A New York City woman created a network for women to have the resources they need to make it as a freelancer.
Tia Meyers used to work a corporate job at JetBlue and spent some time at a tech start-up before moving into the freelance space five years ago. When she was starting out in freelancing, Meyers found that it was hard to find answers to questions she had in the freelance industry.
“I found that freelance is very isolating, and there is really no safe space to ask questions about what to charge or what to do with a client who didn’t pay you on time,” said Meyers. “Through that, I started Freelancing Females.”
Meyers originally started Freelancing Females in 2017 as a Facebook group as a space for her friends and friends of friends who were women in the freelancing space. Meyers says that the group started as a place where these women can talk about their wins and losses in the industry, as well as discuss the challenges of navigating the economy as a freelancer.
To Meyers’s surprise, the group started to take off and grow larger than she could have imagined.
“I started it as a safe space to discuss nonpayment issues and offer support to women who are choosing to redefine the 9 to 5,” said Meyers. “Surprisingly, the group really took off and in the first month, we grew to 500 members. Now we’re over 50,000 members worldwide. We’re the world’s largest community of freelance women.”
In 2020 in particular, Meyers noticed a huge boom in attention due to the pandemic.
“It’s been incredible to see the growth, especially during the pandemic because so many women are turning to freelance now as they navigate the growing economy and changing economy,” said Meyers. “Many women also lost their jobs or needed to move toward a work-from-home environment so they came to Freelancing Females to help navigate that, especially in the last year. During the first few weeks of the pandemic in March, we received over 2,000 requests a week to join the Facebook group.”
Since the exponential growth of the Facebook group, Meyers launched Freelancing Females as a full business. The website offers resources for freelancers, as well as a directory of freelance women that you can come on to hire and a job board. Freelancing Females recently held a two-day conference that was centered around helping women kickstart and grow their freelance businesses that over 900 women attended virtually.
The website and Facebook group still tackle issues in freelancing, but due to the pandemic and the influx of new members, Freelancing Females has taken on other topics such as dealing with burnout, staying inspired and the overall navigation of working from home on a more regular basis.
“With so many new members, we are helping them navigate how do they move from a 9 to 5 to a freelance business, what are the tools needed to do so, and we’re here to also be support for those women because freelance can be a very isolating area of work, especially when you are starting out and just starting to navigate everything,” said Meyers. “It has grown immensely during the pandemic and we’ve been there for not only a place to find jobs but to ask questions that leads to making real connections because you can’t do so right now in an outside environment.”
In honor of International Women’s Day, Facebook recognized Meyer for her work with Freelancing Females as a part of their “Hall of Her” campaign. The campaign recognized women who are fearlessly building communities that impact societies in big and little ways.
“It’s been a huge honor to be featured as a part of Facebook’s ‘Hall of Her’ campaign. That I’m being recognized as a female community leader, I feel that the work we do in our Freelancing Females Facebook group is very important and I’m glad it’s being shared with a much wider audience now,” said Meyers. “The amount of work that we’ve put in is now being recognized and we are able to help even more women move into that and become more financially independent doing something that they truly love.”
For those who are looking to step into the freelancing space, the best piece of advice Meyers has is to start before you are ready.
“A lot of our women want to make sure that they have all of their marketing, their branding, and everything else, but you can start immediately by gaining the right clients and those testimonials that will help you grow your business and give you the ability to build on it with the marketing and branding that you need,” said Meyers.