Why not collaborate?

collaborationResistance is futile! Honestly, it is. In the United Kingdom, especially in the North East where I am from we’re a very guarded group. Collaboration isn’t a well thought of thing in fear of losing some reputation or work to someone else. Unlike the US and other regions in the world where collaboration is a lot more key in growing your network and income.

There is almost a fear of losing something whilst collaborating. The necessity to keep lots of things close to your chest can sometimes cloud your judgment as to why you should try collaborating on projects.

I want the money!

Well yes, you probably do… On the other hand you can only be a master at a few things. If you try to specialise in far to many things, you will only be mediocre in them, you’ll never be top rate and you will never be able to charge top ‘dollar’ for it either. I know getting a big job with many things involved sounds fantastic, heck, I horde work like the best of them however I have learned over time that you can only do so much. There are so many other people out there that are fantastic at their own unique skill.


Too many people think they can’t say anything to another professional in the same industry just in case something happens, whether it be client theft, theft of their own work or something else silent and deadly. It is all common sense really and using your own theory about ‘disposable information’, this is the information which you put in to a category of being something you can talk about openly. Not everything needs to be kept close to your chest.

Learn through being open

Whilst you collaborate on projects and do an overall better job because each individual team member is a specialist in their own right you can learn from each other and expand on your own knowledge. Granted you may not want to specialise in the things that you’re learning but you can definitely understand more about the work of your collaborative friends so you can work even more efficiently on the next project.
At the end of the day you could just give collaborating a go and see if it’s for you. You may find that it expands your own services and in turn increases your turnover.

Let me know what your thoughts are and how you get on.

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Head of Interaction and Service Design at DigitalDWP.

5 thoughts on “Why not collaborate?”

  1. Here in the 1DayLater HQ we’re working on “the ultimate collaborative event” for next year – just a drawing on the chalkboard at the moment, but it’s for a good cause and we’ll need as many designers and coders as we can… are you in?

  2. So true.

    Collaboration – especially for us freelancers – is extremely important, both for business reasons and for personal growth. Challenging eachother and bouncing ideas around is what makes a good project great.

    About the ‘Shhhh’ part – Also true. And this one baffles me. I know other freelance designers who are afraid to have their own personal blog in fear that their current/potential clients will read it. Like that’s a bad thing?!

    Clients and collaborators WANT to read what you have to say. It’s a good thing to show off your passion and expertise, and be open about your ideas. Keeping these things secret is the old way of doing things.

  3. Definitely agree, the only problem I have is that there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there who needs me skillset for their work (ASP.NET MVC) although I’m a decent front-end developer/designer too.

    The real issue is, I don’t know many people nowadays having quit working in the city; there’s noone local to bounce ideas off.

    I’m well up for not only collaborating, but working seperately in the same location just to have some web-banter with like-minded folks! Maybe then collaboration will occur naturally anyway.

    1. Hey Steve,

      Personally I don’t see location as a restriction in who you can connect with for whatever reason. I currently communicate, regularly with design folk from around the world. WooThemes, as an example are in 3 separate locations yet managed to develop and grow a business.

      Do you go to the likes of Supermondays? Think and a Drink etc?

      Might be worth looking in to.


  4. I have been to SuperMondays and I enjoyed it – the main problem for me was everyone who attended seemed to have at least one person accompanying them from work, whereas I was on my own – networking is NOT my strength tbh!

    Something I need to work on 🙂

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