The power of the top freelance team

Do you think your freelance business could be doing better?

Well, in these choppy economic waters, you’ll be among friends.

So, what does the smart freelancer do? It seems that more and more freelancers are getting together to form top freelance teams..

Top Freelance Teams

Instead of working alone, forming a freelance team is becoming an increasingly smart idea. This is where you pair or triple up with other freelancers – similar years of experience and similar quality – and start passing freelance work between you or simply pitching for freelance jobs together.

This sounds idyllic – so lets answer some questions

Do you have to work from the same office?

My guess is that if you want this to work, then the answer is yes. That doesn’t mean you have to be in that office 5 days per week, but I would suggest you have to turn up for a couple of hours a day at least 3 times a week. This is enough to build those mystery relationships that make co or joint working together so powerful. In fact MIT have release a piece on why ‘passive face time‘ matters in a corporate environment. My guess is that ‘passive face time’ works in all environments.

Do we need to form a ltd company or limited liability partnership?

No, all you need is an agreement and then get that written up clearly and signed.

Well, okay, after a while you may decide to form an LLP or something, but there is no point in creating legal and financial costs that stand between you and your fees.

What does an agreement/ contract need to cover?

Essentially, you need an agreement between each other about the hourly rates or project fees that you charge and that you will charge to each others clients.  You then need to decide how much the person who i) finds the business and ii) manages the client relationship should get.

So, if you charge £200 per day – perhaps £30 is for bringing the business and £30 is for managing the client?

The good thing about this approach is that it clearly separates out the cost of winning and managing business. If it makes you review your freelance rates, then that isn’t a bad thing either. Building in a cost of winning business is important.

Who do I work with?

You will probably find that working with other freelancers with similar levels of experience and similar charge out rates will make it work better.

If the rates of pay or experience vary too much – would you feel comfortable leaving your clients to be managed by a junior when you go on holiday?

Ah yes, holidays…

Being part of a team gives you back up for holidays. So, if you normally manage the client but can’t – because you are away and the work just needs to be done – then your fellow freelancer can pick up the client management role and pocket the fee. That way its all fair and above board.

You should then be able to enjoy your holiday.

Do you need a shared brand?

No. If you co-freelancers are good enough, then they will have already invested and developed their own brands – why dilute their brand and your brand by a third (as yet unknown) brand? Just explain to clients that you work very closely with other top freelancers – but haven’t built the additional costs of a full fledged agency. Clients will love it.

Ending it?

Before you start a relationship like this with another freelancer, you should be clear about how you can end the deal. A kind of ‘pre-nuptial’ agreement.  This is an excellent idea – for freelancers at least.

Typically, you might agree to work out existing and running projects and then anything that lands in the next 4 weeks (as you may be part way through pitching).

The good news is that if you have avoided complex legal and financial structures, then the split should be clean, simple and fair to everyone.

Lastly…

Have fun! If the relationships are too hard work or you find yourselves moving in different directions, then end the freelance co-operation. It’s got to work on a personal and business level if it is going to work for everyone.

 

 

 

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Written by Editor on July 9, 2012 and filed in Entrepreneurs, Featured, Freelance Jobs, Freelancers ,


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