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As a Freelance PHP Developer Should I Hire or Partner with Designer?

Reader Question:

I am a PHP freelancer and your blog has been an inspiration for my freelancing career. Thanks for all your help.

I work from home. For me, some projects need designing jobs which I am refusing that has led me to lose clients. I was thinking about hiring a designer. This is when a designer offered me to do things together. Should I hire a designer or should I partner with him? Just to let you know, if I hire I may have to look for a space as well.

-Anjan

Thanks for your question Anjan and I think this is a wonderful question for new individual freelancer who has part of skills and have started as an individual freelancer working from home but are not able to provide complete solutions.

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So should you hire or partner with someone to provide the complete end to end solution?

Partnership Scenarios

Consider these scenarios before being partners.

Scenario 1

Are you looking to partner on a per task basis or you are partnering as a whole. As an example you have one project on development and one project on design + development and so will you be partners in profit for both the projects?

If you plan to be partners in both projects skip to scenario 3 else continue to scenario 2

Scenario 2

What happens when design jobs are less than development jobs?

Will your partner be able to substitute skills of interaction with clients as you handle the flow of development jobs? Can he handle design projects + development clients like you have been handling development projects + design clients?

Scenario 3

What happens when you have more of development jobs and he has no work on offer?

You could be in command as you are interacting with clients. As you have more development projects, he may feel like you are not applying to projects where he can be part of.

How do you plan to keep a work balance for both?

Scenario 4

What happens when you both lack other skills? Do you plan to form a team in future and hire other people?

What if you shift focus from web design + development to something else?

Financial Scenarios

What if you want to hire more people and want to invest a lot more money in the business? Can your partner be able to invest along with you?

What happens when you make a loss?

Exit Scenarios

What happens when you or he no longer want to be a partner? What are the exit plans for each of you?

Conclusion

Once you have analyzed the above scenarios and any other scenario that you can imagine, you will have a clear picture of whether you want to be partners or should be hiring.

See also:

When You Should Be Partners

1. Vision

Partnership is not about complementary technical skills but more about the nature of the person you are partnering with.

The biggest advantage of partnerships are

  1. Offer lot more on the table.
  2. Reduce the risk.

The biggest disadvantage of partnerships are

  1. You can be pulled down on what you want to be doing that your partner don’t vision it.

Partnership should not be considered only when both have the required technical skills but are inline with the vision of the partnership and future prospects.

2. Scale Up

Freelancer’s has bottle neck of time. You have limited number of hours in a day and so you can always work with certain number of clients.

So if you want to be partnering, you should partner with someone who can be part of the client interaction process and help you multiply your revenue instead of just add to it.

Final Thoughts

Partnership should not be formed just because you think you can be partners. It should be based on what are the possible options that can come up and what you would prefer doing in each of those situations.

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