What Freelancers Want - Views from our Freelancers Day Social

If you read our recent blog post, you’ll know that we’re big fans of the PCG’s National Freelancers Day here at FreeAgent. This year, we decided to go a step further and arranged our very own FreeAgent Freelancers Day Social - we threw open the doors of FreeAgent Towers, cracked open the beer fridge and invited freelancers from across Scotland to come and mingle and share their experiences of the freelance sector.

In a somewhat bold move, we also decided against having any scheduled talks - instead preferring to let guests lead their own discussions. Amid the evening’s various conversations, it struck me that there were two distinct types of freelancer, specifically:

  • Those who prioritise creating a sustainable, reasonably reliable freelance business,
  • and those who prioritise growth and see freelancing as the way conquer their chosen field.

Over the night, it became clear to me that each group seems to be looking for different things from networking events.

To oversimplify, it looked like those on the ‘sustainable’ side of the fence were most interested in the 'best practice' kind of interaction -- they wanted to keep up with techniques and people to ensure that work keeps coming in for them. On the other hand, those who focused on 'growth' wanted more contact time from people who have grown their own businesses and managed large teams successfully - almost more about mentoring, guidance, and aspirational stories. That’s not to suggest that those sustainable freelancers are too long in the tooth for these kinds of stories and this kind of guidance, it's just that you can almost hear eyes roll when a speaker of this nature rocks up in front of the ‘wrong’ crowd.

Ultimately though, and regardless of how people define their personal position as a freelancer or micro business, it just never fails to amaze me how enthused people are about sharing and collaborating with their peers. And while future iterations of our own Freelancers Day Social may become a bit more structured, it’s feels as though our break-from -the-norm evening gave everyone that bit more freedom to share, and gave us some valuable insight. Whether that had anything to do with the beer, of course, is another matter...

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the growth versus sustainability idea, and what you think works best for a freelancer networking event. Let us know in the comments!

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