What is FreelancersU?

We’ve been getting questions lately about what we are and why we’re doing it. So, we figured we ought to repost this info for those of you who might’ve missed it the first time around. :) Coming from the CopyDiva herself, our fearless headmaster (head mistress??), Julie Cortés.

<– Dat’s me!

Freelancing has always been around – especially in creative fields. However, it’s recently sprung popularity as the labor market is shifting, sending 42 million Americans into contract work and freelance gigs amid a shortage of traditional jobs.

In the face of a grueling 9 percent nationwide unemployment rate, best estimates show as much a third of the workforce (source: Marketplace, American Public Media) as having some sort of non-traditional job, i.e., by way of freelance gigs and contract work.

The real problem, though, is that many of these solo professionals have no idea how to run a business. They may have gone to school for art, design, photography, writing, etc., but many did not take business classes because they simply were not required in order to obtain a degree.

Now, they’re out on their own, and while competent at their craft, many of them are not familiar with the various functions and idiosyncrasies of freelancing. Self-employed practitioners have to wear multiple hats; they are not just graphic designers, per se, but also project managers, account executives, research assistants, accountants, bookkeepers, new business developers, and more. Being unfamiliar with the various functions of running a successful freelance business can stress – or even sink – a fledgling career.

While several resources exist for small business owners, there aren’t many that are specifically dedicated to the self-employed creative professional, and those that are either don’t focus on the business basics and/or offer in-person training. This is why Freelancers University was born.

Freelancers U offers the tools needed to not only survive, but also thrive, as an independent businessperson in a creative industry. Designed to offer educational classes and workshops for those who wish to learn the basics, Freelancers U covers a wide range of topics, ranging from legal and business issues to marketing and finding work. Discipline and software-specific classes are also offered, as well as classes geared for those who hire freelancers. Users and attendees learn how to run their businesses smarter, easier and more efficiently through instructor-led, panelist, webinar and screencast class formats.

By providing classes that fill in the gaps left by formal education, Freelancers University offers students continuing education and current trends in: software, hardware, documentation, skills, tips, tricks, tools of the trade, industry standards and new technology. Other ideas are being implemented as we speak (write), so be on the lookout for more awesomeness to come!

For those in the Kansas City market, just to clarify, please note that Freelancers U is not part of The Freelance Exchange of KC. While the same mastermind (haha) is behind both efforts, they are not connected. Instead, they are designed to work in tandem with one another, with Freelancers U filling in the educational gaps and FX of KC providing a network of support and a easy way to find area freelancers. FX offers excellent programming, happy hours and special events (including a portfolio showcase and annual awards show), plus a printed directory and online database of area creative talent. Freelancers U is all education, all the time. Get it? Got it? Good.

Freelancers University is the go-to resource for the self-employed creative professional, providing savvy advice, best practices and industry standards. It’s not just for those just starting out. It’s for those who want to succeed. So tell us. Are you ready to Get Schooled?

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