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Collaborating with other freelancers can be a big part of growing your business

As your freelance business continues to grow, you’ll find that you can take on progressively more elaborate projects.  You’ll also want to fine-tune your brand and your work to function at a higher capacity.  You’ll come to realize collaborating with other freelancers is an excellent solution. It’s hubris to assume that you can complete all of your business activities perfectly.  Perhaps there’s a primary service you’re offering that you’re confident in, but surely there are other segments that you’d be better off outsourcing? Many freelancers will continue to work with their clients directly, but they may take on a freelancer to manage a portion of their work or brand. Collaborating with other freelancers means bringing more skills to your arsenal, allowing for a higher value product or service for your client. 

It’s likely you’re used to being the designated freelancer in a partnership, so how can you ensure a fruitful collaboration with another freelancer? You’ll need to iron out some guidelines prior to bringing someone on.  

What Kind of Freelancer Are You Looking For? 

First, ask yourself: what kind of freelancer are you looking for? Zero in specifically on the scope of their select project and what their work will entail.  What sort of traits and experience does your collaborator need to successfully complete this project? Set a list of qualifications to aid in your search. 

If you’re entrenched in a freelancing network and you have friends who may be suitable for the work, take care. Just because you’d like to set them up with work doesn’t mean they’re right for the job, and it may put your work and your relationship in peril.  Take an objective look at them and ensure that they fit the necessary qualifications of the role.  If not, are you willing to compromise on aspects of the work? 

Consider What You’re Paying For

When you set a rate for your clients, you select a price that accurately reflects the quality of your services. The same goes for any freelancers you might take on.  While it may be tempting to reduce costs and select whichever person provides the cheapest service, keep in mind that the quality of their work may be cheap too. It may manifest itself in either unprofessional work that is unpresentable to your clients or a lack of professionalism in your interactions.  Don’t cut corners; select your candidate by reviewing portfolios and looking for proven background experience in the skill you’re sourcing. 

Setting Expectations 

Once you’ve selected your new partner, you want to color your collaboration with as much detail as possible.  Your project proposal for them should set realistic expectations of the work they’ll be tasked with, with measurable and defined activities. By including details like the number of outputs expected per week, or the platform they’ll be expected to use, your freelancer will have a better understanding of if they are the right fit for the job. 

You’ll also want to embrace the clarity of contracts.  Contracts set parameters for your working relationship and will cover important details like the timeline of your partnership or payment.  They safeguard your business, as well as the business of your freelancer, and it sets up an outline of respect.  Throwing someone $50 on Venmo lacks stability and authority, and there are few protections in place for either party. Having a contract for both of you to refer back to reduces opacity and ensures that you’re on the same page moving forward. You can read more about generating freelance contracts here

Open Communications 

Setting expectations shouldn’t just focus on the minutiae of the work itself.  It should also indicate ways to minimize conflict moving forward.  If you have certain expectations of communication or interpersonal behavior, give your freelancer the tools for success.  Don’t just wait for them to blunder into a misstep, as that will darken your working relationship and distract from the task at hand. By setting boundaries for a healthy relationship off the bat, you’ll enable them to work with you in the future. 

Collaboration Tools

When you’re working remotely with a partner on a project, using collaboration tools is key. These might include project management tools like Trello, or communication tools like Slack, and Evernote. You’ll be able to monitor progress in real-time and reduce unnecessary concern.

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