By Emma Cossey
One of the things that I’ve always found really wonderful about freelancing, is how everyone generally embraces working together. We love to collaborate, refer and build each other up. We raise each other up, not compete with each other.
Working as a freelancer or business owner doesn’t mean that you always have to be on your own, and collaborating with others (whether it’s other freelancers or business owners) can make the whole process so much more enjoyable. Hell, it can even make it more profitable!
So, how can you collaborate more with other freelancers or business owners?
Note from Katie…wait, why the lack of pictures? In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of my web presence, I am only using images at the very top of my posts, as well as where they serve a true purpose, such as headshots or infographics. That’s why you won’t find any purely decorative photos here anymore.
1. Get together to pitch on projects
Imagine if a client was looking to totally rebrand their business. They would be looking for a new website, some new social media graphics or a logo, and maybe a photoshoot as well. If you can collaborate with other freelancers to fill the skills gap that you don’t have, then you can offer a really incredible offer to potential clients – a one-stop shop! Hairdressers and make-up artists do this well for weddings. I would always recommend finding other freelancers and small businesses that offer services that complement your own.
2. Share each other’s audiences
This is exactly what Katie and I are doing – we’ve both written a blog post for each other’s audiences! (Here’s the one Katie wrote for me about transitioning from corporate to freelance life).
You can do a guest expert slot in their Facebook group, be a guest on their podcast, or do an Instagram Stories takeover. There are so many ways that you can give their audience value, and hopefully bring in a new client or sale for you too.
One of the most simple ways to collaborate with others is co-working! It’s essentially a meet-up (virtually or in-person) where you work on your own stuff.
I absolutely love doing this in person, not because I get so much work done (in person, I don’t, too much chat!), but because I have the loveliest discussions with other freelancers and small business owners who get what it’s like to be self-employed. And often from those conversations, new ideas come or you get the accountability to actually put things into action.
Also, from an ADHD point of view, I find the body doubling element of co-working is really helpful. Dopamine heaven.
4. Skills swaps
Another way you can collaborate with other freelancers is by doing a skill swap. If you’re a graphic designer, you might offer a swap with a copywriter, where you create some new graphics for them and they help you with your About page.
I would offer a word of warning on this front – make it very clear what both of your expectations are and what is involved. Especially to make sure the value is the same, and the timeframe is very clear. Nobody wants a bad frient (friend client).
5. Bundles and summits
2022 has been the year of bundles and summits. If you haven’t come across them yet (damn, you must have a zen inbox!), here’s how they both work:
- Bundles are where a group of business owners offer a course or training or product for free, either as part of a paid or free bundle. The contributors benefit from having their product in front of a much bigger audience, and potentially get affiliate income from the sale of paid bundles.
- Summits work in a similar way, but you contribute a talk or training, either live or pre-recorded. Same benefits as the bundle, but you also get more of an opportunity to build a relationship with the audience, especially if it’s live.
These are a great way to get your product or service in front of lots of different audiences. Having done a few of these this year, I would say they’re definitely worthwhile doing but be picky with which ones. Check with the organiser what their process is. I was in a couple of bundles where they said yes to everyone who submitted, and it led to a lot of duplicate courses and trainings.
Do you collaborate with other small business owners?
About the author
Emma Cossey is a coach for freelancers, with over 12 years of freelancing experience under her belt. She’s neurodivergent (ADHD) and an introvert, so she loves to make freelancing as accessible, easy and simple as possible. She lives in Bracknell with her husband Pete and their son Oscar. She’s a huge fan of tech, apps and automations to make life easier, faster and more fun. She also loves a gif.
You can find Emma on Instagram (@Emmacossey) or in her free Facebook group, The Freelance Lifestylers. You can also listen to her on her podcast (The Freelancer’s Teabreak) and check out her services through her website, The Freelance Lifestyle.