“No man is an island,” or so the saying goes. However, it often feels like that for freelancers. You’re all alone in the big bad world with no one to talk to and no one to help you. There’s a solution out there, though, and it can not only help you feel less alone, it can put more money in your bank account: Partnerships.
Most freelancers can only get so far on their own. To really achieve independence and financial security, many need the support of partnerships with other freelancers and businesses. Why is this sometimes the difference between success and failure? Here are the benefits of forming partnerships.
Partners can give you work.
Let’s say that a freelance writer has a solid partnership with a web designer. Who does the designer call when she needs someone to write the copy for her latest design? She calls that writer. And it works both ways, with the writer offering the services of the web designer to her writing clients when they need it. Having partners in other industries means that they can push work your way when it intersects with their skill set. An illustrator may need you to write their greeting card copy. A scientist may need you to distill their latest discovery into layman’s terms. Look around for people who need writers in their work, but who are not writers themselves. Those are your potential partners.
Easy growth through referrals.
Imagine if you had partners out there saying, “I don’t offer that service, but I know someone who does. Here’s her email.” Boom. You may have a new client and you didn’t have to do anything extra to earn it. Often, when someone is trusted by a client, their referrals are trusted as well. So when that trusted web designer offers your name up as a trusted source for writing work, that client is likely to choose you over others because you were referred by a trusted source. And as long as you don’t screw it up, that client is likely to come back to you in the future. This results in easy growth for you. You don’t have to spend time pitching and marketing to get these clients, just have solid partners and deliver on that shared trust.
Adding value for your clients.
On the flip side, how nice is it when you can say, “I don’t offer that service personally, but I do have some trusted partners I work with and together we can create something wonderful for you.” You avoid a client leaving to seek a turn-key solution. The more you can offer clients, the better value your little shop has to them. You can’t do everything, though, so find people who can and all of you can grow your businesses.
You broaden your own network.
When you have partners in your network, you get to tap into their networks, as well. So while you may only have twenty clients, if that marketing guru you know also has twenty clients and is willing to refer them to you for copywriting work, you have another potential twenty clients. You not only broaden your physical network, but you can broaden your social media network, as well. If you and your partners are giving each other shout-outs and mentions online, your social media following will grow, resulting in more potential clients.
You might see new opportunities.
When you see other professionals at work in different industries, you start to see other opportunities and things you can do better. You don’t want to steal their clients or step on their toes, but your partners can introduce you to avenues you might never explore on your own.
You have another professional to bounce ideas off of.
It’s helpful to get input from others, particularly on big projects. You might not do the same kinds of work, but you can always say, “Hey, do you think this is working, or should I try something else? Your partners will have a different perspective on your work and may be able to guide you to better things.
Freelancing can be a lonely gig at times. If you have other people you work with regularly, though, you have other people to talk to and commiserate with. You don’t want to call and waste their time with mindless chit chat, but you can always invite them out for drinks if they live locally, or trade some emails back and forth about your latest trials and tribulations.
A partnership doesn’t have to be a formal, legal agreement, and you don’t have to invite them to be a partner in your business. You can both keep your independence and still reap the benefits of collaboration.