We've said it before and we'll say it again: freelancing is on the up.
As of October 2022, figures suggest there's an estimated 4.3 million self-employed professionals in the UK alone, with millions more around the world choosing the freelancer route.
It's no big head-scratcher. Freelancing enables greater levels of flexibility, in the hours and location you work, and the projects you take on. It can enhance variety, creativity and autonomy. Not to mention the numerous financial benefits to owning your own workload.
Another new benefit to freelancing? Collaboration - on your terms.
Freelancer partnerships is an emerging trend to help professionals stay on top of market changes, develop in-demand skills, understand clients' needs and wants, or break into new industries. More and more freelancers are choosing to partner up to make the most of an active market and develop their value, and seeing fantastic results.
Here's why collaborating with other freelancers could be the key to boosting your pipeline.
5 benefits to collaborating with fellow freelancers
- Broaden your market reach and win new accounts. Accessing new opportunities you may not be able to alone is one of the central benefits to working in a freelancer collaboration. If your dream client is asking for skills or expertise you’re limited in (for now), bring someone in to complement the experience you do have. If you’re a more senior freelancer, find a professional who can take on admin and tactical tasks so that you have time to focus on complex, strategic work. It can help get you out of a slump, boost your market value, develop your experience and more.
- Expand the skillset and capabilities you offer clients. These days, businesses need ways to overcome increasingly complex challenges, and for many, hiring one or two freelancers to manage a project is a simple and cost-effective way of achieving goals. Freelancer collaboration exponentially increases skill- and information-share to create a valuable micro-team. You and your collaborator(s) can leverage this to pitch to new prospects, or upsell your current clients. Plus, it’ll boost your value as a solo professional, too.
- Grow your income. Partnering with another freelancer can significantly increase your capabilities - and your financial outlook. A shared workload, and complimentary specialisms give you and your collaborator the opportunity to work with larger clients, on bigger projects, to achieve great results. Plus, some businesses will pay more for convenience and reduced project management time.
- Boost your creative and strategic thinking. Without a team around you, it can be much more challenging to find fresh, creative ways of doing things, and build up your knowledge and strategic capabilities. Collaborating enables you to bounce new ideas off of a like-minded professional, revitalise your creativity, enhance how you work, and boost your day-to-day motivation.
- Combat the freelancer blues. There are many benefits of being a freelancer - but that's not to say it's all rosy, all the time. By partnering with other freelancers, you can help mitigate feelings of uncertainty and loneliness by sharing your unique viewpoint - and stressors - with others who'll understand. Fellow freelancers may also be able to give you tactical support, and vice versa, not to mention it can do wonders to revitalise creativity and motivation.
5 guidelines to getting started
- Identify your goal to find the perfect partner. If you have an objective in mind, understand what types of freelancers can help you achieve it. For example, if you’re looking to expand into an international market, it’s a good idea to work with a freelancer who already has a strong presence in that region. They can introduce you to prospective clients, coach you through region-specific considerations, support with cultural nuances and more.
- Different but complementary. For greatest impact, opt for a collaborator with adjacent skills to your own. Think: marketing and communications; content and web development; events and PR. This will increase your joint capabilities, market value, and make work segmentation simpler.
- Agree on the details. Before you partner on client work, have an honest discussion about the details: who will take on the admin? how will the client comms be managed? what are the fee splits? Secure those goalposts before you begin to set yourself up for success.
- Use The Work Crowd's platform. A lot of freelancers in our network use the platform for dual purposes: to find client work, and to find other freelancers to work with! If you have something in mind and could use additional support, the TWC platform is a great place to start.
- Collaboration doesn't have to mean client work. Partnering with other freelancers can come in all shapes and sizes. Guest blogging, webinar or podcast appearances, information- or skill-sharing - the world is your (and your collaborator's) oyster.
Time to expand your network?
As a freelancer, growing your network is one of your most valuable tactics, presenting you with opportunities that might otherwise have gone unseen. Including opportunities to collaborate with other self-employed professionals.
Simply put, collaboration can amplify your impact and your results. It can provide you with a unique window into alternative industries, sectors and specialisms, grow your market value and revenue stream, and importantly, establish a support system for your career and wellbeing.
If you're interested in partnering with like-minded freelancers, sign up to The Work Crowd today and connect with thousands of professionals through our platform or one of our events.