What is team freelancing?
If you don’t live under a rock and are seriously thinking of getting into freelancing, you’ve also probably stumbled upon some concerning statistics that emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many people that lost their jobs during the pandemic turned to freelancing. CNBC reported that job postings on freelance recruiting platforms rose by 41% in the second quarter of 2020.
I know what you’re thinking: “It’s like bitcoin all over again! Should’ve gotten on the bandwagon years ago!” or alternatively “This is all information I’ve heard before. And plus, what does it have to do with the title of this article?”
Before you descend into a spiral of self-pity and despair, here’s some good news, it seems that there’s a new buzzword on the block: team freelancing. Since competition is getting higher in the freelance space, it appears that freelancers have put down their metaphorical pitchforks and are starting to see the appeal of a less solitary lifestyle. In other words, the freelance space is becoming friendlier?
What are the benefits of joining a freelance team?
There are several benefits you may see due to this global shift. Here are some you may not have thought about.
1. It is easier to find a mentor
In the dog-eat-dog freelance world of the pre-pandemic, a lone freelancer would have to face the behemoths that are the freelancing platforms: Fiverr, Upwork, etc. Then you would begin the arduous process of building a portfolio and competing with your brethren for meager compensation and unsatisfying work.
Post-pandemic, the reality for a lot of people is that freelancing is the only sane alternative to a full-time job. They do not go into it with the mindset of competition. By joining a team, you get to learn from others. You gain access to once-guarded or proprietary information. No need to struggle alone. You can look at other online spaces that reflect this mentality shift as well. Information is given more freely, which can speed up your freelance journey and help you avoid simple but costly mistakes.
2. You get the perks of being an employee, without the downsides
Let’s face it, some human contact is not bad from time to time. Not all of us are born to be digital hermits, hiding behind the cold light of our ultra-wide monitors. Although some of us can proudly say that we got ourselves quite a neat home setup, wouldn’t you agree that from time to time it would be nice to able to complain about work with someone who shares your pain completely, rather than placing this burden on your next of kin or significant other?
Complaining about clients has never been easier than with the team freelancing model. You get all the perks of being financially independent and having control over your work and time, without the great downside of prolonged loneliness.
3. Solve bigger problems
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to small businesses. According to the CPB (the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy analysis), 22% of one person firms went out of business between 2019 and 2020. Conversely, firms with more than one employee have only seen a 0.8% exit rate.
For you this means that the small clients you may be accustomed to work for, are in short supply. On top of that, they are experiencing financial difficulties. Medium size firms, on the other hand, have weathered the pandemic relatively well. They have the resources to work with larger teams, employ consultants and run larger scale projects.
This requires a shift in your mentality, as an individual freelancer, as well. Bigger companies demand more consistency and reliability from the talent market and the freelance team model suits them, as it offers more flexibility than working with traditional agencies. For the freelancer, this model comes with more opportunity and continuity.
Overall, blended freelance teams can take on bigger issues, provide better results and answer complex problems. This all spells “OPPORTUNITY” and potential for growth.
4. Less competition
As an individual, your time is limited. As a freelance team, it is expandable. If you don’t have the skills to complete every aspect of your project excellently, you can add a freelancer to your team who can help you do so.
As a freelance team, you no longer compete with the guy next door with a laptop and access to Wi-Fi, you are filling the place of full-time employees, who have become too expensive for some companies. Therefore, your pool of opportunity has now enlarged exponentially.
5. You get to sell value rather than time
Let me explain. As a solo freelancer, your value to clients will often be measured in dollars per hour. With small clients especially, they will be confined to tight budgets. Budget is the one immovable all-consuming metric for them. The calculation is simple from then on.
“My budget is x, I estimate that my problem can be solved in y amount of hours. I need a freelancer adequate enough to solve my issue”. Their thinking revolves around the question of money spent.
There is no search for excellence because their state of continuous economic duress often prevents it. Your job becomes to try to squeeze as much out of them as possible.
This is not the way to path to meaningful, impactful work.
When working with established companies, their budget is expandable. They think in terms of value created, in exchange for a service. As long as in the future, the value you create for their company exceeds the price of your work, they are likely to be less picky about the upfront cost.
And in order to be in the same league with these types of companies, your service needs to be up to par. What you sell should be a finished product, that saves them time and the hassle of managing a team and comes with excellent customer service. This level of performance can often only be achieved with a team.
Last words on team freelancing
I hope this article has provided you with some food for thought. It is important to take the time, as a freelancer, to determine what kind of work suits your life goals best. Your business structure and work environment should then be adapted to that goal.
Let us know about your experience working with different types of clients during the pandemic, in the comments below.