Every idea starts from a place of either wanting to solve a problem or wanting to be of service to a community in some way. FreelancerHer was no exception, for several years I have wanted to give back to my fellow freelance designers, in a meaningful way–knowing the struggles of getting started and the lessons to be learned along the way of being a small business owner. This was the struggle.
In late 2015 I had taken part in a SmallProductLab challenge by Gumroad, the goal was to create and launched a product within 10-days. I choose to write an ebook about freelancing. While it was rough (and only sold 2 copies), it was a good start. Was this it? My contribution? Another e-book, was really the best I could come up with? So, I shelved it with plans to later to turn it into a blog where the information would be more polished and refined. About a year later I thought, I'll write about all the things no one wants to talk about when it comes to freelancing. My failures, my hardships, But, other than my own unique voice and experiences––what really made it different? It still felt like just a blog to me and I didn’t want it to be yet another freelance blog bobbing along in the ocean of the web. If you google ‘freelance blog’ you get over 5million results.
Then in March of 2016 I had the opportunity to attend Epicurrence, a gathering of creative people to learn, listen and generally have fun together, in this case it was in the snow on the mountains of Tahoe. I took huge inspiration from Dann Petty and his efforts to bring this amazing community together and create meaningful relationships along the way with his events. I left feeling re-inspired and re-fueled in my passion for giving back. Like most things that aren’t fully formulated, I set it aside until I had a clearer direction of what I wanted it to be, never forgetting it but just allowing it to marinate for the time being. More than a year past and I wasn't sure anything was really going to happen.
In September 2017 I was tired of waiting and decided to kick start the idea again, this time I had a name in mind. Two actually, and after bouncing between them for a while unable to decide, I realized I needed to reached out to someone much smarter and wittier than myself for a little help; my twitter pal, Paul Jarvis(Thanks Paul)! After asking what he thought about both names helped me settle on FreelanceHer.
That November, I had to reluctantly put it on hiatus again for a few months while we moved our family and life overseas to Japan. But as it turned out, this was the biggest blessing, because in that time something amazing happened and my direction with this project became crystal clear. You see back in early 2017, in the interim of creating something myself, I had decided to sign up to be a mentor on Out Of Office Hours, hoping to help mentor any fellow freelancers, who were actively seeking it. By early 2018 a clear pattern had emerged. All the request I had been getting were from female designer/developers who were either very interested in freelancing or were in the beginning stages of their freelance careers. These very capable, smart women were simply looking a little guidance and some tips to help them along. And request were only starting to pick up, by March of 2018 I was averaging one session a week.
By the end of March, Justin Jackson reached out to his MegaMaker list (which I am apart of) just to check in to see what we were working on and if he could help in any way. Justin is another creative and entrepreneur who I have followed over the years and learned a tremendous amount from about marketing, testing ideas and so much more. So again, I reached out to someone with much more experience in this area than myself and got a big thumbs up on the idea saying “always listen to your audience.”And with that, FreelanceHer––an idea that began as wanting to help freelancers has evolved into a site aimed specifically at helping the women in our industry.
"The critical question is not "How can I achieve?" but "What can I contribute?"— Jim Collins