Today’s co-host is Emily Leach. Emily has been a freelancer for 20 years and organizes many big events, including TEDx Talks and the Freelance Conference.
Emily is a hustler. If she puts her mind to something, she goes out and does it. Most recently, she set out to host her first virtual summit. Freelance Conference (or FreeCon), was created out of a need that Emily was already working to fill through her site, Texas Freelance Association.
In the beginning, she had hundreds of freelancers, but no gigs. Knowing that it would fizzle out quickly if she didn’t do something, she started personally evaluating jobs on Craigslist and other platforms and then hand-matching them to freelancers in her community.
As Emily watched the community grow, and more freelancers find the support they needed, she saw an opportunity to scratch her own itch and create something unique. And thus FreeCon was born.
In today’s episode, I talk with Emily about socializing for introverts, how to find solutions by looking at your own skillset, and how to evaluate your business needs without over-committing yourself.
- It’s important for freelancers to be able to meet up and support each other through shared ideas and networking. Conferences are a great way to do this.
- Figure out how to market your skillset. You may not even realize that you possess a skill that’s valuable or needed by someone else. You can become a specialist by looking at what people need.
- It’s easy to take on a lot of different projects as a freelancer, but once you’re over-committed, it can be hard to identify what you should let go. It’s important to evaluate everything you’re doing and figure out what’s important.
Links and important mentions
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Emily Leach 0:00
So eloquently at 22 years old walked into my boss’s office and said, I don’t want to do this anymore. And his response was, okay. What is your last day? And nobody ever told me you’re supposed to give two weeks notice. So I’m sitting there going? I’m out. I don’t understand the question. So that was a Tuesday morning and on Saturday afternoon, I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Jason Resnick 0:38
Welcome to Episode One of season eight of living the feast. I’m Jason, aka rezzz helping you grow your business by having a conversation with someone who’s been there had success and built a business designed around the life they want to live. That’s live in the feast. If this is your first time listening, hit that subscribe button. So that you get notified every time a new episode drops live in the feast is in your podcast app of choice. And if it’s not, let me know. I’ll get it there. If you’ve already heard the show before, why not go ahead and leave us a review on iTunes or drop us a comment in breaker or cast box. Today’s co host is Emily Leach. She’s been a freelancer for 20 years and has organized many large events over the years, including TEDx talks, and the freelance conference. She’s an amazing person and very giving of our time and energy. As you’ll hear in this episode, she’s a hustler. When she puts her mind to something she just goes out and does it. Case in point. She’s holding a virtual summit for the very first time where she’s invited me to speak at free con, virtual summit that takes place on April 28 through the 30th. So Go ahead and grab a ticket to that event and check it out. In this episode, we dive into how even introverts need to be able to get out from behind the desk once in a while and be social. We also talk about how to look at your skills to solve a need that someone else has, and how to evaluate all the things you need to do for the business and not over commit yourself. This is a great one. So here’s Emily.
Easter’s Welcome to another episode of living the feast. I am super excited to have Emily with us today. Thank you for coming on. Emily.
Emily Leach 2:47
Happy to be here. Thanks for bringing me on.
Jason Resnick 2:49
Yeah, I mean, I know when we had that conversation a number of months ago. You know, just hearing your passion and everything that you talked about and helping for you answers and your story and everything else. Me personally, I’ve been following you for some time. Never got to the conference. Hello. I’ve been on that mailing list for a number of years at this point in time, we’ll dive into what that conferences in a moment. Okay. But for me, it’s this is a pleasure just to have you on the show and really just kind of connect with you and hear your story a little bit about building your business and why you did it in the first place. And what’s going on now, and just hearing some of the lessons learned, if you will, in the course of I guess now, how many years you’ve been running your business?
Emily Leach 3:36
Well, if you consider all the freelance work 28 years, yeah.
Jason Resnick 3:42
That’s a long time. I’ve been doing this 20 years myself, so sometimes I feel like it feels like that.
Emily Leach 3:50
Like, I think I’m supposed to retire sometime soon. It’s like, Oh, yeah, we don’t do that.
