The humble freelancer walks the earth alone, scrounging for work and fending off competitors. The freelancer fights for every inch, spots opportunities from great distances and staunchly protects the people, knowledge and possessions obtained over time. Our instincts are to covet and keep secret in order to survive the freelance industry but is this approach the best course of action to build a freelance business?

Many freelancers are paranoid that by sharing a contact, passing on a job they can't do or information that they will lose out. We've heard the odd tale of freelancers who were unable to work on a job, passed on the role to another freelancer only for the company to choose the substitute the next time around. However, for every one of those stories we've heard ten examples of the opposite. A freelancer who passes a job on to another will be remembered fondly by the beneficiary and will often be top of the list when that freelancer needs cover in the future. There are steps you can take to ensure that your generosity is rewarded and how you pass it on, makes all the difference. 

When negotiating or brokering deals in the work place (or in life) there are a few potential outcomes. The deal can result in a LOSE / LOSE, A WIN / LOSE or a WIN / WIN. The goal is always to aim for a WIN / WIN whereby all parties involved are satisfied with the outcome. In this incidence, there are 3 parties involved so the objective is a WIN / WIN / WIN!!! Stay with me, here's how to do it. 

Should you have a relationship with a business and you are unable to do a job or, heaven forbid, take a holiday, give the company plenty of notice and offer to provide a recommended replacement. The last thing a company wants to do is search for another freelancer and the chances of finding someone as good as you are slim! Referring a friend does three things. Primarily you are saving the company a couple of days of work (WIN), secondly you are protecting your position - if you manage the situation well (WIN) and lastly your referred friend gets the job and owes you one (WIN + BONUS WIN). 

Choosing who to refer is also important. Some freelancers have like to refer someone slightly weaker which, in a self conscious decision to protect their contact, often results in the company thinking they're a bad judge of character. In our experience, refer the best person for the job who is also trustworthy and you'll find yourself in a WIN, WIN, WIN situation. Before you refer the freelancer, speak to you friend first and explain the situation that you've got a long term relationship with the company and can't make this particular job. If they do a good job, they'll most likely be able to fill in should you require someone in the future. 

Aside from the karmic boost you'll receive when you refer a freelancer, you're stature will grow in the community and your value as a freelancer will rise. 

As ones never to preach that which we don't practice, we've launched our Refer A Freelancer Program to offer you and your freelance mates big savings. Pass on your unique referral code to receive £5 credit every time someone uses it. Your credit will be used automatically against your next membership payment and your referred pal will get a discount of 50% off their first first month (or 10% off six months). Your Referral Code can be found in your Account Settings (the cog symbol at the top of the page). For full details, click here and scroll down to the Referral Program. 

For more on our Refer a Freelancer Program search #ShareToSave on Twitter.