How to Share the Financial Pie
Over the years I have experienced my own frustrations and misunderstandings in joint ventures (I learned from every one of them), and I have coached many practitioners through similar frustrations as well as helped set them up for success in order to avoid those frustrations and misunderstandings in the first place!
In this A little bit o’ Biz Wiz… I’m going to share some ‘best practices’ for partnering with other practitioners as well as a simple formula for equitable financial-pie sharing. Because when everyone is on the same page, it can be so wonderful to work in partnership with others and we all love pie!
A Little Bit O’ Biz Wiz…
PARTNERING WITH HUMANS
There are many, many reasons to partner with others when delivering your in-person (and online) programs or workshops. When two or more creative, passionate, practitioners come together the sparks of potential start to fly and sweep us up in all the possibilities for fun and exciting workshops.
I LOVE co-facilitating with other practitioners when we are in alignment with a common goal for our clients, our horses and each other. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, instead of listing all the heartbreaking, disappointing, infuriating things that can (and do) go wrong, I’d like to focus on how to set up the partnership for success and harmonious communication right from the start!
There are as many ways to structure an agreement as there are personalities and opinions in the world. You may already be partnering with others very successfully. If so, I’d love to hear about how you set up your agreements!
For the rest of us, let’s look at how to best prepare for a partnership (temporary or long term), a couple of scenarios for collaboration and then I’ll offer a formula that works especially well for one-off workshops or occasional partner-delivered programs.
Preparing for Partnership
Sometimes partnerships form spontaneously out of a brainstorming session where two great hearts and minds merge for a common goal. It’s like a romantic dance of ideas and ideals celebrating their mutual brilliance and potential. Everything feels possible.
The potential pitfall is that the mutual admiration prevents someone from stepping up as lead mare and actually setting the direction for the project.
When someone tells me about a new endeavor like this I always ask them, “Who’s flying this plane? Almost always, the first response is a bit like a deer caught in headlights. Then a tentative, “Well, we’re both flying the plane.”
So, here’s the reality, you can have a pilot and a co-pilot, and you can even take turns, but you cannot both be in control of the actual ‘flying’ at the same time.
Every successful project has a ‘lead’ person that can synthesize the input from the other genius team members and keep the ‘plane’ on course.
→ Decide who is going to take the lead on a specific project and if you are creating something more long term, have a very clear agreement on how decisions will be finalized and implemented.
→ Determine your roles and responsibilities for the project based on your expertise and bandwidth (you may need to hire someone for tech or social media support).
→ Content and Deliverables - whose content is being presented or what percentage of your content versus your partner’s content makes up the program? Who is delivering the program elements (again, what percentage)?
→ Consider ALL expenses including the facility - whether you are renting someone else’s facility or working from yours or your partner’s facility, there should be a facility fee that includes the horses (and maybe a handler). Other expenses may be…
- Webpage for program enrollment
- Social media posts and/or advertising
- Enrollment bank fees for processing payment (Paypal, Stripe, Square, etc.)
- Facility fee
- Food and water (plates, cups, etc.)
- Tent and/or porta-john, chairs and/or tables (depending on the facility)
- Materials (hand-outs, pens, journals, etc)
- Swag bag or participant gift (optional)
- Miscellaneous: sunscreen, bug spray, toilet paper, tissues, etc.)
Once you know the above you can decide how to share the remainder of the financial-pie.
The (rare) 50%-50% Split
I emphasized ‘rare’ because it’s almost never really that equitable and usually where I see the most misunderstandings and resentments occur. These partnerships often occur after a spontaneous brainstorming encounter like the one mentioned above and the partners are unprepared for the realities of actually producing a profitable event.
The Flat-Rate Payment
This is a great option when you’ve booked a client and want to hire additional facilitators or expertise for delivering the client’s expected results. In this scenario, you already know the income and projected expenses and can offer compensation accordingly.
Offering someone a flat rate for their service is not a good idea if you hire them before you book your client or workshop participants. If you promise someone $1000 for their skills and facilitation (especially if they help with any of the design or content) and you only book 2 participants at $500/each you still owe that facilitator $1000. Then you are in the hole for all the additional expenses plus your time. Ugh.
Get Your Pie and Eat It Too!
Years ago I learned a simple formula from a great business coach who hosted and collaborated on multiple in-person events a year and taught others to do the same. Her name is Andrea Lee and she called it the 30-30-30-10 formula. (I have no idea where she learned it). I’ve used it numerous times over the years and share it with my clients as well.
This is the basic principle for dividing the financial pie after expenses:
30% for Content
30% for Deliverables
30% for Marketing
10% for Admin
In the interest of space, I offer a downloadable PDF for an illustrated example of the payout formula. → Click Here ← to get it for future reference!
Communication is Key
As long as everyone involved communicates openly and honestly about roles and responsibilities, expectations and the realities of baking a successful partnership pie, you will have many fun and effective collaborations for the duration of your career. It all comes down to clear boundaries while dancing in the possibilities! Because, let’s face it, sometimes it takes more than one brain to create an awesome program or workshop.
To Your Horse & Soul Success,
My mission is to empower and educate equine-inspired practitioners in the art of profitable program design and marketing. My dream-come-true is to see equine-assisted personal and professional development be recognized and celebrated for the unique transformational modality that it is, and to become as popular as yoga and Starbucks!