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Summary:

Freelancers take pride in their independence.  But no matter how independent you think you are, you’ll need to work with a team and handle your difficult clients well.  Sometimes, the work can be so overwhelming that you think you’re left with no choice except to find […]

Freelancers take pride in their independence.  But no matter how independent you think you are, you’ll need to work with a team and handle your difficult clients well.  Sometimes, the work can be so overwhelming that you think you’re left with no choice except to find a partner to help you out.

Whether you’re getting someone to share the work (and the profits) with you 50-50, or you’re looking to hire a helping hand, there are some advantages and disadvantages you need to consider before taking in a new working partner.

The Advantages

Someone else can share your workload. Freelancers usually do everything themselves, from customer support to marketing to delivering the final product.  On busy months, doing all these things can be so exhausting that you’d wish you had the money to pay for an all-around assistant.  While a partner isn’t exactly an assistant, he or she can take care of half the work while you focus on your half.  If you divide the labor well, there’s hope that both of you will have the time to take a nap once in a while.

You can build a very strong team if your strengths are complementary. If you’re a great copywriter, but you don’t have the social media marketing savvy that your partner has, then it sounds like a great idea to combine your efforts and unleash a monster of an online marketing campaign.

The same goes for any type of work where your weaknesses are your partner’s strengths.  There will no longer be any job opportunities that you will turn down just because you didn’t have all the skills needed for the entire project.

You have the benefit of someone else’s opinion.
More importantly, this opinion is from someone else who knows your web working business just as well as you do.  It’s always good to have someone you can ask advice from, especially when it comes to the big decisions.  It usually looks unprofessional to ask another freelancer, but it’s normal practice to ask a business partner.

The Disadvantages


You give up full autonomy.
Although this is a single item in this list, it’s a very important one.  Once you start delegating, you will lose control on some aspects of your projects.  This has several disadvantages attached to it, such as your partner not delivering the quality of work you expected.

Also, you’ll need to confer with each other whenever there’s a decision at hand.  You and your partner might have different ideas on what’s best for a project, so decision-making won’t be as fast as when you’re taking care of a project by yourself.

Additional legal work has to be done. Whether you’re considering a short-term or a long-term partnership, you need to draw up some new contracts.  This is especially important if you want to launch a business with your new partner and make your working relationship a long-term one.

The Bottom Line

Before you sign any papers or go through your LinkedIn network looking for the ideal web working partner, you need to be aware of why you’re looking for a partner in the first place.  What are your expectations?  How much responsibility will your partner have?  How will you check each other’s work?  Are the advantages you’ll be gaining worth the disadvantages you have to pay?  By asking yourself these questions, you’ll know whether it will be helpful or harmful to take in a new partner.

Have you ever considered getting a web working partner, whether it’s for a simple project or a joint-venture startup?  What was the decision-making process like for you?  How did having a partner affect your work?

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By Celine Roque
  1. I was a freelancer until last summer, and the biggest obstacle for me was gaining new clients and leads. My partner changed all that. He actually approached me and he and I have been rocketing skyward since. Best move I ever made.

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  2. I believe in what Alan Weiss mentions – in freelancing partnership, it should lead to 1 + 1 = 64; not just 1 + 1 = 2. Only then it is worth.

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  3. This really a fascinating topic. As a culture, freelancers have always mainly been individual workers, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t partner up or even form teams.

    At ki work (apologies for shameless plug) we’re trying to give other freelancers the ability to form teams which are strong enough to compete with conventional business structures. When freelancing moves from being a solo trade, to a trade of fluid, loosely coupled teams, then the impact on large businesses will be devastating.

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  4. I’ve been interested in leaving my corporate role and moving my design business forward for years. I’ve never thought about partnerships as a way to move leads and sales forward. Frankly, that’s my biggest fear.

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  5. There’s also the “I clearly remember paying your half in full on the first payment so i don’t have to pay up anything now that the job is done” kind of guy…

    I’m a “Pal, $112.50 is 1/4th of $550.00, but that’s O.K., Thanks for letting me know I will be working less with you” kind of gal, so no worries there… You live and you learn!

    Sorry but I needed to vent that! Thanks for the advice!

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