Should freelancers partner up to form an agency?

The frustration of freelancing

Freelancing is a lonely business, and your ability to land clients is often limited by your own skills. Having a partner with a complementary skill set allows freelancers to increase the number of services they can offer, land bigger clients, and grow revenues.

What makes for a good partnership?

Partnerships between freelancers can consist of anything from client-sharing to merging companies. A key to forming an agency partnership is that you work well with the person or company you want to partner with. This usually begins with a trial-period where freelancers team up to deliver a project to clients. By working on a trial project, you can usually figure out whether or not the partnership is a good fit.

The three roles of partners in a business

There are three major roles that a business needs fulfill in order to succeed:

  • Business development focused — this role lands clients, develops relationships, drives sales and do marketing for the company.
  • Delivery focused — this role is in charge of delivering the products and services that the company offers.

Getting back to freelancers

Why shouldn’t two subject matter experts team up to form an agency? Because they are both focused on the same thing.

Stepping outside of comfort zones to fulfill partnership roles

The role a partner plays in a business is not just about natural talent. It also involves sacrifice and doing what is best for the company. A subject matter expert may need to go from being a delivery expert to a business development rainmaker, because that is what is best for the business.

How should partners divide equity?

Then comes the question of how to divide up equity among partners. The most common agreement is a 50/50 split of equity between the two freelancers. This way you can avoid uncomfortable situations and everyone is happy, right?

A partnership should make a business 200% better

In a partnership, 1+1=3.

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