Jason Resnick 3:56
Yeah, well, it’s funny that like, my wife and I we were talking about that in my not that, you know, I mean, I’m 42. So I mean, it’s there. It’s like, you know, I’m closer to retirement than I am High School. So like, I just look at it from that perspective. But, you know, for me are like, you know that I don’t know, I don’t know what that looks like yet, but I’m hoping to get there. But one of the things I am curious about, and I know like, you know, I followed your story for quite some time, but what was the genesis of like, you really feeling like, hey, I want to be the champion, or I want to be a spokesperson for freelancers and have them feel like they have a voice and feel connected with each other in a way. What was the genesis of that?
Emily Leach 4:42
Well, it kind of snuck up on me. Um, there was a woman here in town. I live in Austin, and she has a really successful Facebook group called Austin digital jobs. And what we were finding that was about six or seven years ago is still out there and doing great. It will be Where we’re finding is that people are going into that group and posting gigs and projects really looking for a freelance person, not looking for someone that wanted a full time job. And that’s what that whole group was about is helping people that were hiring, and people looking for a job, you know, connecting them. And so she reached out and said, you know what this is, this is becoming a problem, but an opportunity that isn’t getting filled, because we’re really not the right fit. Someone really needs to start that group. And so I reached out and I said, I’ll do it, you know, why not? And so we launched awesome freelance gigs. And then I managed that group. And basically what we did in there was, you know, he invited people that were freelancers in and you told us what you did, you don’t sell to us, you just tell us what you do. And then if you’re looking for a freelancer, you come in and say, Hey, I need a graphic designer or a writer or this or that. It’s really been interesting to see some of the the requests that come in there, but regardless, after it grew really fast. I mean, the first week we got 300 people and I was kind of blown away. It was a kind of a chicken in the egg deal because we had pull on freelancers and no gigs yet. And so it was right there on the precipice. It’s probably not the right word. But of is this going to work. If I don’t get gigs in here, it’s just going to go flat. So I started going out a little long winded, but I think it all makes a difference is a part of it is I started going out and evaluating gigs on Craigslist, because at the time, that was kind of the platform, and I would evaluate one or two a day and make sure that it looked like a real gig. And then I’d get posted in there so that there was something for them. And then I’d go tag two or three people and say, Hey, is this of interest to you? This might be a good fit for you. And so then other people started tagging other people. And it really started this like referral network. And it was great because when people came in, they knew they weren’t just getting somebody they were getting someone that, for the most part was usually referred by someone else. And it grew really, really fast and about six or seven months in And July, actually July 13, not that I’m counting. But I remember this conversation that I was watching in there. And people begin to begin to more from not just being a gig network, if you will. But more of a community. I mean, people were asking questions and being vulnerable because we have these rules in there where we’re not selling to each other and things like that. So conversation started to happen. And one of the things that I noticed pretty quickly is that presenters didn’t really have a place to go, to get resources to ask questions to be supported. And even though I’d been doing it all these years, I’m kind of a loner, so that really wasn’t a huge issue for me, but I didn’t realize that it was kind of a big issue for a lot of people. I was the outlier by far. And I know a lot of those answers because I’ve been doing it so long. And so I was like on man, I would love to be able to do this in person, you know, literally watching this conversation, and there’s like four or five people talking Back and forth. And I’m just watching. And so I go, I learned walk across the, you’ve probably heard this story before, but I walk across my living room, get my credit card, I am going to go to a conference for freelance business owners, but it didn’t exist anywhere in the world. And that really, really blew me away. And at that point, I sat there for a few minutes. And I said, you know, I’ve been running TEDx events for like five years, and from the ground up, and I’ve freelanced at that point, you know, 20, some years. Why don’t I just do it? Why don’t I just create the conference? So I got on GoDaddy, and it looked like freelance conference was as good a name as any. And I was, you know, my background was SEO. So of course, I’m going to pick that and built a site that night and picked a date out of the blue and I evaluated kind of what was going on in Austin, you know, and picked a date accordingly, went and found me a space the next couple of days and I was new to Austin, I didn’t really know hardly anybody. Hmm. So it was really it was actually looking back It was kind of risky.
