Should you do it yourself or collaborate on that project?

Emily Belden's Layout avatar

Whether you are a freelancer or work for a small agency, there are times when the perfect client comes along with an exciting project that happens to fall outside your wheelhouse. Sometimes a project may require a skillset that you are not a master in, which leaves you with three options. The first is scrambling to make it work with the possibility of falling short. The second is turning down the project altogether. And the third is collaborating with a capable party.

There are many great reasons to consider collaboration. Here are just a few.

You can market yourself better


By bringing on others to a project, you add to your service offerings, which allows you to go from advertising yourself as just a designer to something a little more full-service. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that overnight you have to become a genius in a field you haven’t touched much. It just means that you can present yourself to a client as having access to additional expertises and show that you possess a myriad of well-rounded capabilities. Exhibiting versatility is an attractive quality for those looking to assign a job in the competitive ad-tech-digital marketplace.

Make a bigger profit in the long run

Though initially collaborating may mean you are splitting a piece of the pie with someone else, if you are seen as a one-stop shop, it is more likely that you will be referred to by others in the industry. This can lead to more frequent projects and bigger ticket items. It also allows you to compete for the same business that only larger, more well-known agencies would typically be in the running for. Additionally, since you are a collaboration, your production costs may be lower than that of a traditional agency, which can give you an edge on winning business.

Longer term collaborations may also lead to sharing a workspace, which equates to splitting other costs such as rent and utilities.

The more, the merrier


The life of a freelancer can be rather lonely. By collaborating with like-minded individuals, you can grow your social circle, especially as it relates to your professional network. Collaborating partners also tend to have their own set of contacts who they bring to the table, expanding the network tenfold. A collaborative environment lends itself well to sharing feedback and solving problems as a group.

If you’re thinking that collaboration may be key to taking your career to the next level, there are a few ways to get started. You can look into an open workspace setting such as WeWork where other freelancers go to hunker down on their jobs. You could also place an ad on a social site like Craigslist or tap into a freelance based website like Just be sure that whenever entering into a partnership or collaboration, you have some sort of written agreement on file that keeps everyone’s expectations in line.

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