The Freelance Conference claims the spot as the longest running, industry agnostic, freelance business conference in the world.
#FREECON is an event created by freelancers, for freelancers. It was born in the spirit of those who leave or are desiring to leave a job with the dream of time, freedom, better income, and the ability to control your own careers and life. The conference combines that shared vision with the reality of what it takes to make the dream of self-employment come true; a set of skills that few of us come equipped with in full.
Until this fall, I had never attended the Freelance Conference… But earlier this year, I had the opportunity to connect with event founder Emily Leach for a personal and frank conversation about freelancing and our experiences over the many years of being our own bosses. Not only were our experiences similar, but our views and philosophies were aligned so well that she extended an invitation to speak at the Freelance Conference — and of course, I said yes right away.
A Deep Dive Into Freelancing Success
Emily’s idea for #FREECON was to have another conversation like one the one we had earlier this year, but make it public and have it on stage with microphones. Candid, frank, honest conversations between two people can provide much deeper insights, better stories, and more entertainment so I was game. Plus, I didn’t have to prepare and design a slide deck!
The session wasn’t very long, so we didn’t really have time for a deep dive, but we did cover topics like:
- Bartering services, whether or not you should do it, and what to watch out for
- Charging your worth, raising your rates, and transitioning established clients to higher fees
- Working with my spouse
- What gave me the push to start my own business and begin freelancing
- How I got my first jobs and got established as a freelancer
Whenever I speak, I always try to attend the entire event to connect with other attendees and be available to answer their questions.
Between sessions, I was able to have some deeper, valuable conversations about my lessons learned in pitching design and presenting mockups, selling retainer work and managing retainer based projects, creating contracts, getting paid on time, and finding new clients. Because the Freelance Conference is industry agnostic, I was also able to connect with several incredibly talented people outside my industry for great conversations at the pre-party and after party. And, I ran into a few good friends too!
The Freelance Conference
The Freelance Conference ran September 7-9, 2017 and included:
- Thursday: During the day, there were talks and workshops at co-working spaces around Austin and at 4:00 pm, the Opening Party kicked off with cocktails, snacks, and life-size games like Connect Four, Cornhole, and Kerplunk.
- Friday: 20 minute sessions ran throughout the day, many of which felt really, really short. Lunch was provided on-site, but it was pizza, so my dairy-free self hopped in an Uber with some gluten-free attendees and we snagged lunch at a nearby food truck that was incredible. The after party at Live Oak Brewing Company began around 6:30 pm and since I’m not a beer drinker, I had all the water I wanted. The live band was awesome and connecting with other attendees for deeper, longer conversations under the trees and twinkle lights was a great way to cap off the event.
- Saturday: The second day was broken up into breakout sessions and long workshops in different rooms. Lunch was provided again, this time it was tacos and fries from a local food truck and it was also AMAZING. I had the tacos and the fries and I was in heaven.