The Pros and Cons of a Freelancing Partnership

Pros and Cons of Freelancing PartnershipsFreelancers 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.

The Pros

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.

  • Accept more projects

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.

  • Be part of a team

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.

The Cons

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.

  • Losing control

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.

  • Flexibility required

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

Comments

  1. says

    Cheers for the article Lexi – all great points!

    I ended up deciding to partner with another freelancer mainly in order to provide my clients with another level of service and a better final product. I try to make the partnership very transparent for the client and have a post explaining why I choose them as my partner and how we all will benefit from the relationship. The main factors in choosing a partner were ease of communication, pricing, and most of all – expertise. We had some chats and some quick “test” projects before finalizing the deal as I would have a problem ‘loosing control’ to someone I didn’t trust. Now, I simply charge my clients a bit more while I maintain all communication and finances with the partner. So far the partnership has been a nice asset to offer and I would consider similar arrangements in a few other areas.

    I suppose with freelancing though, the lines between being a Partner, Sub-Contractor, or simply a Referral can a bit blurred; but, ultimately adding some sort of collaboration into the mix can be rewarding.

  2. says

    If I have too much to take on, I use subcontractors, otherwise I like to deal with clients and deliver the creative work myself. I would never enter a partnership simply because there are too many things that can go wrong and the time and energy wasted managing a partnership can go into production if I do it alone.

  3. says

    I almost lost one of my biggest client because of my partner and his programmer. The partner went over his estimated price twice without alerting me or the client. The second phase of the project, we kept very strict track of costs and he assured me all along they were on track. At the end, he padded his bill by $200; he threatened me when the client and I refused to pay him, so the client paid just to shut him up. This fall, the now ex-partner renewed all of the client’s hosting agreements without consulting him first and sent him an invoice out of the blue. Nothing like spending a client’s money without their consent!

    Fortunately, I have not lost this client. But beware: even when you think you have everything spelled out clearly, some people can still find loopholes. This incident showed me that I need a written subcontractor agreement — and now I have one.

    On the positive side, I just partnered with the executive director of a group to write a federal grant for them. He was awesome to work with — knew all the budget/research/data terms and where to find the numbers. I hope we get the grant so we can keep working together!

  4. says

    We’re a small operation and we often collaborate with photographers, 3D visualizers and even interior designers for various projects and discussions. No point over stretching trying to do it ourselves when clearly we’re better off working with the pros and producing work of higher quality. We find that networking wise, its great and it allows us to offer a broader range of services without compromising our time and service.

  5. says

    Working with partners definitely has it’s benefits and the biggest one for me is the fact you’ve always got that bit of extra support when you are unable to complete a project on a time.

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  1. [...] 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 Direct Link [...]

  2. [...] The Pros and Cons of a Freelancing Partnership – 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. [...]

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