But a lot of things I’ve done are and and that just kind of grew. And so out of that hundred days from the day that I made that decision to the day that we basically had the first conference, I also started to meet a whole lot of people, people just started kind of coming out of the woodwork. And hey, I want to talk to you about this, and what are you doing and we need an association, we need an association. And I was like on, of course, we needed an association. How come it doesn’t exist. And freelancers unions out there, it’s on the you know, the border of what you would call an association and what people are really needing. It has a purpose. So me and I think four or five other people got together and it whittled down to about four people. And we started the Texas friends Association, which is a nonprofit. And we ran that for a couple years. Then between running the conference and running that nonprofit association. I finally stepped down and so saying all that I mean, it kind of keeps going and I could kind of keep going with the story for the for the continuing five years to take us up to now but That was really it it was like one step at a time until I began to learn a little bit more and learn a little bit more and and I didn’t set out to be like you’re calling it you know the the voice, the leader, the whatever you want to call it. And I don’t know that I’m completely that yet but I can right now I can sit in this chair and see how that could be a possibility. And I believe that somebody needs to take that rain and I don’t know that anybody really is.
Jason Resnick 10:27
Yeah, that’s awesome. I mean, to be just very much like yourself, for me freelancing when I decided to do it full time. I left the cubicle, if you will. I was okay with being at home by myself. I was doing work. I was like, Hey, I’m not gonna commute on the subway. I’m not doing these things. And so for me, that was what I enjoyed. And then I didn’t realize until much later that I was an outlier, like yourself, like, I didn’t need a conference. I didn’t need these people. Like I didn’t need that. The socialization aspect of work in order to do good work. But what was funny was that when I started to realize that much in the same way that you know, I that’s how I found the conference because I came from the WordPress space, and word camps exist and everything else and but outside of that there is specific conferences for industries like SEO or social media or something of that nature, but nothing about like, how do I run a business as a freelancer or anything of that nature and like you mentioned freelancers union, but there was nothing to like, Hey, I’m willing to really follow this resource because they are the resource to help me build a better business. It was always more of like, I need to learn from this person because they’re two steps ahead of me. And they seem to be on the right track, so maybe I can learn from them. And so that was how I learned and that’s how I essentially coach and mentor other freelancers now developers and designers specifically. But for me, it was like, there was nothing there. And then that’s when I came across free con. And I was just like, Hey, wait a second, I got to figure out a way to get to Texas. Right? Because I read from and that was the thing like living in New York City, you would think that there would be something, but there was nothing and it was just like, shocking to me. So I commend you on just literally grabbing the reins, hundred days later. I mean, here’s the event. I mean, it’s so scary, though. Because, from my perspective, and I’ve never run a large event meetups here and there, but never any large event was like, I know you ran TEDx and things like that, but like, they always talk about like, event organizers rather talk about like, hey, events are not profitable. You’re not gonna make any money from this thing. What made you think like, Hey, I can potentially turn this in. business.
Emily Leach 13:01
I’m actually your questions are really making me question everything, hopefully. Because now I’m like, I didn’t think of it as becoming a business. So literally that first year, I just wanted to hang out with my peeps, you know, to be perfectly selfish. And at the end of it, I’m thinking, Okay, that was fun. And then everybody in the audience are a bunch of people in the audience was so when is this next year and I’m thinking What what? I don’t know who’s doing it next year.
And of course they’re going well, it’s your deal. Oh, okay.
Jason Resnick 13:40
Emily Leach 13:41
Yeah, it processes for a little bit, but they they are both right and not right that events are typically tend to not be a moneymaker. And but probably the best positioning of a conference for most companies is that is their marketing budget. You know, they just write that off, because this is how I’m going to mark it, I’m gonna get my people together. And then I’m really going to, you know, make money off of them over here. And I’ve not ever done that today, for better or worse. And you know, I’m just now starting, we just launched the community that we really haven’t even told many people about. I’ve put the people that went to the last conference in it, we’re kind of playing around and kind of hanging in and doing our thing. And so the goal is to, you know, to launch that fully launch it and get people into there. And so we have community all year long, we got the virtual summit that we’re going to talk about later. And we built out the freelancers Choice Awards, we’re going into our third year of that. And so it really was, the whole journey has just been, what is the need, oh, this community needs this and create it. And all of that has come to the point that I’m at right now, which is an interesting time to have this conversation is it hasn’t made money. I have donated my time for five years and That needs to change. And so I’m really evaluating how I look at this. I mean, it’s been a lot of fun. That’s been a lot of heartache, all of the above. And now there needs to be some tweaks without changing, hopefully without changing too much the culture that I’ve built in the following that you know, of, of who connects with me. So we, we may be seeing some changes coming up. I hope
