The Pros and Cons of a Freelancing Partnership
Posted February 1, 2012 in Business
Freelancers usually operate solo, but sometimes it’s a good idea for us to enter into partnerships.
As a one-person team, there are only so many clients you can serve, and so many skills you can deliver. A partnership can be a good way to expand your freelancing business.
However, as in all things, freelancing partnerships have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re considering partnering with another freelancer, read this post to see if you really know what you’re getting into.
Provide more comprehensive services
Sometimes it makes sense to partner with another freelancer, so you can give clients a complete package of services. For example, as a copywriter, a logical partnership for me would be with a web designer. That way, I can provide a total website package to my clients.
Another advantage of partnering with other freelancers is the ability to take on a larger volume of work. This works whether you partner with a freelancer whose skills complement your own (as in my previous example of copywriter + designer), and it also works if you partner with a freelancer with similar skills.
In my case, I could partner with blog writers, email marketers, and other types of copywriters. We can divvy up tasks and accept more clients than I could ever do by myself.
- More effective prospecting
When you partner with another freelancer, you’re effectively tapping into your partner’s network and promotional efforts. It’s like having another person doing the prospecting for you, and vice versa. This synergy is more powerful than simply adding up what each of you could accomplish individually.
- Tap another freelancer’s expertise, experience, wisdom
A partnership benefits from the knowledge and wisdom of each party. You’ll have a wider pool or expertise and experience to tap into. Decisions are made from two different perspectives, which may lead to better management and results.
Partnering can relieve much of the loneliness of freelancing. You and your partner will have each other to provide support and encouragement. You’ll have someone to share successes and failures with. This can make freelancing more satisfying and less stressful.
Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. While freelancing partnerships have their advantages, they can be difficult as well.
- Finding the right people to partner with
The biggest challenge in a freelancing partnership is making sure you’ve picked the right partner. Aside from ensuring you complement each other’s skills, you also need to consider your working styles, ethics, communication skills, and other aspects. Because you’ll be working closely together, even the smallest annoyances can snowball into big issues later on.
When you work with a partner, you have to be willing to sacrifice a little control. You need to trust that your partner will deliver their end of the deal. This can be very difficult to do, especially when your own reputation is on the line.
- Increased logistical requirements
Partnerships require effective communication to work. This could include collaboration software, clear work processes, a means to track projects.
- Longer, more complicated decision-making
With two or more people involved, decision-making will take more time. More points of view and opinions will have to be considered. Disagreements will arise. Compromises will have to be made.
Here’s the bottom line: You and your partner have to get along. This means both of you need to be flexible, communicate well, and trust each other. This is also why partnering with the right person is of utmost importance. Not only must you work together, but you have to get along well, too.
Partnerships: Yes or No?
When the right people come together, set clear expectations and have effective work processes, freelancing partnerships can work.
What do you think? Would you ever partner with another freelancer to expand the reach and scope of your work? What would push or pull you from such an arrangement?
Have you ever partnered with another freelancer before? What was that like? What lessons did you learn from the experience?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image by buddawiggi
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