Freelancers University launches to educate independent creatives
If you have ever thought about trying your hand at freelancing, do you know where to start? Do you have any idea how to find the right clients? What about dealing with difficult clients? Regardless of your experience level, recently founded Freelancers University aims to help answer those questions and make you a better freelancer by offering affordable education designed specifically for the independent creative community.
The founders of Freelancers University are really scratching their own itch. Julie Cortés and Jacob McDaniel have more than 15 combined years of experience as freelancers. In that time, they noticed that the community at large was missing out on an opportunity to help educate its members.
"Ever since I started The Freelance Exchange of KC, people have been coming to me with questions, asking to sit down over coffee, pick my brain, etc., "Cortés (left, photo from freelancersu.com)said. As a result, they Cortés and McDaniel to create a model that would allow those self-employed in a creative capacity to obtain education. Freelancers University will conduct live classes starting in November for as low as $30 and then make the content available online for attendees or those that choose to purchase it later. They will both post the videos of the courses and include the complete reference and source material used in the course.
Both Cortés and McDaniel are active members of the local freelancers community. Both run businesses and make efforts to be resources for other independent contractors. Because of their involvement around town, they have been able to get the word out quickly. "Our networks have helped mostly in getting the word out about this new business venture," Cortés said. "So many people think this is such a great idea and are more than willing to pass along the information as well as offer up their own contacts."
In three months, Freelancers U has been able to get a product off the ground, thanks in large part to a strong response from the community. "The first 'quarter' of course offerings seems to be received well," Cortés said. "We've had several sign-ups already, and we're confident that more will be coming as we get closer to the actual class dates."
Cortés continued: "It wasn't hard at all to find instructors. Again, folks are really excited about this." In fact, many instructors for Freelancers U's first set of courses sought Cortés and McDaniel out and offered to teach.
Cortés and McDaniel have ambitious aims for the future. They plan to create a place where employers and freelancers can meet to find work. Whereas some sites allow freelancers to bid against one another in a race to the lowest price, Cortés and McDaniel envision a system that allows employer and independent contractors to collaborate more closely to ensure quality results and a good working match.
"I am a very firm believer that you get what you pay for," McDaniel (left, photo from freelancersu.com) said. "I have worked with small and large companies, startups and independent contractors. All of them are varied rates, experience and techniques. Finding the right freelancer or contractor is always going to be a challenge, but we hope to eliminate the concerns most businesses have of working with freelancers." The Freelancers U model is similar to some other businesses around today, but is interesting because it is targeting a very specific need for a very specific community. If you learned to write in school, there is a good chance you did not learn how to run your own business. This sort of practical education not only allows individuals the opportunity to better ply their trade but also serves what Cortés and McDaniel see as a growing trend.
"The freelance community is definitely growing," Cortés said. "While there have always been freelancers, with today's economy, there are more than ever before. As ad agencies and companies had major layoffs, more individuals have entered the freelance space." While it is uncertain when companies will start rehiring in these creative sectors, there is a real possibility that more people will choose to stay freelancers instead of returning to traditional full-time employment. Freelancers U is here to help those people.