Jason Resnick 15:31
everyone is safe and healthy, especially inside your inner circle. I hope everyone is taking care of themselves. Because this is a strange time for everyone here, the conversation between Emily and I was recorded at the beginning of 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak had yet to impact the US. Since that time, well, things have changed and our world is completely flipped upside down at this Point. Depending on when you are listening to this episode, you may still be under quarantine locked down shelter in place or whatever the term that they want to use is. Bottom line is that what makes us human is our ability to socially connect and communicate with one another. I wanted to make that as easy as possible for you, but also to be able to filter some noise, collaborate, learn and share stories with other developers, designers and creative professionals providing Client Services. Welcome to feast club. No more stale articles from 2008 on the web, giving you advice on how to run your business and double your revenue. As a feast club member, you will be a part of a community of like minded developers, designers and other client service business owners also looking to build predictable income and systems to grow Their business in today’s market. Support and confidence from everyone helps you make great strides to achieving the goals that you set out for when you started your business. This is a private community that is sharing stories, strategies and resources from marketing, optimizing, selling, pricing, and most importantly, building your services. Ultimately, it’s a safe place for any designer, developer, or client service business owner to share ideas and get support. For only $5 a month, you’ll get access to a private podcast, bite sized pieces of content that I’ll be sharing regularly, including what I’m working on marketing ideas and campaigns, strategy and advice and most relevant for you right now. What’s working and not working in today’s market. You’ll also get access to a private slack community access to a monthly live q&a and virtual co workers. sessions. And yes, you heard that right. It’s only $5 per month. So if you want to check it out and join a community that’s built on the saying a rising tide raises all boats, head on over to feast club.co today, and like I said, it is only $5 per month. That is for a limited time. I don’t know for how long. But if you join today, you’ll lock that in for as long as you are a member. I hope to see you on the inside of the club. Now let’s get back to the conversation between Emily and myself.
Before we dive into some what, potentially what some of those changes are, I always like to ask what has been your defining moment in life so far?
Emily Leach 18:54
There’s probably been a few but the one that I think I would dive into that, I really believe is changed, everything would be the day that I so eloquently at 22 years old walked into my boss’s office and said, I don’t want to do this anymore. And his response was okay. When is your last day? And nobody ever told me you’re supposed to give two weeks notice? So I’m sitting there going?
I’m out. I don’t understand the question.
So that was a Tuesday morning, and on Saturday afternoon, I lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from Houston Albuquerque, just because I thought the name was cool. And that that had a little bit of backlash, but I made it through it. But it was that short series of events that changed the way I looked at everything in the world. You know, once I moved to Albuquerque and realized, here’s how naive I was. I woke up and like, Oh, I don’t have a job. Those two things didn’t even kind of clicked for me. You know? At that point in time in life, I knew I just knew what I wanted to do and went and did it. And so I started calling engineering companies I did. I was a designer, engineering designer. And it turned out that I had a skill that they needed. But they didn’t need me full time. They needed me as a contractor. So I did that for multiple companies. And it turns out that that’s freelancing.
That’s awesome. And I’ve been doing
Jason Resnick 20:22
ever since. Yeah, but that’s great. Yeah, I mean, I had a, I didn’t have as an abrupt from my end, end of my career, typical career. But yeah, I mean, I was very, very similar way in which I was just basically Hey, I’ve been having a conversation with the owner of the company that I was working for. And so yeah, I’m out. done like this is it and I haven’t looked back since. But yeah, I mean, for, for a lot of freelancers. Like, and it’s funny because for me, I wanted that safety net. Like I was burning the candle at both ends. Like I was like, Okay, I can’t quit. not have anything, but then other folks are like Brandon, like all figured out, right? Like, you’re like you’re yourself. And so for me, hearing that, that experience that you went through that said, Oh, wait a second, I need a job. Let me call people that potentially me my skills. Yeah. Was it as simple as just realizing that and doing the outreach? Or was there some obstacles standing in the way where you said, hey, how do I connect with those people? Do I need to talk to somebody else that can get me that warm out? Or did you just flat out, pick up the phone and call,
Emily Leach 21:38
I straight up call them. I just remember the Yellow Pages. You’re old enough to remember the Yellow Pages. I picked up the Yellow Pages when two engineering started the A’s. And by the time I got to the B’s, I had a project.
Jason Resnick 21:50
That’s awesome. That’s That’s great. That’s the flat out hustle, I guess that but that’s what the kids call it.
