9/22 Update: This project is now live at BuyMyFuture.com

Let’s Talk About Partnerships

This is a topic I’ve been eluding to for a few weeks now. It’s one that has a ton of moving parts, so I’m going to do my best to share as much as possible with where things stand with Project Galaxy right now.

I believe that relationships are the key to almost all success I’ve had in entrepreneurship up until this point.

It truly is who you know, not what you know. And I don’t mean relationships with influential people or anything like that, I just mean relationships in general: word of mouth and such.

Partners not affiliates

Let’s call a spade a spade. Partners for Project Galaxy are bonafide affiliates. They are [awesome] people who are going to help promote Project Galaxy and get compensated if someone buys through their specific affiliate URL. I’m not the first to use this technique and certainly won’t be the last.

However, I hate the term affiliates.

It feels scummy. It feels sleazy. It feels downright shady to me. Which is why I’m calling the folks who will be helping promote Project Galaxy (and receiving compensation for that help) partners.

Plus, the partners for Project Galaxy are more than just additional transactions. They are friends. They are people I’ve met in person. They are people I’ve worked with in one way or another. And my list of partners is not very big. It’s also not based on any specific criteria, follower numbers, business experience, etc.

Choosing partners and initial outreach

People are busy. It’s just the truth. So when I made the decision that I wanted to have partners, I knew I had to give these folks plenty of notice.

So I made a Google Spreadsheet. I listed out the names of about 50 people who I thought might be interested. The majority of them were people I knew. I did jot down the names of a few folks that I didn’t know, but had friends who knew those folks well (folks who I knew had done partnership stuff in the past).

Then I started my email outreach. Two months in advance. The initial emails to these partners included a few key things:

  1. Some sort of context, so they knew I wasn’t mass emailing people
  2. The Project Galaxy idea itself, with a note to keep it a secret (this would make them feel like they were on the “inside”)
  3. A note that I was looking for partners, but that I was hand-picking them, and didn’t have much more information to offer at that time (all true things)
  4. A followup.cc reminder (1 week) in the Bcc field of the email (something that is crucial for things like this)

Of the 20 people I sent initial emails to in the first few days, only about 10 people wrote back. I chose to email just 20 people to learn how they responded to my “pitch” email so I could tweak it going forward. Some said they were interested. Some said they weren’t. Some wanted more information. I updated my Google Spreadsheet accordingly (removing people who weren’t interested). About a week later I received follow up reminders in my inbox, and sent friendly follow up emails.

After about a week and a half, I had heard back from all 20 initial people (again, these are people I know and have emailed before, so 100% response was expected). Over the course of the next few weeks, I emailed the remainder of the people on my list, hitting all 50 people with Project Galaxy.

16 is the total number of partners that will be working with me on Project Galaxy. A handful of friends weren’t interested. Some didn’t think it was a good fit for their audiences. Others had timing conflicts. Yadda Yadda.

One of my favorite responses from a partner: “Umm, f*&k yeah I’m in!!!”

Could I have gotten more partners on board? Sure. But do I feel good about the people who are on board, what they have to offer, and how we can work together on this project? Yes times a million. 16 is good enough for me.

Moving forward with partners

A good chunk of my day today (as of writing this entry) will be spent coordinating details with partners.

With some of them I want to schedule live webinars. Which, in reality, will be more live Q&A sessions and chatting with their audience than teaching a specific thing. With others, I’ll simply be providing them a partner URL that can be tracked (via Gumroad) and they’ll be creating a unique offer just for their audiences. And others I’m not quite sure about yet. Again, I’m writing this entry real-time, so there are lots of proverbial balls still up in the air. 16 people may not seem like a ton of people, but it’s a lot to juggle when each interaction is completely different and unique to that person and their already-busy schedule.

One thing I do know about these partners is that I care greatly about the experience they’ll have with me and with this project. I don’t want this to feel like they are just sending a link to their audience and calling it a day. I want them to be invested and I want to make sure there’s a ton of value in it for them and their people.

I don’t take any offense to the friends who said “no” about being partners. You’re never going to hear “yes” 100% of the time. Again, I trust this idea, I believe in it, and I won’t let the feedback and non-participation of a few people sway me.

(Even if it did hurt my feelings a very small amount — hey, just bein’ honest.)

If there’s anything else you want me to add about Project Galaxy partners, feel free to leave a note or response here on Medium. I’d be happy to elaborate where possible.

Day 34 >>

This entry is part of a 60-day journal I’m writing that will share all my planning, strategies, pre-launch efforts, and marketing tactics leading up to a big crazy project codenamed Project Galaxy. Start reading here.