with folks who aren’t only a great match for me and my Tribe, but who also share a bigger vision around business and what’s possible and want to play together to create that.

I’ve trained hundreds of folks on how to get Juicy JV ready, find and connect with partners (and I’ve hosted more than 150+ JV’s). Here’s what I’ve discovered is the foundational piece that must be explored, in addition to the technical and marketing aspects of being JV ready: the Inner Game.

More often than not what holds businesses back from partnering are all the assumptions they have about it:

“They’re further along than me, why would they partner with me.”
“I’m not ready yet. I’ll wait till my new website is up.” etc.

If the idea of joint ventures induces a disempowering thought stream … ding, ding, ding … you’re in it.

Here’s another BIG mistake I see: outsourcing your JV Chat. Listen, it’s great to stock up on the cash with affiliates, but if you’re looking to create real relationships you need to connect. Plus, the synergy and genius that flows when you are connected with another hi-vibing business player is magical. You’ll come up with new ideas and models.

You are definitely one of my Juicy JV’s, Cindy! Love partnering and connecting with you, my friend.

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Cindy Schulson

You’re the best Adela! There are lots of people who teach about JV’s but you do it in the way I love best – from both the heart and mind. You focus on creating meaningful connections with people which I love!

By the way, you were one of the first JV partners I had a few years back. I asked you to do an Expert Interview and you said yes! You even let me capture the leads, which was very generous of you. And you introduced me to some other great people. I’m forever grateful!

Love you too Adela – talk soon!

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Patricia

Thanks for sharing that Adela! It gives me another perspective to think about.

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Adela Rubio

I love the ‘namaste’ greeting – hands together over the heart, slight bowing of acknowledgement.

“The divine in me, salutes the divine in you.”

That’s how I feel about you, Cindy, and how you create a powerful JV Nexxus.

Talk soon!
Adela Rubio´s last blog post ..4 Questions to Help You Get Sponsorships For Your Business

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CindyHaileyLippman

Thank you Adela!! This is what joint venturing is all about!

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Uma

I am setting an intention right here and right now to connect with the best JV partner for me…where we both take our message of service to the next level with the highest authenticity, love and desire to make a powerful difference.
Uma´s last blog post ..Grief is a lonely feeling

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Cindy Schulson

Good for you Uma! I’m so happy to hear that. And you don’t have to limit it to one JV partner. There are many possibilities! Congratulations – please keep us posted!

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Uma

Thanks, Cindy! Wonderful article. I am printing it out for reference. There are, at least, 2 ideas I can use right away…awesome!
Uma´s last blog post ..Grief is a lonely feeling

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Cindy Schulson

That’s wonderful Uma – thanks for sharing that! Please keep us posted as to how those ideas work for you and any questions you come up with along the way.

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