Emily Leach 21:56
Well, and it is. Yeah, and I mean, Looking back, I now can see that, you know, timing was just I just walked into the perfect position. I didn’t even know it at the time. So the software platform that I was taught to use at the company in Houston, it was all I knew. And when I moved to Albuquerque, you know, call these people up and ask them if they needed anyone to run intergraph station. And they were like, literally, it was, you know how to run that. And I’m thinking doesn’t everybody know? And they said, Come on, we’d like to talk to you. So I came in and intergraph station, if you’re not familiar with what they are, especially back in the day, a fairly large room had no special ventilation. ac was always crazy cold. And it was huge, literally just huge. And what had happened in New Mexico was the D OT, for Mexico, and at the federal level, and the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, which is all there All of them had just changed over to where all their work from that point forward was no longer allowed to be done in AutoCAD, it had to be done in intergraph. And if you did not have a person on staff that could run that intergraph machine, you didn’t get projects. I didn’t know that I probably would have made a lot more money than I realized that. So when they walked into that room, and they pointed at this great big monster, and they said, you know how to run. And they were like, really serious that I mean, you know what that is? And I said, Yeah, what’s your superuser knowledge? Just login. So I logged in, and that just was my ticket,
Jason Resnick 23:36
huh? Siri? It’s what you’re describing is just really just specializing, right? Like you became a specialist or an expert in a specific skill set that then was in need for large organizations. I mean, you know, for what I do, it’s for small businesses and a lot of freelancers are the same way but right. There is a lesson in and of itself is just Hey, if you have a skill set of that somebody can point and say, Hey, Emily knows how to do that. You need to talk to her. Right? That referral moment, if you will, that referral idea or a moment really allows people to then just say, hey, okay, when she’s done with that project, maybe she could come help us, you know, and vice versa, right?
Emily Leach 24:28
Yeah. And people say, Well, I do graphic design. And it’s a it’s an easy example. And I always ask a graphic designer, what do you like doing the best in graphic design and sometimes they’ll tell me everything and you have to kind of you know, work work through them, but most of them will say I love to do logo work, or I love to do logo work for nonprofits, or I love to do book covers, you know, they they have a niche within there that they really loved. It means they can’t do the rest. But you’re right. It makes it so much easier. When I see someone either send me an email or see someone on one of these things. list that I hang out on says I need someone to do a really great book cover for this children’s book. I know exactly who to send you to.
Jason Resnick 25:10
Absolutely, yeah, I mean that. It took me a little while to figure that out. Like, as a developer, I was like, hey, whatever anybody needs. As far as development goes, I’ll just learn the language. And I’ll, I’ll do whatever, right. But it was like two years into my career full time where I was just like, I hit a wall again. I did it early on, and then wound up hitting a wall and having to go get another job again. And then I was like, Wait a second, why am I going? Why am I faced with this again? And then I realized, and I just specialized that niche down a little bit. I looked at my client roster, and I said, Who, who am I serving the best? Who do I want to work with? Then? What am I doing for them? I mean, it sounds simple, but it was it was like a moment in time for me like, Oh, yeah, okay, so this is how it’s done. Like, you have special specialty lawyers, you have specialty contractors that build houses. You have options. text you, you know, you have plumbers you have, everything is a specialty. So that’s why if you do everything for everyone then just become that guy or girl, right? Like, oh yeah, I have a guy, like, let me go see what that name is, you know, but if for me now I focus in on behavioral marketing with specifically ConvertKit customers, right? So I get people that just Hey, you have converted, you need to go talk to Jason, he could probably help you out with some stuff. Right. And so that referral kind of moment in time makes it so, so, so much easier. I mean, and it was funny because I was gonna ask you one question, and we kind of went into that, but I’m curious to know, and we talked a little bit about some changes that you’re going to be making. We mentioned a little bit about the virtual summit, which I want to dive into what that is a little bit more, but Well, what specific change are you making that you think is going to make the biggest issue Moving forward,
Emily Leach 27:02
