Freelancing is a lone journey—you work on your portfolio and skills, pitch to clients, market your services, provide value to your clients, manage your accounts, and handle everything from onboarding to project handoff. But, it doesn’t have to be a journey of one.
According to Upwork, US freelancers earned almost $1.2 trillion in 2020, and the overall freelance revenue in the country rose by 22%. Despite the pandemic, the demand for contract workers for SMBs, and even huge companies like Google—who hired 120,000 contract workers, more than the number of full-time employees, 105,000—has been constantly rising.
With this growing demand, the opportunity to earn more is only rising with time. But to what extent can you work alone without getting overwhelmed with the number of projects or reaching the brink of burnout? That’s where a freelance team can help!
With this stellar success story, we’ll take you through a few reasons why working in teams is beneficial and how you can begin building a team of your own, or a Virtual Company (Vico, as we like to call it) to optimize your income.
Why work in teams?
Independent working is fun—you make your own rules, take a vacay when you want, and take up more or turn down clients as per your wish. But, working in teams can spin your business around and ignite the start of something bigger as your freelance business grows.
Let’s look at some quick reasons why working in a freelance team should be your next step:
Combine different skillsets and offer premium packages
Collaborating with other freelancers who provide tangent services can help take the burden off and help you earn more money in the long run.
For instance, if you specialize in long-form writing, you can collaborate with a content strategist and SEO specialist to offer a content strategy package and close clients at high-priced retainers.
Moving forward, you can include more people in your team and provide collaborative services, which are likely to close at a higher rate than when you work individually.
Work with and learn from freelancers from different industries
Apart from the earning leverage, you can also learn through collaboration and each other’s skills, thus setting the path for holistic growth.
You can take courses, read blogs, or watch videos all you want—but the learning that comes from directly working with people is unmatched.
For instance, if you want to learn more about SEO, you have a trusted person within your team who can guide you through the process and give you practical insights.
So, instead of growing individually, you grow as a team.
Leverage each other’s network and knowledge to optimize your service results
Each person you collaborate with will come from a different background, experience, and network. Tapping into these areas can introduce you to people from diverse regions, thus growing your network and helping you open doors to new opportunities.
When you combine and leverage this network—be it in-person or social media—you can position your team as the go-to thought leaders in the industry while promoting your services to bag more clients.
Close high-paying clients and optimize your income
There’s only a limit to which an independent contractor can help a business.
If you can offer services that take care of an entire segment of your client’s business–say, social media marketing or content marketing—they’ll be more willing to work with you at a higher price than handling multiple individual contractors.
It’s a win for both your clients and each team member as it’ll optimize their individual income to a significant level.
Reap the benefits of collaboration than competition
Let’s face it—there must have been at least one instance where you were overwhelmed with what the neighborhood freelancer is achieving. We’ve all been there, and there’s a lot of competition out there already.
But, instead of competing in the race, wouldn’t it be better to take yourself out of the rat race altogether? Creating a team is like having a small family or a startup of your own. You have internal meetings, solve challenges together, celebrate wins together and empower each other to grow—collaboration is sustainable and much healthier than the competition.
How to build a freelance team and start getting clients?
There’s a vast difference between deciding to build a freelance team and actively taking steps to do that.
To bridge the gap between your planning and execution, here’s a 5-step practical list of things you can start doing immediately:
1. Identity your target audience and niche
If you say your audience is everyone, you might want to rethink.
Being a generalist can help you get clients, yes, but it won’t help you close high-end projects and earn a sustainable income in the long run.
So, before you even start seeking freelancers for your team, you need to be clear on who your potential clients are, what type of companies they work in, and which industry you want to serve.
For example, B2B SaaS brands with 1-10 employees in the eCommerce industry.
Even if you don’t have a clear idea about who your potential clients should be, take it one step at a time:
- Do you want to work with business-to-business (B2B) clients or business-to-community (B2C) clients?
- Do you want to work with startups, established brands, entrepreneurs, coaches, or influencers?
Initially, having a fair idea along these lines is also helpful to gain clarity about where your team should be headed, what kind of skills you should look for in your team members, and what kind of specialization or experience you’re seeking.
