After completing independent research into the Australian Freelance landscape, a genuine need for access to a network of people who understood each other became abundantly clear.
All around the country, Australian freelancers were suffering from isolation and disconnection. At the same time, many of these freelancers were battling with the same issues- unsteady workflow, clients who expected too much and offered to pay too little, gaps in knowledge when it came to specific issues faced, or wanting to simply have someone who understood the Australian freelance lifestyle.
Unashamedly Creative, as the report writer and research conductor, decided to improve the situation with a series of monthly events called ‘The Freelance Jungle’.
This was later expanded to reach out and find a freelancer across all states and territories in Australia and Australian freelancers living the digital nomad life via the online Freelance Jungle on Facebook.
The aim of the Freelance Jungle was to:
- Bring freelancers together to share information and end the sense of isolation
- Create a space where thrusting business cards in each other’s face and clambering for work was not the focus
- Establish a network of like minded people who could help each other to answer questions, allay fears and share knowledge and practical experience
- Find a freelancer sharing the highs and lows of the industry on a regular basis with a supportive, low sales orientated environment
Making use of the original list of email addresses from Australian freelancers gained during the survey, I sent out regular emails on freelancing for the initial period before setting up the events.
From here, a Meetup was launched and used as the central focus for events under the name of the Freelance Jungle.
This has now been expanded to include an online community on Facebook to cater to the Australian freelance market.
The Meetup group plus original list, Facebook online community and acquired connections over time makes the Freelance Jungle 1000 strong. This makes it easy to find a freelancer to work together, have a chat and share stories.
The Freelance Jungle is a respected and well known casual event for freelancers.
Freelance Jungle has been approached by numerous co-working spaces looking to tap into the market, and the occasional commercial sponsor looking to pay for our drinks and buy us toys. To the present day, beyond asking the Freelance Jungle to change format and move venue, no really helpful offers have been made. The recognition of the Freelance Jungle demonstrates the value of the freelance market and we appreciate the kudos.
Based on the success of Sydney, the Freelance Jungle has been kicked off in Wollongong and Brisbane. These remain central to the focus on making it social with a no sales pitch ethos, run by freelancers for freelancers.