actually having a monetization strategy. And that may sound like silly to say out loud. I know that I’ve definitely kind of had my head in the hole for quite a few years. You know, I did website design for a long time, and I’ve come to one conclusion. I was an absolute kick ass freelancer. It was my happy place. I did it really, really well. You may have heard the story too. I’ve been a single stay at home mom doing a free you know, thanks to freelancing. I lived on a sailboat I’ve traveled I’ve done the things that I wanted to do with my life and I didn’t have to wait till retirement to do any of them. And then I got into this and over these last few years where I’ve really started looking at turning it into a business and doing it full time. That instead of doing you know, freelance work, and this, I realized that it’s just different and you’re no longer depending on me, I could sell me all day long. Because I know what I can do, and I know that I’ll deliver. But when you’re when the thing that you’re delivering is outside of you like a conference like a virtual summit, you know, any of these other things, there’s something can go wrong. Or they may not like the speakers that I chose or things, it’s less, I have less control for one. And I really got caught up in the experience, which wasn’t bad except for that I let go of the monetization piece of it. And it’s, it’s not serving the people that depend on me to put on the conference. You know, I know it’s not my requirement, but still they look forward to coming each year. And if I blow this, if you will, then there isn’t a conference to come to, or somebody else will probably create one at some point. There isn’t a community to be a part of, there isn’t the things that I am giving and creating in the freelance space that do have value. And so I’m not serving me and I’m not serving People that I’m trying to serve. So that’s the biggest piece is understanding what does what are the pieces that I have to put into place to monetize this? And you know, everybody’s first answer that I talked to is just raised the ticket price. Now there’s that’s not the option that I like, I get it. They think it’s a simple thing, but it’s not because you can raise the ticket price, but that will most likely mean that less people will be able to show up. And so you can go after higher sponsorship dollars. Yes, that’s an option. Or more sponsorships. You know, we’ve opened up last year was our first year to do like a market show showcase Canada trade show. And so I was able to experience that learn how to do those sales. So that has potential, the community I love having a free level so that everybody can get in and actually be able to experience and get the things that they need. And then as they begin to grow in their business and they need other things, then there’s levels that makes sense to me. You know, just and even just building that email list to where when I run across really great products, and I run across really great opportunities that I know can change a person’s business, when and if they engage with it. And you know, creating a JV partnership or something like that. Those are the things that can be added in. And I know how to do all of them. I mean, I spent years in internet marketing, and so I understand those concepts, but I haven’t applied them to my own business. I’ve literally taught other people and walk them through putting them into theirs. So some of it is just sitting down with myself and saying, Okay, it’s time to get a little selfish and figuring out how I’m going to run this business and make it actually work and then bring it on a team. That’ll be my biggest next thing is start bringing on two or three people. I’ve got an admin starting up, I think is Monday. And then, you know, bring on someone to help out with marketing because bandwidth is an issue. You know, I sat down last night I was at a networking event and they said, Well, what do you do so, um, well, I had this conference. And then I have the virtual summit and I do the count, you know, this and that. And I, you know, 30 minutes later on through talking about all the things that I have, and they’re like going, everybody just sits there and goes, I’m tired. Just listening to you. And even my coach said, Oh, my goodness, we got two hours into our first meeting. And she goes, and she says, Well, we need to stop. That’s a bit. I’m not done. That’s not all that I do, as well. It needs to be all that you’re doing today.
Jason Resnick 31:25
Yeah, that’s a I mean, we were, we were talking before we pressed record about like how much we both are doing and overcommitted at this time, and I’ve just, you know, like, similarly, like you, my wife is my coach, right? In a lot of lot of respects. And like, she’s just like, look like because I was like, I gotta do this, that and the other thing I got these client works, and I got these podcasts and I’ve got these other brand new ventures that I’m trying to build and like, She’s like, when he asleep, or when are we gonna have dinner? Or you know, like, like, those sort of questions for me like myself. checks. They’re like, yeah, I’m over committed. Like, this is a this is not where I want it to be. This is not this is why I didn’t start this. And so having somebody that check those balances So, so critical.
Emily Leach 32:14
So how do you go through your list of things because just because you’re ever committed and it is super easy to say, Okay, I gotta let go some stuff. But I, I seem to be struggling with actually the letting go part identifying on the list what I can let go of.
