When my team and I ditched our office and transitioned to a freelance-only remote team in 2015, there wasn’t much in the way of a guideline for us to follow. We had launched the previous year with a conventional setup. The company consisted of a small team of full time employees in a pokey office in Shoreditch, London. The core team worked 9 to 6, five days a week and we occasionally reached out to friends of ours who were freelancers to fill skill gaps. Like most startups, we were learning as we went along but the decision to radically alter the company structure felt like we were stepping into the abyss.
When we first set up Freelancer Club, we wanted to make a difference. Having come from a freelance career, we knew the challenges, ups and downs, uncertainties and joys of the freelance lifestyle. We also understood that a successful freelance career is not built on quick fixes so we set out on a different path.
Art Pays Me invited us to chat on their podcast to discuss the value of creativity, where it comes from, unpaid work and how Freelancer Club transitioned from an office-based structure to a distributed team. The host, Dwane Jones, asks the questions, the guest Matt Dowling, founder of the Freelancer Club provides the answers.
Freelancer Club is one of the leading voices in the self-employed space. In addition to speaking on the freelance landscape, we are often quoted on the future of work, remote working, distributed teams, and the agile workforce. Quoted in Forbes, our CEO and Founder, Matt Dowling, along with 31 other leaders give their insights on remote working and how they utilise it.
Many freelancers have received support payments that may end up being the difference between surviving and going bust. However, around 2 million of the 5 million self-employed in the UK were not eligible or weren't able to claim enough. The SEISS (self-employed income support scheme) has been welcomed by many but some people have said that it does not go far enough. We campaigned hard for SEISS and when it was announced, we got back on the trial to campaign again for those left behind.
When we launched the Freelancer Club, the term 'freelancer' was perceived as a stop gap when you couldn't get a 'real' job. The lack of support for freelancers, from Government level right through to online resources, was severely lacking and the freelance community was badly under-represented. BDaily News recently wrote an article about Freelancer Club's journey from 30 to 40,000 members, why the Club was set up and what the future holds.
Every freelancer will have their story. The lucky ones who have always been able to provide their service remotely will be okay, however, at the extreme end of the scale, some freelancers have lost their entire client list, had to move out of their home and are in a lot of debt. i News spoke to Freelancer Club about the impact COVID has had on the freelance community.
There has been so much confusion (an exclusion) regarding the Government support for freelancers. Are you eligible for SEISS? Is there any point in applying for Universal Income? Can you get a bounce back loan? Bustle asked us for our insights and advice.