With freelancers being called upon to do the work that in house teams used to do, it makes sense that they would need to collaborate with other freelancers on certain projects where different skills are required.
The trouble is, how do you choose who to collaborate with? And how do you make sure it doesn’t end in tears?
When you’re used to working alone as a freelancer, you may worry about the best way to approach a collaboration. Luckily, we’ve got some essential tips on how to collaborate for success.
1. Learn about them
Before you approach someone and ask them to collaborate with you, learn about what they’re like.
We don’t mean find out what their address and favourite colour is, but rather what their previous projects have been like and who they’ve worked with.
Do they have a portfolio online that you’re able to look at? If so, take a look at it and see whether it fits with what you’re looking for from a collaborator.
These initial impressions will help you decide whether you think they’re the right person to work with you on the project.
2. Bullet point the task
Once you’ve chosen a person who you want to collaborate with you need to get in touch with them and check what their availability is.
After this, you should bullet point just what’s involved in the task. This should include specifics of exactly what you will expect them to do. The clearer you are now the less chance there is of confusion and arguments further down the line.
3. Draw up a contract
Now it’s time to lay your cards on the table.
You should treat your collaboration with a fellow freelancer the same way you would treat a client requesting to use your services.
While you might not pass money between each other, you want to make sure that they’re going to be willing to work with you until the project is complete – you also want to make sure that they don’t take any of the credit for your work.
That’s why you should create a contract to make sure that everything works out as you expected and you don’t get any nasty surprises.
4. Use collaboration tools
When you begin collaborating, you should make the most of the tools that are at your disposal.
Thanks to a freelance and start up culture there are more companies than ever who cater to providing services that make entrepreneurs’ lives easier on a day to day basis. These are perfect for when you need to make processes easier.
Some tools we recommend are Trello, Slack, Evernote and Pandle. These tools cover everything from writing your daily to do list to managing your bookkeeping. These can help when collaborating as they all ease processes and encourage communication, which is exactly what you need when you’re working with someone new.
5. Manage roles
Briefly mentioned above was the need for you to create a contract that will lay out every part of the project to ensure no one steps on anyone else’s toes.
Managing each role and ensuring each person knows what they’re doing is vital if you want to create a successful project. This way you’re not only not stepping on each other’s toes but you’re showing them their exact responsibilities and what you expect from them.
Get in touch with your collaborator before the project begins so you’re both sure what each of your roles are.
6. Set deadlines
Another important issue to remember when you’re laying down the rules of collaboration is the deadline.
If you want to have time to look at the project as a whole you may set your collaborator a deadline that’s a couple of days earlier than the deadline you have been given by your client.
You may also choose to set deadlines within the project to ensure everything is up to speed and allowing you to check your collaboration progress as you go.
7. Ask for feedback
Once the project is over it’s worth asking for feedback from the person you collaborated with on the project. By doing so, you can help improve the process with other collaborators next time.
This feedback will also be helpful for personal feedback on how you work on projects. By working with another person you’ll have a mirror held up to any flaws in your work process, which you’ll then be able to work on both for your next collaboration and your next solo project.
What are your tips for successful collaboration? Leave your suggestions in the comment box below!