Have you heard of Pando? Known as the ‘Trembling Giant’, it’s one of the world’s largest living organisms, a colony of trees sharing a single root system. On the surface, each individual tree has its own unique beauty. But below the surface, it is communicating, sharing resources, and thriving for thousands and thousands of years. It got me thinking, “That’s the power of working in teams.” Especially, to me, as a freelancer.
Being my own boss, defining my work hours, and working wherever I want gives me the freedom to create an ideal work-life balance that is difficult to achieve in an office-based job. But whether it’s at the beach, in a cafe, or at a desk at home, the perks of working anywhere as a freelancer can seem like I’m always just a one-person team. No co-workers to chat with in the hall, bounce ideas off of, or spend a nightcap after a long day’s work.
Freelance work, in this sense, has the potential to be isolating. Even if business is good and I am working on one project after another, without interactions it can lead to disillusionment and burnout. But, when looking closely behind the tabs and apps I have open on my screen, I realize I’m actually part of the most diverse team possible.
Being part of BriteBirch for the past three years has allowed me to change my perspective on freelancing. I may be working by myself, for myself but I am also part of a team. Networks, such as BriteBirch, give opportunities to freelancers to connect not just with potential clients but with fellow freelancers as well. Interactions are different compared to in-person teams but actually highlight the value of teamwork that you probably don’t pay much attention to.
Here are some examples:
1# Your drive will motivate others
As a freelancer, your hustle is your muscle. If you’re not driven to grow your business and experience, good projects will be hard to come by.
I’ve been part of different freelance teams and the ones I enjoy the most are those where everyone is driven to get things done efficiently and effectively.
Without the luxury of team building and coaching activities, working with equally passionate team members becomes a source of motivation, not just to get things done, but to also be better.
2# Diverse perspectives lead to bigger ideas
Working with freelancers is such a unique way to open yourself to a wealth of experience and points of view. You get to hear insights from different backgrounds and cultures based on first-hand experiences, something a Google search isn’t able to give.
Sharing perspectives allows us as freelancers to broaden our minds and see different ways to address a project brief. In the end, learning about different cultures and industry backgrounds also benefits the brands and companies we work with as we are able to have a perspective that can protect them from making misguided communications campaigns.
Embrace the diverse perspectives and voice yours, too. Instead of simply taking on a project brief, connect and engage with fellow freelancers to get fresh perspectives. You’ll be surprised how sharing insights can inspire your creative process.
3# It pays to reach out
If there’s one thing I learned to appreciate in working with freelance teams, it’s the different time zones. I’ve learned to see an advantage rather than a hindrance to connecting. Working late in the Philippines time and stuck in a creative rut? I would ping a fellow freelancer in Italy who’s up and about to brainstorm ideas.
We’re also at a time when platforms are available for organized discussion without having to schedule a call. At BriteBirch we have Slack channels for anything under the sun– from sharing work opportunities to sharing thoughts and ideas that can spark creative inspiration.
4# Collaborate day in, day out
Working independently does not mean you have to do everything on your own. Design work is not your strength? Collaborate with a freelance designer. Need in-market insights? Tap that fellow strategist that fits the demographic. When we collaborate with others, not only do we get an extra hand on the task but it also opens the door to gathering and winning new businesses together.
5# Every team needs a leader
When you have a group working independently, it always helps when you have someone who reminds you that we are like the Pando and that when we work collaboratively and we feed on each other’s strengths, we deliver better results. At BriteBirch, we call them the Client Architects. They are assigned to each project to communicate vision, understand the strategic needs of the clients, and streamline the team’s work.
You are part of a collective.
As freelancers, we are often seen as specialists. Most of the time clients are bound to manage multiple freelancers delivering different outputs. While a designer can produce the most creative design, without strategic guidance it might fail to address an objective. This is where coming together, as a team, matters most. When we join forces, we are able to solve more complex challenges for our clients and we can see the impact our work has on the business. It increases everyone’s value for the client and for our own work.
Want to find out how BriteBirch Collective would curate a team to support your business with the right perspectives? Get in touch for a free consultation.