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More Fun. More Clients. The Benefits of Collaboration.

You’ve heard over and over again (in my blog posts and from those featured in the Freelancer Spotlight) the importance of making connections online and getting to know fellow freelancers.

But you still may be wondering why, exactly, this can be good for your business. There are so many reasons, one of which I want to cover in detail today.

The quick and dirty list of benefits to connecting with other freelancers:

  • It helps with those lonely days working from home.
  • It helps you get your name out and be seen by more people.
  • It opens you up to potential referrals from your colleagues or people outside of your industry. More referrals. More money in the bank.
  • It helps inspire you to do bigger and better things by seeing what others are accomplishing.
  • You’ll have more people supporting you and sharing your work/blog posts/other stuff.

But today I want to talk about one benefit in particular…

Creating Partnerships & Collaborations

I had so much fun going through the responses from my recent FTFP survey, and I was surprised to see that a lot of freelancers are looking for partners to stop doing the parts of their work they don’t like as much. A lot of responses were also about needing new ways to bring in new clients.

Both of these issues can be easily solved through creating partnerships or collaboration.

Let’s talk details.

Collaborations To Offer More To Your Clients Without Having To Do It All

A lot of potential customers like the idea of a one-stop shop. They may not know the difference between a web designer, developer, copywriter and online marketer. When they land on a site offering website packages- they may be thinking that it will all be included. Or, they understand it’s four different specialties, but they would certainly be more inclined to purchase if they could get it all done in one place.

Yet, you don’t want to be an agency. You may be just starting out and you don’t even know what that means, really. Plus, you like working for yourself, by yourself, and the only addition you would consider adding would be a virtual assistant.

I know a lot of people that are great with code and not so great with design. Or visa versa. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t do just one or the other. This is an ideal place for collaborations to happen.

Reach out to some designers and ask them if they’d be interested in doing the design portion of your projects. There are tons of freelancers who only do one or the other and are known to collaborate ( Sarah Lewis of WP Moxie is a great example of someone to connect with if you want to offer web & graphic design services, but don’t want to code).

If you’re in another industry- take some time to think about what you don’t like doing in your business, where a collaboration may be helpful.

Adding Things To Your Packages From Other Freelancers

Being able to add more value to your packages by bringing on other freelancers, could make a huge difference in why a potential client chooses you over someone else.

A great example of this is Ellen Ercolini, Money Making Expert Biz Coach . She offers a Signature Services Package where she does the strategy work and also offers 2 copy written pages as part of her package, for which she brings on her favorite copywriter (another freelancer) to provide.

Benefits of these kinds of collaboration:

  • Allow you to offer your clients more of a one-stop shop kinda feeling, while keeping your business nice and small.
  • Allows you to create more complete packages.
  • Makes you look a little more professional, because you’ve got partners, yo. Lawyers get to have partners (and it’s apparently a big deal), and we can too.
  • More opportunity for work because potential clients will be coming to you from both your efforts and your “partners”.
  • Allows you to focus on what you do best, and what you like doing the most.

Collaborations for More Clients & Referrals

Think about what services are closely linked to the ones you provide, and start connecting with freelancers who offer those services.

If you are a copywriter, reach out to some web designers or VAs or ebook creators and see if there is some kind of collaboration you can put into place.

Their clients likely need your service, and visa versa. It’s just referral business when it comes down to it. But it is much better for you both, as well as your clients, to find someone you can trust to constantly refer to. Obviously when you’re reaching out- you want to create a real connection first. (Read more on how to create real online connections here)

Collaborations To Create Ebooks or Courses

I’ve been wanting to write an ebook or create a big course for quite some time….but I just kept putting it off. Then, a friend, coach and colleague of mine (that I’ve never met in person by the way, only online) mentioned to me this great idea she had and was wondering if it was something I’d be interested in. Duh!

What a great way to get my ass into gear and actually get something out into the world, instead of just sitting in procrastination doubt land.

Do you have an idea for a new project, service, course, etc, that you just haven’t gotten around to starting? Maybe it could be something great for a collaboration.

