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How to Create Partnerships in Business: Freelancing Your Skills

Creating Partnerships in Business

In the early stages of your entrepreneurship journey, a great way to grow your network and your client book is by creating partnerships. There are several different types of partnerships you can have with someone. One type of partnership is freelancing for someone. Essentially, this means you freelance for them and they hire you out to do work for them or their clients on a retainer or mutually agreed upon rate. In exchange for this connection, you typically pay a referral fee to your partner. Not only does this help you build a solid portfolio, but it helps you build your network. By creating these partnerships, you open yourself up to new opportunities. Your network and your portfolio can be difficult to build in the early years of entrepreneurship. Finding someone to assist you in creating business partnerships is integral to your early success.

So how do we do it? First, we need to establish that connection with someone. Ask people already within your network who they can connect you to that would be open to this type of exchange. Second, you need to define what skills you’re open to freelancing. For example, La.Rue is very multifaceted. So things like my coaching are reserved to clients who find me and I interview to see if the fit is right. But something like my creative studio services are perfect for freelancing. I freelance my services for branding and website design in exchange for a smaller rate, this way the priority is building the network and the portfolio.

Creating Partnerships in Business: Freelancing Your Services

In the early stages of entrepreneurship, things like bartering or exchanging services for testimonials is necessary to growing your portfolio. It’s just simply apart of the journey— you bust your butt and do things at an extremely low (or even free) rate so that you can build your “proof.” As you continue to grow, you’ll feel more confident establishing hard rates and charging what you know you’re worth. But there is a little bit of gray area in between where you might have these freelance positions before your signing clients solely based on referrals or organic discovery. This is the time to be leveraging this partnerships and building out your books.

Establishing these connections

In the coming weeks, we’ll be discussing more of how to grow your network as an entrepreneur (stay tuned for my attendance of this years Forbes 30 under 30 conference). But in the meantime, the message we both need to hear is simply about putting ourselves out there. If you’re not in a hub city like me where networking opportunities are abundant, it’s all about curating these connections on social media and through already established relationships. Ask yourself who do I know that could make a beneficial connection for me? Who can I connect with on Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter that has a similar interest as I do? By putting yourself (and your business) out there more, you’re already planting the seed in people’s ears. And the next time they hear of someone looking for what you do, they’ll share your name.

It’s all about making sure people know who you are, what you do, and why you’re valuable. And as you start making these connections and establishing those values, it’s up to you to continue to nurture these relationships. And as you’re making these connections, you’ll need to start looking for someone you can partner with. Someone who is open to a partnership agreement where they exclusively refer you to their clients for the service that you offer. You’ll create a mutually agreeable contract for your rate and their referral fee, and from there, you can watch your network and portolfio blossom.

How these partnerships benefit the long term growth of your business

The partnerships that I maintain have helped connect me to very well established women in business. These are connections I wouldn’t have known how to make. And now, not only are they in my client book, but I’m continuing to foster these relationships so that they become the referrals. I’m adjusting project scopes and working my butt off to make sure every client knows how valued they are. This is what creates that buzz that we’re all looking for. One client tells a friend who tells a friend and before you know it, your network has doubled or tripled in size because the name you’re creating for yourself is memorable. As you continue to grow, your need for these partnerships will become less and less. But the relationships will remain and the network will continue to grow.

Creating partnerships in business is so incredibly beneficial to your long-term growth. It’s such an easy way to build out your skills and your network. And all it requires is your desire to put yourself out there. Tell more and more people about what you do and why it serves them. Share your big ideas and let people know that this is what you’re aspiring towards. Anyone in business will tell you that it’s about the people you know. In fact, my mentor (and the partnership I maintain) has said repeatedly— in fact, is quoted in Architectural Digest for saying people are buying you first and then your portfolio. Because it’s all about the people you know and the way they’re willing to help connect you.

Xo,  lauren

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