Flexible Freelancing, That Works For ME!
There has never been a more relevant time to talk about flexible and remote working. Whilst we don’t know exactly what the future looks like, we do know that this current situation is one of the most fundamental changes to working practices that we’re likely to see in this lifetime. Like our good friends at Find Your Flex, we have been talking about this for a while now. In particular, we talk about remote work and we’re excited to see whether this current work revolution changes things. Why I launched That Works For Me Five years ago I gave birth to my first child. Five months later I went back to my Board level job in the City, cramming 5 (6 really!) days of work a week into 4 days. It didn’t work. There wasn’t enough time in my day for my team, my fellow board members, or most importantly, my family. I battled on for a while until I fell pregnant with my second, when I had to leave the business I had been destined to lead one day. After a few months of baby groups and walks in the park, I grew restless. I was used to using my brain, running businesses and interacting with people. I missed it. I kept meeting woman after woman, occasionally a man, who had held huge jobs before children and were now either bored doing nothing or were doing something that bore no resemblance to the skill and experience they had acquired pre-children. One ex-CMO was considering working in her local shop and it outraged me! Around that time, a friend of mine who runs a very successful business almost went under because her finance team had reported her cashflow incorrectly. I questioned why she didn’t have a CFO. She looked at me like I was mad. “I can’t afford a CFO and I don’t have enough work for one!” she told me. It was then I had my lightbulb moment. “Just get a Mum! Get someone who only wants 7 or 8 days work a month. Get someone who’s done it before at a high level but is looking for work that isn’t the standard 9 to 5!” Setting up That Works For Me I approached my best friend and now business partner, Nic, and we studied the market. We deliberated different business models, eventually settling on an online platform that would connect these smart businesses with the skills they needed and deserved. One miscarriage, a third baby and a long platform development later, That Works For Me launched last December. We connect skilled professionals in need of flexible and remote work with forward thinking businesses. We specialise in remote freelance roles. Our mission is to bring people back into the workplace on their terms and stop skills going to waste. We want to bring businesses the skills they deserve when they need them, and we want businesses to grow up and get bigger knowing how to effectively manage a remote workforce. Our services For individuals, we offer freelance opportunities that are largely remote. They can apply for opportunities, with a CV or a quotation as appropriate. We make all our members sign up to our Make It Work commitments which are a series of promises around who they say they are and what they are capable of. We also advertise flexible roles on behalf of others - like Find Your Flex! For businesses we offer something pretty special. They can search our pool of almost 2,000 skilled professionals, largely UK-based, that can do what they say they can do. Businesses post what they are looking for inviting people to quote, or wait for people to find them. We ask businesses to agree to Make It Work commitments too, they must agree they have the work they offer, that they are flexible and they understand people have a life outside work. We share new opportunities to relevant members via email alerts, on our social channels and in our Facebook group. These comms channels are really important to us as the majority of our members are parents, carers or unable to physically leave their homes. We have a very active blog with numerous guests offering insights such as legal expertise or other freelancer stories. We have a monthly hero, a business or a person whose mission is similar to ours. We also recognise that some people want a different service so we work with some of the specialist recruiters and jobs boards in this space to bring more opportunities to our members. Our heartland though is in remote opportunities for skilled freelancers. It’s what we do best! How it works We work on a membership plan basis. Freelance membership is totally free. Business membership is, importantly, proportionate to the business size. We hope to bring the right people to the right businesses and don’t charge small businesses unaffordable rates. We offer one off payments or an ongoing monthly membership. All posts are currently free while we get through COVID-19. We have almost 2,000 users registered. Our members have such a diverse range of skills - linguists, teachers, project managers, social media managers, writers, HR specialists, financiers, producers, photographers, solicitors, developers - it’s extraordinary the things people are capable of. We marvel every day at just how different everyone is! Set up as a social enterprise, we will reinvest 5% of our profits back into our cause. We will support charities, offering them heavily discounted memberships and we will only work with organisations that truly believe in the value of flexible working. It’s life before work for us and all of our associates. Our response to COVID-19 We did, and are doing, what we can to bring existing opportunities to freelancers and to support businesses in finding what they need quickly. Just today we have found a business development manager and marketing manager for a virtual training organisation whose workload has significantly increased. But we, like everyone else, have our families at home. I have three children under six and both my husband and I are self employed so we are in the same camp as our customers. A few weeks ago we we also launched the #WeNeedPeople hashtag in response to so many freelancers and casual staff having their contracts cancelled, due to the coronavirus, with organisations whose workloads have hugely increased in an attempt to serve the community. We continue to link these groups up in the hope that fewer people find themselves in financial distress and big businesses can deliver food and care to the people that need it. The Future We have used our own platform to find help where we need it - with content marketing, business development, CRO and design - and we know how brilliantly it can work. The fluidity of skills we need when we need them makes us dynamic and able to respond quickly. I like to say we are made up of a mosaic of talent. We think that current circumstances will make companies realise the value of remote workers and that it’s much easier than they think to work with a remote team. The need for remote working has never been more relevant than it is today and we want to bring businesses together with the experience and skill they deserve.
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