Besides procrastination, there are quite a few other benefits to collaborating on this kind of project:

  • Your project will get a lot more visibility, being exposed to both your partner and your audiences.
  • YOU will be more exposed to another audience (theirs). New audience, new followers, new potential clients.
  • More motivation to actually get it done. When you have someone else counting on you, you are much more likely to get to work! Accountability. I’m tellin’ you, it works.
  • Less self-doubt and confusion. Two minds working together is a great way to put the best work out there. Brainstorming is a lot less stressful when you have someone else’s input.
  • It’s just simply way more fun to work on something with someone else than it is by yourself. Or maybe it’s just me that’s actually missing that part of corporate life, but I have a suspicion most freelancers do.

So there you have it, some ways for you to start considering collaborations as part of your freelance business model. I’m so excited for this year ahead, because of the collaborations I’m starting to put in place. So why not give it a try?

I’d love to know, in what areas would you like to collaborate? Let me know in the comments and maybe there is someone else reading this that could be a perfect match!

-Leah

 

Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • I love this for obvious reasons. 🙂 And also because it’s a fantastic post.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yes! So excited, and I mean it 🙂

  • This is very interesting and I agree that it’s a fantastic way to get new clients and referrals but you don’t mention how you handle the icky part about money and pricing with a collaborator. Do you implement contracts? Is it wise to work with a friend?
    I know it’s a case by case basis but if you could in an unpcoming post talk a bit about the actual nitty gritty of making a collaboration go smoothly. It would be a topic that maybe interests other people?
    I’m the “I code but don’t design” club so I am very interested in partnering with designers who are in the opposite camp!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh yes, great topic Luisa- I just didn’t want to get too long and drawn out in this one. But I do see how it is definitely a beneficial thing to talk about so I will definitely cover that soon!

  • Great topic Leah! I typically code and design my own custom work – but more and more I’m working on larger projects where I bring together a bigger team of developers, photographers, videographers, etc. When I write the project estimate, I do the quote for my part and have the other collaborate add in their quote into the proposal. However, we have separate contracts and payment schedules set up with the client. Yes you can work with friends – but you need to establish pricing, protocol and boundaries at the outset of the project (and you may just realize that you don’t like how that friend operates – OR you may discover that your friend is a great fit).

    If someone just needs a straight-up referral, I have a list of preferred vendors that I like to work with – we keep everything separate.

    In the past when I’ve worked as subcontractor, I’ll sign a contract with that vendor and they pay me directly (typically those are 100k+ projects where everything is managed in-house by that agency). This is an ideal situation for many designers or developers (especially if you have an established relationship) – since you don’t have to find the clients, negotiate or write contracts – you just show up and do the work!)

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oooh- great insight Michelle! Thanks so much for sharing.

  • I’ve actually already thought about this.
    I’m a writer and I’d love to work with designers to create a content + look package.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Yes- I know clients would love that! Definitely start connecting with and reaching out to designers and I’m sure they’d love the chance to jump in on that!

  • Great post Leah, and the topic is super relevant for where I am in my business. I’ve been doing design (print and web) for years quite comfortably, but since doing b-school I have tripled my biz, I am more ambitious to grow my client base — this means I need to hire out; coding (psd to wp), copywriting, etc.

    I’ve tried a couple of collaborations, but I’ve found it hard to come by the right people (price/quality/speed, etc.) … so networking with other freelancers is key. Again, great post!
    Ciao,
    Rob

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      First of all Rob- congrats on such great success this year! That is another great reason I didn’t mention to collaborate- when you simply are growing too fast! Yes- I think making good solid connections with people you know and respect is definitely key to finding the right collaborations.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience/needs!

  • Thank you so much for the shout out! You make SO many good points in here Leah, especially about the clients liking the ‘one stop shop’ approach 🙂 I actually offer PR services to my clients as well, so they get 3 amazing services for the price of one.

    I also love collaborating with these ladies, bouncing ideas off them, and generally feeling like it’s not *just* me.

    For all you freelancers out there, start reaching out and making friends, you never know what business ideas will bloom 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Ah I didn’t realize that you offered PR as well Ellen. That’s great. I’m sure your clients love it! And yes, not feeling like it’s just “me” is another great reason to collaborate. Thanks for commenting and giving us some advice!

  • Awesome post Leah! I’m a brand strategist/ designer and I’d love to collaborate with coders/writers 🙂

  • Amy Chick

    Leah, you are totally in my head with this post! I’m a copywriter and love what I do, but it’s so much fun to collaborate on projects and something I definitely miss. It would be great to be able to go that extra mile for my clients!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      You’re going to love a guest I have coming this week to help out with how to actually do this!

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