Coworking Tips: How To Collaborate With Other Freelancers

Coworking and collaboration

Last week I wrote about mentoring new freelancers as a way to become more involved in the coworking community. This week, I’d like to take a look at another way to help create a vibrant, more connected community: hiring your friends and fellow members.

For many business owners, the words “hiring your friends” set off multiple alarms and warning whistles. Working with friends and family members can be a recipe for disaster…unless you know how to do it right.

With the proper preparation and foresight, collaborating with fellow coworking members can reduce stress, improve the quality of your product, and enrich your life as a community member.

Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a collaborator:

Don’t assume that because you know them, they’re the right freelancer for the job. Whether it’s with your best friend or the newest member of your coworking space, a collaboration will only be successful if you choose the right person for the job. Look at integrity as well as ability. Think about the way they conduct themselves with fellow members and their clients. They might be good for a laugh, but will they buckle down when the deadline’s looming?

Walk softly, and carry a comprehensive contract. It’s one thing to offer your coworker $20 to edit an article you wrote. It’s another to invite them to be part of a three-month project. Contracts define who is responsible for what, and when it needs to be delivered. Oh yeah, and how much everyone gets paid. If there’s money involved, using a contract shows that you respect your collaborator, and want to make sure they are protected as well. DO IT.

Don’t be a dick. Just because you’re entering into a business relationship doesn’t mean you have to forget that you are friends. Or at least friendly acquaintances. Be flexible. Understand (within reason) life happens. Try to divide and conquer work in a way that’s comfortable for everyone involved. The best collaborations will feel like they were meant to be, and quality work will flow naturally from their formation.

Don’t be a pushover. In your zeal to be accommodating, don’t forget that you’re a businessperson with a job to do. If someone’s slacking, don’t be afraid to say something. It will only cause you stress and cost you money if you don’t.

Collaboration Checklist via Freelance Folder:

  • Does that person have any special skills?
  • Will it be beneficial for both of you?
  • How well do you know this person?
  • Is the person financially stable? (will you get paid?)
  • Is this person reliable? Punctual, honest, hard-working?
  • Can you delegate tasks to this person? (vice-versa)
  • What would happen if you ever disagree on something business related? Something personal?
  • Who is responsible for what?
  • Who gets the credit?
  • How will the pay is to be divided?

Have you ever collaborated with a fellow freelancer? Would you do it again? Share your experience in a comment!

  • http://twitter.com/coherellc/status/118356334293950464 Angel Kwiatkowski

    Coworking Tips: How To Collaborate With Other Freelancers #coworking http://t.co/qlJcNt4N

  • http://twitter.com/gonecoworking/status/118363479953518592 Über Coworker

    Have you ever collaborated with a fellow #freelancer? Here are tips for doing it right the first (or 50th!) time…. http://t.co/TaSS2l2v

  • http://twitter.com/ryanfaas/status/118380162734755840 Ryan Faas

    Have you ever collaborated with a fellow #freelancer? Here are tips for doing it right the first (or 50th!) time…. http://t.co/TaSS2l2v

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I have! Yes, I would do it again! In fact, I probably need to do so this week. This is one of my favorite perks of coworking: finding someone to whom I can refer work when I’m a) not the right fit b) too busy to take it on myself or c) just don’t wanna. Maybe that’s a). Anyway, love it and would probably love it even more if I incorporated some of the tips listed here. 

  • Angel K.

    Julie-you’ve been rocking the collaborative lifestyle at Cohere for awhile now. I’m going to start calling you a “power-user” of the community…or maybe “power-contributor” since user sounds one sided. Anyway, hope to see you at Cohere this week!

  • Bethbot52

    I’ve had experience with both types of collaboration at Cohere: the quick “I-will-pay-you-to-do-this-because-I-can’t” kind as well as the “please-join-us-on-this-journey” kind. Both were awesome! Collaborating within the coworking community gives me the same warm fuzzies as shopping at the farmers’ market instead of Wal-mart. The work is elevated, and you know a freelancer got to eat because of it!

  • Angel K.

    Beth-I’ve always thought that being a part of a coworking community gives a freelancer street cred. Freelancers get BETTER at freelancing when they’re around other freelancers. The amount of learning and business process improvement that happens is incredible. Also, after being part of a community for a little while, you just get a higher level of trust. Probably because you had the foresight to join a coworking community!

  • http://twitter.com/opendesks/status/118836586640191488 OpenDesks

    #Coworking Tips: How To #Collaborate With Other Freelancers via @coherellc http://t.co/Xvo3xWmI {gia

  • http://twitter.com/skagitcoworking/status/118943190706421760 SkagitCoworking

    Coworking Tips: How To Collaborate With Other Freelancers #coworking http://t.co/qlJcNt4N

  • http://twitter.com/forwardspace/status/137122056562151424 Rebecca&Gavin

    Collaborating with other #freelancers in your #coworking space – more good advice from @coherellc http://t.co/gfUNaAZj

  • http://twitter.com/mariekeguy/status/137125891745648640 mariekeguy

    Collaborating with other #freelancers in your #coworking space – more good advice from @coherellc http://t.co/gfUNaAZj

  • http://twitter.com/judyheminsley/status/137121810855641088 Judy Heminsley

    Collaborating with other #freelancers in your #coworking space – more good advice from @coherellc http://t.co/gfUNaAZj

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  • http://twitter.com/topicschicago/status/152428710807609345 Topics Chicago

    Coworking Tips: How To Collaborate With Other Freelancers http://t.co/46We1Srw via @CohereLLC

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