We are glad to introduce you to Elina. She shares her precious insights and future predictions about the future of work and the freelance ecosystem with Rimuuters. Read the interview to learn more about the community and the Freelance Business Month.
1- Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your work.
Hello, I am Elina, Founder of the Freelance Business Community. By profession, I am an event producer and have been in the event industry since early 2000, working for technology companies, associations, event agencies, and in 2016, I started on my own.
2- Why did you choose to be an advocate for the freelance ecosystem? What was the reason for you to found the Freelance Business Community? Did a memorable incident steer your decision, and would you like to tell Rimuuters about it?
Since the moment I started freelancing, I felt that I am alone. I used to work with big teams, and now, I was on my own. I didn't know how to look for new assignments and find information about running an independent business. I teamed up with other freelancers and produced the first Freelance Business Day - at that time, a one-day live event in Brussels in 2018. That gave the start of the community.
3- As remote working is becoming more common among companies, how do you think it will impact the future of work? Do you think the freelance economy will grow faster in the future? What are your expectations or predictions?
One of the excellent sessions at the Freelance Business Month was about the Future of Work and how it will affect freelancers. Denise Brouder, former VP Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, shared her vision on this. She found it very interesting that the future of work is changing, but it is changing not in the workplace but the work-to-be-done.
Remote working has already been the norm for many. The crisis has only accelerated it for those who didn't want to accept this new form, considering that they are losing control of their resources.
It will positively reflect on the freelance movement, giving it extra growth. What has accelerated the freelance trend even more is, unfortunately, the sad fact that lots and lots of people lost their jobs. I hope that those who lost their jobs can realize that they have the full potential to start on their own and create the career of their dreams themselves. This is one of the motives for Freelance Business Month.
4- What are the biggest challenges of freelancers in today’s freelancing ecosystem, and how do you think the industry or the ecosystem can tackle these challenges?
For many years I was embarrassed to use 'freelance' in describing what I do. Every time I hear 'Freelance,’ I would go 'No, I am not freelance. I am a contractor or independent professional.’ I think it is not only me. Society, unfortunately, still believes that a freelancing job is not serious, temporary, secondary, and not necessary. Therefore the most crucial challenge we need to tackle is to talk about freelancers and freelancing as something valid, strong, smart, and first-class.
In conjunction with the Freelance Business Month, we launched the #iamfreelance campaign to stimulate the acceptance of the freelancing as an occupation. It was a step for me too, to start carrying the label #freelance. However strange it may sound from someone who originated the Freelance Business Community.
Other challenges depend on the country, but we need more social protection for freelancers and less tax burden. I've seen freelancers going bankrupt just because of overly complicated tax rates and systems.
5- Could you tell us more about your organization, Freelance Business Month? What should a freelancer expect to get from this event?
Freelance Business Month was born out of an idea to create a European-wide event for freelancers. Our goal was to unite the Freelance Economy, show the growing power of freelancing, make freelancing visible, and show freelancers that they are not alone.
By featuring almost 80 talks on starting and growing freelance businesses, we want them to get inspired by what others have done, learn how to accelerate their freelancing career, and be more successful. We gain wisdom with years, but we need to learn from each other very quickly in business. This event also includes a specific section on freelancer - HR relationship, which was undercover for a long time.
I wish that I would have had all the mentors and coaches next to me when I started. Now we have them available for freelancers for the entire month. By listening to fellow freelancers’ stories, we realize that we are going through the same issues. It helps to keep going and not to give up. Especially now, when the world has turned upside down.
Our invited speakers are independent profs, renowned high-level experts, book authors, TED and TEDx speakers, business owners, corporate leaders. Still, at the same time, we also gave the stage to the freelancers who never gave a presentation before. Where else would they learn and try if not at the Freelance Business Month?
Those who registered for the event may expect sessions every day, which can be attended online live, but also recorded and can be replayed at any time. Topics range from marketing to personal branding, from financial and legal advice to SEO in the form of interviews, masterclasses, training, and presentations. This is the place to have your questions answered. Attendees can also connect and run video meetings directly via the event platform and access some special deals, checklists, and invitations to courses and training. Some of them are free.
If you are interested in Freelance Business Community, you can follow them on social media.