The freelancers over at The Freelance Collective was utterly thrilled to be longlisted for funding by The Walkley Media Incubator and Innovation Fund.

The judges culled the list down from 160 entrants, and there were only two freelance projects in the list. The other project was just at idea stage.

It was a thrilling ride. We were put through our paces for a few weeks, with online mentor and mastermind sessions, questions galore, introductions to others in the program and some serious naval-gazing. A big thanks to the awesome Rose Powell of The Walkley Foundation for all the hard work and for making us such a welcome part of the longlist.

But last week, the shortlist was announced, and we weren’t on it. But we’re looking at the glass half full, and thinking about how amazing the experience was for us. It has allowed us to communicate the benefits of this platform to freelancers – the fact that we’re a community, and also in turn a free searchable database for clients in the market for vetted Australian freelance creative talent.

While many of the media innovations on the list directly impact journalism, our contribution to journalism is a small part of what we do – in that we support Australian freelance journalists. We offer support, advice and the odd freebie to freelance journalists and many of their laptop-toting freelance colleagues such as freelance photographers, editors, web developers, graphic designers, bloggers, copywriters and more.

We exist to enable anyone in the market for a talented Australian freelancer to jump on the platform and find the freelancer with the right skills for that upcoming project. Then, they simply reach out to them direct, and start building relationships. No logins, no passwords, and it’s completely free.

In celebration of our spot on the longlist, we’ve pulled together a list of the reasons why we believe we made it onto The Walkley Program longlist.

  1. Because we were built BY freelancers, FOR freelancers.

Australian freelance business journalist Nina Hendy first conceptualised the platform. After months of conversations and planning with other freelancers, the platform was built over a period of five months in the first half of 2015. We wanted to build a membership site that enabled freelancers to build their own profile page for a low fee. And it’s worked.

  1. Because we support Australian freelance talent.

We’re the only community of our kind in Australia, and as far as well can tell, in the world. The freelancers listed on the platform have formed collaborations, we share work opportunities, job leads, concerns about the industry, offer support, hire each other, refer on work leads, share tools we love and talk about the ups and downs of freelancing

  1. Because we’re also a talent database for clients to freely search

On the flipside, we’re a searchable talent database. Clients can come and search the freelancers listed without signing up or logging in. They can just browse our sea of faces, find someone with the skills they’re searching for, and reach out to them and start building relationships.

  1. Because we’re a new concept that works in Australia.

Slowly but surely, the number of freelancers listed on the platform are growing. While we don’t have deep pockets, we have big dreams to enable clients to reach out direct to top talent, and start building relationships with freelancers they want to work with. We’re adding new faces every week after checking their skills out, and then introduce them to the others. We feel connected to each other. We share jobs. We ask questions of each other. We share concerns about developments happening in the industry. We’re online freelance colleagues.

  1. Because we insist that those who join are talented freelancers

We have had to knock back some freelancers who have wanted to join our sea of faces because they just haven’t had the runs on the board. No hard feelings. We exist to promote top talent, and we want clients to come to the platform and find great talented Australian freelancers – not full-timers in office jobs who haven’t made the leap yet, students, those just starting out or overseas freelancers.

  1. Because we’ve invested in the site build from our own back pockets.

The cost of building a membership site with the functionality of The Freelance Collective isn’t cheap, and we’ve funded the build of the platform ourselves. Freelance income has funded a very expensive build, and we’ve got so many more plans to keep evolving and perfecting the platform over the coming 12 months.

A BIG thanks to The Walkley Foundation again, and good luck to those heading through to the next round!

Nina Hendy

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