• Ana Gascon Ivey

Make More Money with Strategic Partners

Freelancers fly solo most days. But strategic alliances can boost your productivity — and your bank account.

Simply put, a strategic alliance is a partnership between two or more businesses. They remain independent but collaborate toward a common objective.

Alliances will help all parties grow their businesses, including your own. Take a moment to explore these scenarios and you’ll understand how:

• Partner with another freelancer who complements your skills. Work to together to create package deals. For instance, a website designer can partner with a content writer. As a team, they can both overhaul existing websites or create new websites from scratch.

• Partner with other freelancers who offer the same services. Go after bigger clients with more robust needs. For example, say a large tech company needs a graphic designer to create a dozen pieces of marketing collateral. If you don’t have the bandwidth to do it all, partner with another graphic designer. Agree on how you will execute the designs and divide the work.

• Partner with freelancers who are willing to work as contractors under you. This is a slightly different business model, but a profitable one to consider. Say you’re currently swamped, but don’t want to say no to a lucrative project. Hire a freelancer to do the work for you and take a cut of the project fee. Be up front with the client. Tell her you need to farm out the gig to one of your qualified contractors, but you’ll make sure to proofread the work before delivery. Not only do you deliver the goods to your client, you earn passive income, too!

Here's a perfect example of a strategic alliance. Lynn Swords, founder of the branding agency Ink & Key, has forged a relationship built on trust with a trademark attorney.

“The trademark attorney introduces her clients to me if the client needs a new company name. Conversely, if a client comes to me first and I help them get a brand name, I refer my client to the attorney for trademarking. She gives my clients an Ink & Key discount. We provide value to each other.”

Do strategic alliances come with risks? Yes, that’s why you need to play it smart. Work with people who share the same values and ethics as you. Look for freelancers or business owners with sound reputations. Check out their reviews on social media or ask for referrals. The right relationship could be a win-win for you, your strategic partner and your clients.