While freelancers are used to a natural ebb and flow in their business, this year has been more of a rollercoaster than others. In the freelancing world, it’s been predicted that competition will only rise as more people consider the self-employment route.
That’s why strategic solo professionals should find a new direction: teamlancing. As you can guess from the name, this way of doing business incorporates various experts to tackle a large project.
You may be the content marketing lead, while another person handles social media. Someone else will dive into the analytics and SEO, and yet another will guide the graphic elements. These cohesive structures present a significant value to clients since they don’t need to source for these individual roles on their own, and instead, they can hire a team for the whole shebang.
Teamlancing’s benefits will convince you to join forces.
Though it sounds like a stellar idea, some freelancers can be wary of joining a group, since part of the reason they branched out on their own was autonomy. Before you let your ego win over, it’s essential to consider the surprising benefits of the teamlancing dynamic.
Here, professionals across various industries shed insight into the hidden perks of this trend:
- Teamlancing naturally attracts those with a similar work ethic.
- Teamlancing exposes you to new skills.
- Teamlancing fills up your lead funnel.
- Teamlancing builds loyalties that are often found in traditional employment.
- Teamlancing provides a safe place to brainstorm.
- Teamlancing speeds up the client onboarding process.
1. Teamlancing naturally attracts those with a similar work ethic.
Part of what could make a freelancer wary of becoming part of a teamlance is dealing with other people. Sure, not all who are self-employed are introverts, but they can self-motivate to bring in new work, meet deadlines and retain clients. Since they don’t have to depend on other professionals to complete a project, it may feel jarring to place their trust in others suddenly.
This makes sense, but don’t give up before you research. As communications and social psychology expert Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D. explains, those who are keen to join a teamlance are likely to be motivated by similar values. Not only do they want to expand their own services so they can take on bigger (and more lucrative!) clients, but they recognize their blind spots.
In one example, Dr. Massey discusses a power sphere consisting of a residential real estate agent, mortgage broker, real estate attorney and title writer. By joining forces, they cover all aspects of a sale:
“They share a similar work ethic and dedication to getting the job done whatever it takes, which enables them to trust each other and makes it easy for their clients to agree to the teamlance set up. When one gets a client or even speaks to a friend about buying a home, they immediately pitch their teamlance and refer the potential client to the realtor to kick off the process.”
2. Teamlancing exposes you to new skills.
As thousands — if not millions! — of professionals consider the full-time freelance life, being on top of your game will only become vital to your career’s longevity. For writers, it’s no longer enough to merely be a wordsmith.
Many are expected to know a plethora of other skills including:
- The ins-and-outs of content marketing
- Search engine optimization writing
- Blog development
- Newsletter and social media platform writing
- Ghostwriting and ebook creation
Adopting these new ways of conducting business can take time and dedication, especially when managing your client base. That’s where teamlancing provides an opportunity: you can learn from others on your team.
As the founder and CEO of EnrichHER, Roshawnna Novellus explains that businesses are becoming more focused on collaboration and working efficiently, so why shouldn’t the freelancing spectrum follow suit?
“Perhaps in the past, some executives have worked alone, but in this era of innovation, being a part of a teamlance opens up new opportunities. Expanding your network circle is not just about knowing new people; it is also about exposure to new skills. Teamlancing provides a new way to connect with a diverse group of experts to reach a common goal.
When you collect a teamlance, you can consider creating a weekly skill-share where each member gives a 101 course on their area of expertise. This is well, free, but it’s a more approachable way to start thinking of expanding your proficiencies.
3. Teamlancing fills up your lead funnel.
No matter how far along you are in your freelancing career — from one month to 10 years — generation lead is always on your to-do list.
After all, having an empty funnel means less income. However, not everyone is a born marketer or salesperson, and not everyone can take introductory calls with ease. Teamlancer and entrepreneur Rachel Champlin says part of the beauty of a joint effort is having built-in referrals:
“Since freelancing relies heavily on leads, teamlancing will also undoubtedly bring you new business. Surround yourself with a network of freelancers that don’t replace you and your expertise, but who add to your services and value their work.”
4. Teamlancing builds loyalties that are often found in traditional employment.
Before you decided to work for yourself, you likely were gainfully employed at a company. There, you were also sectioned into a team, from marketing to engineering and design. As you got to know your colleagues, you formed loyalties within the office that were beneficial not only professionally but also personally.
When you leaped to self-employment, those bonds were suddenly gone, and you were out on your own. Though, yes, there is a thrill found in independence, it’s also nice to have a gaggle of people you trust. You can work together, in a teamlance dynamic, but you can build friendships and have a safe place to vent on the bad days.
Massey shares the example of a digital content creation teamlance that included a marketing consultant, a graphic designer, a web designer, a content developer and a social media guru. Once they started taking on projects together, they committed to always — and only! — work with one another:
“They know the quality of each other’s work; they trust each other to perform their job well, and they have good chemistry as business partners. All of this makes it easy for them to work together and for their clients to recognize that the entire team, not just one player, brings value to their account.”
When one member of the teamlance has a client lead, they pitch the others and try to bring them along for the job. Because a client that needs one of these services will often require the others, it is a natural pitch and a win-win for the client, Massey adds.
5. Teamlancing provides a safe place to brainstorm.
How often have you messaged your friends during a workday to bounce ideas off of them? If you’re lucky, you know other creatives within your field who will offer valuable insight. But it’s not the same as having someone who is also a freelancer and understands exactly what you’re going through.
When you’re taking on a new client, Novellus says the hardest part is the brainstorming phase. You want to wow them with your ideas, but as everyone does, we all have mental blocks sometimes. With a teamlance in place, you have built-in think-tank partners.
As Novellus says:
“Having a diverse group of professionals attempt to solve a problem for your business is genius. Once ideas begin to bounce back and forth between members of the teamlance, the solution to your business problem will appear. It often takes being exposed to multiple perspectives to recognize the best solution.”
6. Teamlancing speeds up the client onboarding process.
Think about how your last potential client call went: you both dialed in, you discussed your services, you agreed to send a proposal, you sent it… and crickets. While we would all appreciate a speedy onboarding process, new business usually requires many moving parts.
Typically a brand wants the following:
- A new SEO-optimized blog
- An update to their website
- A better strategic plan for their social media experts
- A graphic refresh
And no, they’re not exactly sure what they want in any of these buckets. Plus, they need to vet all freelancers before hiring someone, and fielding recommendations are time-consuming. Sound familiar? Until they figure out all of their needs, they are hesitant to get started on anything.
But as Novellus explains, teamlancing offers a solution to this common issue:
“Because a teamlance is so flexible, hiring someone for a specific task will speed up the process. Teamlancing reduces project time and scales results exponentially. Teamlancing is founded in collaboration, a building block of the startup world.”