Without this, you could end up making a team of freelancers from diverse backgrounds with no commonality—which is a disaster recipe. So, don’t think of the audience and niche as an afterthought.
Instead, get it cleared from the beginning so you have a clear vision of where you’re headed.
2. Define which services/packages you want to offer
You can’t just hire a bunch of freelancers, send out some pitches to potential clients and call it a day. Setting systems and outlining the services you want to offer as a team is a crucial next step.
Also, based on your team vision and the skills you possess, these packages will define the freelancers you should collaborate with—ignoring which can lead to a leaky team-building strategy (not a pretty picture).
To outline which services you want to offer potential clients, consider answering these questions:
- Which additional services can you offer in a package that can help your potential clients bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be, with measurable results?
- Based on market research, which service packages are profitable?
- What other complementary services do your clients ask for you to provide?
After answering these questions, you’ll have a list of services you can offer together as a package to your clients to solve their problems and take their business to the next level.
Now, it’s time to look for freelancers for your team!
3. Start looking for freelancers to build your team
You can find plenty of freelancers online, but finding the ones with the skills and experience you require and who can consistently provide quality work is not a cakewalk.
Since you need to vet each freelancer personally, you need to search far and wide to find the ones that fit your requirement and are ready to be a team player.
Here are some sourcing tips to start your hunt:
- Put up a request in freelance community groups, asking if anyone would be interested in collaborating and providing services together in a team. Schedule a call, and discuss everything from your vision to how the process will work out to see if the rapport matches—the portfolio and skills come in much later.
- Scan social media profiles, search for role-related keywords on Google, and read thought leadership articles on Medium to see if you find a freelancer with impressive work or a personal brand.
- Place a request with a Typeform on freelance blogs and newsletters with an audience of freelancers.
- Spread the word in your network and ask for referrals from business owners or marketers to recommend freelancers.
- Post a detailed gig with requirements on a freelance platform like Upwork.
Vanshika Mehta, an Independent Brand Consultant follows a similar process. In addition, she says:
“Looking at previous work + giving freelancers trial work to see if requirements match usually does the trick. I look for honesty and transparency. For this reason, I always ask my writers if they’re overloaded or not and then reshuffle the work based on how they’re feeling.”
Bottom line: If you want your freelance team to produce tangible results for your clients, doing a quality check and hiring specialized freelancers is a need more than a choice.
4. Market your services on social media and through a website
Once you have the Vico setup and your freelance team in place, it’s time to market your services. Inevitably, if you’re not present in front of your potential clients, it’ll be difficult for them to hire you.
Moreover, lack of marketing can set you up for dry months, which is not what we want, so follow these tips:
- Create a stellar, benefit-driven website, and list your packages along with your Vico profile to give them an overview of how you can help them. Don’t forget to optimize it for the search engine to get targeted traffic that can turn into paying clients.
- Encourage every team member to work on their personal brands—on LinkedIn, Twitter, or guest posts—to build authority and talk about your Vico as a subtle plug to promote your services.
- Ask every team member to spread the word in their network if anyone wants to hire a team of freelancers.
- Invest time in sending personalized cold emails to brands who lie under your target audience.
If you’re not too keen on promoting your services on social media, don’t worry because Vicoland will forward you project requirements so you don’t have to spend a lot of time in marketing and business development.
With that being said, having a digital presence can be a game-changer for making you more visible in front of your potential clients. Add to that consistent projects from Vicoland, and you’re all set to take your freelancing career to the next level!
Opening a virtual company or Vico can open doors to many opportunities as an independent freelancer.
With the perks it has to offer—operating as a company but still working individually and optimizing your income by cashing in on others’ skills—it’s one of the smartest strategies to provide more value to your clients.
Use this article to start building your freelance team, and take your career up a notch by partnering with experts like yourself to provide a truly immersive service experience to your clients.
Need help building a freelance team?
Vicoland is a platform that connects freelance teams with large enterprises looking to get their requirements fulfilled by a team of experts. You create a Vico (virtual company) and we’ll handle the rest while you make more money. Sign up today, it’s free!