A common freelance question – especially amongst freelancers who’ve been working for a while – is when to find help. Whether you’re considering a subcontractor, or finding a partner, it’s often hard to know if you’re “ready” for another player on your field.
Below are 4 simple signs that you might be ready for help – in whatever form that takes!
1. You’re consistently turning down work you’d like to take
If you often find yourself reluctantly saying “no” to promising potential clients just because of logistical concerns, it might be time to find help.
Maybe you need a real partner to split work with, or maybe you just need an assistant – someone who can handle minor tasks, and free you up to take on more high-level work.
If you’re constantly kicking yourself for turning down great work (and no, that cruddy low-paying uninteresting gig doesn’t count) and your life COULD accommodate more gigs with a little assistance, it’s time to find a helper.
2. You’d be able to land higher-level work with a collaborator
Maybe you’re a truly killer copywriter – but you find, time and again, that your clients also want someone who does graphics. Maybe you know your websites would do way better if they also had animation components.
If enlisting an expert for select projects (or presenting yourself as part of a team) will help you to land even better, more lucrative gigs, it’s a great invitation to find a collaborator.
Join the nation's largest group representing the new workforce (it's free!)
3. Your business will run better with support
Sometimes, you just need to outsource a particular portion of your work so the entire operation runs more smoothly. If you find that you’re spending lots of time doing stuff that doesn’t interest you (or which is exceptionally terrible for you) it may be time to hand that over to an expert.
For instance, for years I did my own freelance taxes. I hated it, it made me super stressed-out, and I was remarkably inefficient about it. Then, one year, I decided to “gift” myself by handing the whole tax nightmare to an accountant.
IT WAS A VERY GOOD DECISION. In one fell swoop, I eliminated a big stressor, made my work more enjoyable, and felt more confident about my taxes.
4. You’re curious about collaboration
Finally, if you’re interested in finding collaborators… you should probably just go ahead and try it.
Listen, the nice thing about outsourcing work or finding a collaborator is that you often don’t have to commit long-term, upfront. You can try out a new partnership (or subcontractor, or assistant) for 1-2 projects, and see how it feels. It may not be quite right; good collaborations are more like good romantic partners than people realize, and chemistry can be a big factor.
But it may be a great fit – and NOTHING is better than finding a trusted teammate to bounce ideas off of and work alongside. The MOST rewarding work I have ever done, particularly in creative work, has been formed in collaboration with others.
Feeling curious? Go for it – get some help, seek out an expert, find a collaborator. It’s worth the hunt!
Check out our Virtual Freelancer Teams Hive to connect with freelancers seeking collaborators.
Kate Hamill lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @katerone.