The average solopreneur commonly experiences this same phenomenon: so much to do, in such a limited amount of time. How should one deal with this? The answer is simple: collaborate instead of competing. Don’t look at other solopreneurs as your rivals, but as your teammates and teachers. By collaborating with other freelancers, both sides can benefit from learning from each other’s mistakes and successes. These unique tactics can then be implemented into your own practices. But as a solopreneur (keyword: solo) how does one suddenly transition into working as a team? Here are some ideas to promote productivity and ensure smooth sailing when collaborating with other freelancers.
Communication is key in any collaboration. To effectively communicate with other freelancers, building a strong relationship is crucial. Do your homework. Make sure you are well-informed of your potential collaborator’s previous work, past clients, and overall image. Having these details will allow you to see if this solopreneur will be beneficial for the project in question. Furthermore, it will provide a strong initial impression of your own brand as a professional that's in the know.
Once this relationship has been established, give your collaborator clear instructions on the intentions of your project. Distribute the responsibilities between each freelancer. Listen to each other and ask questions. Learn about the skills they have developed and the tools they have used to grow their success.
Everybody works differently, so it is important to identify everyone's strengths and weaknesses. Don’t hesitate to speak up. Start your project by outlining individual tasks with due dates to ensure timely completion.
Be clear when stating responsibilities and what to expect from one another. If you assign designated roles to each person involved, you set yourself up for the smoothest working environment. Make sure these expected tasks are reasonable in order to create a fair and orderly group dynamic. Create a detailed game plan and assign deadlines.
Taking charge and being communicative when problems arise will make you a reliable freelancer and a successful collaborator.
Expand your network and nurture relationships by connecting with other freelancers and talent. This can be as simple as participating in discussion forums, or by working in a co-working space. Our Facebook Group Business Advice for Freelancers is a great place to start.
Once you've found your go-to hustlers, there are many resources available to facilitate and encourage communication. Slack, Trello, Monday.com, and Evernote are only a few of the services out there designed to streamline collaboration. With regular check-ins and discussions, participants should have no confusion regarding the tasks they are responsible for. Being organized means everyone is on the same page.
By engaging with other freelancers on social media, you are able to expand your reach. For example, when you share other freelancer’s posts with your followers, this joint effort stimulates the circulation of unique ideas. Your social media audience will benefit from accessing your resources and that of those you share. Essentially, you are adding value for your audience which allows them to form deeper connections with your brand. Sharing and crediting the ideas of other solopreneurs will make your business more likely to receive shout-outs in return.
Recommendations are better than rejecting a customer. If you are unable to provide a service but know another solopreneur who would be perfect - pass it along. Fellow freelancers will appreciate your confidence in their abilities and are more likely to return the favor in the future.
Despite the benefits from referrals, it is important to be aware of the possible unfavorable impacts on your reputation. If a referral ends up going in the wrong direction, this may negatively alter your brand image. Be mindful of who you recommend to clients, but always stay open. The more connections you make, the more opportunities you will be exposed to. Remember, what goes around comes around.
Receiving feedback from your collaborators will save you in the future. It's hard to critique your own practices, so listening to outside feedback on your business processes is key. Use the advice you receive to alter your performances. Constructive criticism is not always easy to hear but is crucial to improving the business of you.
A project may arise that will push you to work with a freelancer you may not have chosen yourself. If points of tension occur, make sure to speak up and articulate the specific problems that have challenged you. This will allow other freelancers to learn about their mistakes and move forward with new tactics.