Jason Resnick 32:31
Yeah for me it’s really comes down to taking a look at the list of things that I have to do and aligning that to money and working on the ones because my wife does freelance as well. But I’m essentially the breadwinner, right so I bring in the most in the household, right so obviously I can’t just chop off my arm and let’s just hope and pray. Right? So for me, everything that I do is I look towards okay is this thing A Yes. Towards money. Is it going to lead to money? Is it? Is it marketing that brings in new leads? Is it client work? Right? Like, because that’s obviously important. But is are these new ventures? How do they work into the whole thing? And is it just is it going to take me nine months of doing this thing? If it’s going to take so long, then maybe I just need to pause on it a little bit, just to see until I’m not as over committed anymore, right, and then pick it back up again. So I kind of just align it to just taking a step back and saying, okay, yes, I said yes to these people. And I’m going to fulfill on my promise to deliver on that. However, what is it that I need to do to make sure that my life doesn’t get totally upside down? Right, and have my wife upset at me, my kids upset at me like, that’s not why I started this in the first place. So I just always try to say, Okay, well, these things are directly related to money. It’s bringing money in or it’s like To money, those are the focus first. And then after that, let me just bang on those for a week or two, maybe then the balance will start to come back into focus there, and then I can unravel those other things that I’m trying to do.
Emily Leach 34:14
I’ll try that.
Jason Resnick 34:16
That’s definitely not easy, that’s for sure. Because it, you know, and that’s for me, it’s like, you know, I try to help people that have helped me too. And sometimes all of those things come back and collide at the same time. And I’m like, Oh, I feel terrible now, like, I can’t, like we do it on Wednesday of next week. So like, those sort of things, and but you know, like, it’s hard, it’s hard. So we mentioned the virtual summit a few times. Can you describe what that is? Because that’s, that’s somewhat new. Right?
Emily Leach 34:45
It is somewhat new and that I had the the idea about a week and a half ago and have built out the platform yesterday and spent the last I guess no more than we could have. It’s probably been about three weeks because the last two weeks. I’ve been reaching out to people like yourself and asking if you want to be a speaker and, you know, start to build up what that what’s going to be in it. And my thought here is one going back to one of those things that need to change is that you need to build that email list. And I’ve always built my email list organically, and it’s worked really well for me. So even though it’s not large, it, it’s a wonderful email list. And so the first thing I sat down with was when I start going through this, these changes that I need to make is okay, how do I build that email list a little bit faster, but still with integrity? And I’m like, Well, what about a virtual summit? I’ve always wanted something opposite of the conference, you know, in the year because it just feels like a big long gap between conferences as it’s difficult anybody to keep attention and that kind of stuff. So is it okay, well, this could work perfect. It’s not a ton of time that’s needed to be put into it, which of course it is, but it felt like it wasn’t going to be and I get to highlight Some people that I follow throughout the year Follow me, I really want their voice out there. So it gives me an opportunity to support the work that you guys are doing, and put you in front of other people and get the people that you’re looking for to actually hear you and engage with what you’re talking about and help some other freelance business owners, get more reach, be able to talk about the conference a little bit, let them know that it happened. So the biggest issue that I’ve ran into is there’s just not enough people that know about the conference. I’ve ran it very grassroots done all my marketing that way, which is wonderful. And knowing that that’s how I’ve done it, to know that there’s people that come from all over the world to this conference is awesome. Like, how did you hear about it? You know, why is someone from Amsterdam coming to my conference? Is is wonderful, but we still need in order for the numbers to work. You know, going back to that profitability is I do need to get to you know, closer to a 200% conference because I love the intimacy of it, we’ve, you know, had more like hundred hundred 50 all these years, kind of back and forth. And so I need to be able to bump that up a little bit, maybe each year over the next couple of years. And then the conference can at least pay for itself and it can pay for a team and things like that, and the sponsors even love that is small. So I don’t have an interest in having you know, that 500 person, thousand person conference, I love that, you know, 200, maybe 300 you know, at some point, because I think we can still keep the intimacy. So that’s really the purpose of and where the the whole concept of virtual summit came about.
Jason Resnick 37:36
And for those that are listening, when, when is the virtual summit?
Emily Leach 37:40
It will be April 28 29th and 30th.
Jason Resnick 37:43
Awesome. So the virtual summit in of itself, because I’ve I’ve attended some virtual summits. I’ve also spoken at some, what’s funny is like the experience of it, at least initially, it’s like, oh, binge watching, experts talk about their thing, right? And like, you know, it’s just rapid fire after that. But then there’s those elements of the hallway chats like, how do you recreate that? Like, you know, how does the attendees interact with each other? Is it through Twitter? Is it through a private group? Is it even within the virtual summit? You know, like those sorts of things. For me, that’s been how these sort of things like evolve, and like, Hey, you know, did you know that there’s a conference like, Oh, you gotta go to the cop, like, the hallway chatter, for me in events is the one which is the impactful parts, like hearing the speakers is awesome. getting that information is great. Now, as a speaker, I’d much rather had to do q&a, to be honest, more than anything else, because I want people to get what they came for, like answers to what they came for, but meeting and connecting, like you said, the intimacy of the conference, the physical conference, versus the virtual conference. How are you going to try to create That intimacy in the virtual summit?
