Recap: Ad 2's Freelance Unpacked
Last night, I attended AdFed / Ad 2 Minnesota’s event, Freelance Unpacked, at a coworking space in Minneapolis called Industrious. A year ago I didn’t even know what a coworking space was, but lately I’ve not only heard more about them, but in less than 24 hours I’ve had the opportunity to spend time at two!
Industrious and COCO are great options for getting your gears turning, without having to pay for your own storefront. Plus, collaboration oozes out the walls of these places. So many startups, so little time!
I was excited for this event because I am trying to grow my freelance services and gain more clients as part of my “side hustle.” Last night, I heard from local creatives who turned their side hustle into a career.
THE GIG ECONOMY
The panelists and moderator were throwing the phrase Gig Economy around quite a bit and I sat in my surprisingly comfy chair thinking, “Okay, what the heck is the gig economy?” Until it dawned on me: it’s the act of contributing to the economy through a series of gigs (because, as a freelancer/contractor, your work is never stable; it’s not a 9-5, and you can’t come to rely on a consistent paycheck.)
Our moderator, Sarah Smith of Options Insurance, asked: Is the gig economy a growing market, or is it just a trend?
According to our panelists, gig work isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, one panelist mentioned that today, somewhere between 55-60 million Americans work independently. And that number is growing.
Additionally, larger corporations are starting to realize that the talents and types of people they want to work with won’t always want to work on their team or in their office, in which case it works better for both parties to contract the work.
Q: How do you get clients?
A: Create content that you like and that you find interesting, because others will find it interesting, too.
A: Ask for feedback and reviews from those you work with, and post them on your site.
A: Exchange services in the beginning if you have to, just to get your name out there.
A: You have to become a salesperson (even if you don’t like sales).
Q: What advice would you give your younger self about getting started?
A: Take the time to do the hard work of understanding yourself before jumping in.
A: You have to understand you’ll be working harder, longer hours—especially early on.
A: Learn how to save money when you’re busy, and to chill out when things are slow.
A: Put money aside for taxes right away (ha!)
Put in a little bit of work everyday, so when something comes up, you’re not thrown completely off schedule.
Have a network of people who can help you out when you’re in a pinch.
Go places where people will buy your services.
Learn how to meditate.
I have a lot to do!