As every full-time freelancer learned — the easy or the hard way — part of your job description as a solopreneur is bringing in new business. For many, this is a tricky learning curve since you likely branched out on your own because you have a passion for your craft, like writing, design, or marketing. Though in a dream world, every freelancer would have well-paying projects land in their inbox every month, it takes hustle, pitching, recovering from rejections, and pushing forward to build an empire.
One new potential avenue for success is teamlancing. The concept of joining forces with other teamlancers isn’t a novel idea, but it’s a growing market, especially as more people choose the freelance lifestyle.
Working alongside others who have varied skillsets from your own is a smart, effective way to expand your brand. Here, we spoke with freelancers who became a teamlancer on how it changed their bottom lines, day-to-day routines, and more.
6 ways teamlancing can change your freelance business for the better
1. It allows you to handle more projects.
As a team of one, there is only so much you can take on and complete. Being a superhuman who can write 10,000 words, design 10 logos and build four social media strategies in one workday would be incredible — but it’s not realistic. However, when you become part of a teamlance, you can focus on your own expertise, allow others to take on the rest, and attract more lucrative opportunities,
Author and career expert Joanna Dodd Massey, Ph.D., puts it best when she says as a sole proprietor in your business, you are the CEO, CFO, CMO, CTO, as well as the staff:
“Being a member of a teamlance broadens your opportunities by as many people as you have in the teamlance. Five people can mean five-times the opportunities because you’re no longer the only one looking for work. Plus, you know the saying, two heads are better than one. It always helps to have someone else to bounce ideas off of when you’re pitching a client.”
2. It can make your business more lucrative.
Freelancers are always looking for useful ways to bring in clients, preferably those who are willing to pay competitive rates.
If you have struggled to ask and score higher-paying gigs, marketing expert and publisher Meagan Sargent says teamlancing can make your work more lucrative. As mentioned above, you have the capacity to contribute to more projects since you aren’t doing every bell-and-whistle, and thus, can charge more for specialized work. And, you have the added bonus of encouragement from other freelance experts like yourself.
As Sargent says:
“From a business perspective, you have the opportunity — and time — to learn different skills for the particular team you’re working with. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with your colleagues to deliver variables for the client.”
3. It makes you more adaptable and skilled.
For some freelancers, the concept of being accountable to other professionals feels like a return to the ‘9 to 5’ grind that they left. Sargent says, unlike a traditional office setting, teamlancing allows you to maintain the schedule and projects that you enjoy and excel at, but with the added benefit of collaboration.
This might mean even learning new proficiencies. For example, if you specialize in SEO writing, yet you haven’t mastered data pulling for search engine optimization, a fellow teamlancer can help teach you. “Not only are you running data, but you’re al learning how to read the data. This skill is very valuable for many industries. The ability to be diverse and adapt is of utmost importance,” she continues.
The more you can do, the more you save clients cash since they aren’t hiring you as an employee. As your business grows, you can start to offer new services, expanding your range and abilities. “Large corporations are looking towards freelancers in order to disrupt the industry truly. The more flexible and diverse you are, the more valuable you are, which will lead to more opportunities,” Sargent adds.
4. It keeps your productivity in check.
Marketing expert Caroline James describes teamlancing like tennis: you lift your game with a better player. When you find like-minded professionals who are very good at what they do, take deliverables off your to-do list, and motivate you to be better, everyone wins. If you’re someone, like James, who sometimes struggles with productivity, having a teamlance will keep you on track.
While she loves getting out for a walk, grabbing a coffee, reading, or doing a Zoom yoga class, when she’s part of a teamlance, she’s held responsible. “This means you gotta show up to work! Others are dependent on you, and this is good for your own accountability, and inevitably that’s going to be more beneficial for business,” she shares.
5. It makes your clients happier.
Have you ever had a promising introductory call with a potential content marketing client, and then they come back with questions like this:
- Can you also handle social media writing?
- What about public relations? We need placements.
- We’d also love a redesign of our blog. Can you do that?
There’s nothing worse than wanting to snag a contract, but knowing you can’t deliver on the promise. That’s why joining a teamlance can change your ‘no’ to an instant ‘yes’, since you have other experts to call when you need it. Marketing and media expert Allison Olmstead says, overall, client needs are changing, all thanks to COVID-19, and teamlancing has allowed her to adapt on the fly.
As a publicist, Olmstead focuses on traditional public relations and spends most of her time pitching and working with the press on earned media. However, she’s expanded her team of teamlancers to now include copywriters, photographers, and social media experts to offer her clients more help in this time when all hands on deck are needed.
“With everyone working from home, its easier than ever to add teamlancers and offer clients more services. This tactic has helped me grow my business with existing clients. Adding teamlancers has allowed me to expand the services that I offer to clients. My clients trust me, and now they trust me to bring in the right people to help with projects that need to get done.”
6. It gives you time to nurture your business.
In addition to bringing on business, part of your responsibility as an entrepreneur is nurturing the client you currently have, or worked with in the past. This looks like email check-ins, touch-points, follow-ups, and so on. Building and investing in these relationships inevitably lead to referrals, but these tasks usually fall low on the priority list.
However, according to Olmstead, with teamlancing, you have more time to devote to nurturing your business. Every week, she practices an ‘hour of power’ where she sits down and writes ‘thank you’ notes — to the media, to teamlance members, to clients, and so on:
“I think being positive and grateful always pays off and helps attract the right connections and clients. What comes around goes around. Making positive work connections for you or someone else will always pay off in the long run.”