We are at the year 230,000 before Christ. Our ancestors had to form groups to be able to hunt animals. This was necessary for survival. So teamwork has existed for several thousand years. As pure individual fighters, humans rarely had good chances of survival. In the business world, the ability to cooperate no longer determine life and death, but success and failure. Cooperation is still important today. Some professions among freelancers rarely collaborate. Many of them deny that they work on a freelance basis as lone fighters. But collaboration among freelancers offers huge opportunities.
In my opinion, many tax consultants and lawyers are a great example of the ability to cooperate among freelancers. Some of them have joined forces in law firms and partner companies and can optimise their cost structure considerably and at the same time, increase their service. For example, five partners in a law firm share a secretary’s office, which is easily accessible by telephone, an office, corporate design, logo, costs for Internet etc. As a lone fighter, you bear all the costs alone. However, it is more likely that you will accept a few restrictions because you simply will not be able to afford your own secretariat, professional corporate design etc. In cooperation, you have both. Lower expenses with better service quality.
For many freelancers, the personal network is essential for their business activities. Even in the digital age, orders for highly individualised services are more often placed via personal contacts than via a contact form on the website. With cooperation, you can expand your network significantly in one go and use your partner’s contacts. Through the connections of my former business partner, I had the opportunity, for example, shortly after founding my freelance activity, to process a graphic order for RedBull. Such a reference paves the way for future orders. With their network business partners open the door to new interesting people and business relationships. Of course, this must also apply to your cooperation partner in the opposite direction. With every new partner, you expand your network and thus your business opportunities.
Minimise default risk
In a football match, it is impossible to run from your own half to the opponent’s goal. Passes are necessary in between to score a goal. The certainty of being able to hand over a project to a partner, e.g. in a phase of illness, is a real blessing. The probability of failure is also an essential criterion for your customers, especially for major customers, when placing an order.
A small example: You are a freelance graphic designer in a pitch against an agency that is competing with a team of five people. An advertising campaign is to be created for a company in just two months. Just like the agency, you guarantee that the campaign will be ready on time.
Now you change the chair. You decide which of the candidates gets to implement the campaign. Team or sole proprietor? If the campaign is not completed on time, the company will have to bear high losses because the corresponding advertising spaces are already booked. Your boss wouldn’t like that. Do you decide for the sole freelance proprietor or for the team, where the risk of failure is only one fifth?
Why freelancers do not cooperate
We are already raised at school to be lone fighters. Tasks have to be solved in exams alone. Group work usually makes up only a small part of the evaluation in the annual report. Over many years the mentality of the lone fighter has matured in us, although it does not correspond to human nature. To be successful as a freelancer, we have to get rid of this mentality. We often tend to want to control everything 100% and make all decisions ourselves. We do not want to be talked into it by anyone. These are all logical arguments, but at the same time, we rob ourselves of the great opportunities that cooperation offers. In collaboration, we can share resources, minimise risks, expand competencies, overcome crises better, and in total, we can shine with a much better offer for our customers.