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Growing through hires and partnerships

From: Freelancing Fundamentals

Video: Growing through hires and partnerships

One problem with freelancing is that it doesn't scale. You have a limited inventory of hours for the week and when they're gone, they're gone. There are a few ways you can increase your available hours. Hire an assistant, someone who works for you; hire an associate, someone who works with you; or team up with a partner, another company or person to better both of your business. These are the terms we'll be using to describe the ways you can increase your hours. Let's look at each of them. First, the assistant.

Growing through hires and partnerships

One problem with freelancing is that it doesn't scale. You have a limited inventory of hours for the week and when they're gone, they're gone. There are a few ways you can increase your available hours. Hire an assistant, someone who works for you; hire an associate, someone who works with you; or team up with a partner, another company or person to better both of your business. These are the terms we'll be using to describe the ways you can increase your hours. Let's look at each of them. First, the assistant.

The point here is to offload the stuff that someone else can do and pay that person the less than you'll make in the time it would have taken you to do it. The problem is that there's a big gap between needing that person and getting benefits from their work. There's a time investment to onboard and manage that person, but you can figure out whether it's worth it. I've included an Exercise File with this video to help you. You will enter the amount you bill per hour along with what you'll pay the assistant per hour. Then for each week you enter the number hours you'll pay the assistant along with the number of billable hours you'll gain because of their help.

You'll find yourself losing money in the first few weeks while you train that person. But eventually, the benefits of having an assistant should outweigh that investment and ultimately it should be good for your business. Hiring an associate requires a similar cost to benefit calculation. So rather than repeat that exercise let's talk generally about the benefits and detriments. The big benefit is that in an associate who produces billable work increases the amount of money you can make and the increase is effectively unlimited.

When you have more work to bill, you just add more people. It's easy to forget about the other advantages of taking on an associate though. Namely that it's a different person from you with different skills, giving the two of you a range that neither possesses alone. And that person can act as a reality check whenever you make a decision. Now on the downside you'll have to oversee every person you add, both to manage their work and to check their results. You'll have to accept that you'll lose control over the details as their work style won't be the same as yours.

If they screw up, as the boss, you'll bare the penalties. That brings us to partnerships where you and another business decide to team up to expand your offerings, pool resources, or otherwise improve your businesses. You maintain your own business, but collaborate where it make sense. Like hiring an associate you gain added skills and capabilities along with that important reality check. You'll probably also gain a structure that's more like a corporation which can give you economies of scale and make you more attractive to large clients.

Now on the other hand partnerships usually require unique specific agreements that can be a real pain to draft. Once signed you'll have to trust each other to honor and understand all the clauses. Having a more corporate structure can introduce headaches. In the end you might add a lot of overhead without actually improving your businesses. But I hope the spectre of such detriments don't turn you off to the possibilities of pairing up with complementary businesses or taking on assistants or associates.

As would everything else you just have to balance the costs and the benefits and then act according to what's best for your situation.

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This video is part of

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Freelancing Fundamentals

42 video lessons · 24265 viewers

Tom Geller
Author

 
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  1. 10m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 53s
    2. What is freelancing?
      2m 53s
    3. How freelancing and employment differ
      2m 33s
    4. Preparing your mindset
      3m 31s
  2. 9m 24s
    1. Defining career goals
      2m 48s
    2. Sharpening your market focus
      3m 18s
    3. Transitioning to freelancing
      3m 18s
  3. 16m 11s
    1. Preparing your portfolio
      3m 11s
    2. Estimating costs
      3m 10s
    3. Funding your startup
      2m 42s
    4. Establishing your workspace
      3m 35s
    5. Building your professional network
      3m 33s
  4. 8m 51s
    1. Getting licenses, permits, and insurance
      2m 15s
    2. Creating contracts
      4m 23s
    3. Finding professional service vendors
      2m 13s
  5. 12m 54s
    1. Setting prices
      3m 13s
    2. Establishing payment systems
      1m 36s
    3. Invoicing and getting paid
      3m 50s
    4. Keeping the books
      2m 32s
    5. Managing taxes
      1m 43s
  6. 14m 41s
    1. Announcing your availability
      3m 16s
    2. Finding work through agencies
      2m 2s
    3. Onboarding clients
      2m 59s
    4. Avoiding scams
      3m 25s
    5. Choosing assignments
      2m 59s
  7. 11m 27s
    1. Interacting with clients
      2m 11s
    2. Delivering quality work
      2m 28s
    3. Getting referrals and recommendations
      2m 34s
    4. Losing and firing clients
      4m 14s
  8. 10m 48s
    1. Deconstructing big jobs
      3m 34s
    2. Adopting time-management tools
      2m 35s
    3. Creating schedules
      2m 30s
    4. Turning off the clock for "me time"
      2m 9s
  9. 20m 6s
    1. Staying motivated
      3m 3s
    2. Increasing your rates
      2m 52s
    3. Marketing beyond your professional network
      2m 56s
    4. Growing through hires and partnerships
      3m 30s
    5. Building passive income
      3m 48s
    6. Changing focus
      3m 57s
  10. 4m 52s
    1. Case study: Publishing a book
      2m 47s
    2. Next steps
      2m 5s
  11. 12m 42s
    1. Freelancing Q&A
      12m 42s

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