Emily Leach 39:03
Well, it’s definitely going to be a challenge. The platform that I was able to, you know, afford this year doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that I would love to have. So we may have to use the community, we may have to use a social platform, you know, even just play with I’m actually got a meeting with someone that she used this platform before. So I can kind of start to ask her some of those questions, because there’s so many unknowns, since I’ve not ever done one before. But yeah, definitely. Thanks for the feedback for you know, asking. I just don’t have an exact answer at this point. Other than it’s a priority. Yeah,
Jason Resnick 39:35
yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I don’t know I, I love the virtual summit, because when I could do it from our pajamas. But too, it’s like, it’s just a very different thing to like yourself. I love like, I’m a part of a slack group that we’re calling. It is going to be a conference, and it’s going to be awesome, really, and it’s not it’s not it’s not a large slack community at all. Maybe 25 50 people in there, but we’re calling it out hallway golf.
Emily Leach 40:03
I love it.
Jason Resnick 40:04
Because most of us haven’t even met before, maybe a handful of us have met it other events and things like that. But we’re just going to say it’s really just a meet up of friends really what it is, but like, you know, we’re going there with the idea of like, brainstorming, and then things of that nature. And so I like the smaller groups. So I commend you, for one wanting to keep free because we know freelancers are becoming bigger and bigger portions of the population at this point in time, but but to keep it small, that’s awesome. Glad to hear that. So before I let you go, aside from the virtual summit and the conference and things, what’s next, what’s next for like, the next year?
Emily Leach 40:47
You know, the biggest thing that’s next is growing the freelance business weeks. I don’t know if you’re familiar with what those are. So we have six of them this year. So it’s kind of like a Startup Week for freelance businesses. And you know, last week Long and you need a local organizer that’s willing to on the ground, you know, create this event, and you know, pull their peers together and, and all the things. And so I would like to see that, you know, begin to grow more cities. And like I said, we we did three last year, we got six this year. And we are playing with a concept called freelance weekend, we’re going to beta test that this year, because a lot of the cities wanted to be able to do something twice a year, do the freelance week, maybe at one point in time and then the freelance weekend, another point in time and so developing what that content is going to look like, you know, is that is it free forum does it have I see it as having a very detailed agenda, you know, that gets put on by a series of speakers, and they use like maybe three or four different areas of running a freelance business. And it’s short, it’s sweet, you pack in a lot and you connect with your peers and you still have that opportunity to build local community. So that’s what I’m really reaching out for is those people ones out there that are either already building local community and looking for a way to monetize it. So here we go back to I haven’t monetized my stuff but I’m never gonna monetize their stuff. I haven’t found a way to monetize it and or just want another way to bring the people together you know, their community together. They’re a part of a larger network you know, these are happening. We Who is it? I guess we have Miami Tampa, Austin Buffalo, it looks like Portland is going to come on board and then Denver and those are some really great cities to be having stuff in. So if I could double that, you know, over the next year that would be amazing. So if somebody wants to do run a freelance business week I’m happy to talk about it freelance Business Week calm, awesome.
Jason Resnick 42:44
Thank you for sharing your experience and some time with us today. Emily, where can folks reach out and say thanks,
Emily Leach 42:50
probably Emily Leach comm you know, spelled le a CH
Jason Resnick 42:54
awesome and definitely go check out free con, as well as the virtual summit as well and I’ll link up all of those in the show notes so you can have it. Emily. Thanks again for your time today.
Emily Leach 43:04
Thank you so much for having me.
Jason Resnick 43:06
For everyone listening Till next time, short time to live in the feast.
If you enjoy today’s episode, I can speak for both Emily and myself by saying that we’d love to hear the one takeaway that you got from this episode. Super simple. In the podcast app of your choice, presumably this one that you’re listening to right now? drop that in a comment or review or go ahead and share it in a tweet and tag me at Brits. That’s with three Z’s. Also hit that subscribe button so that you’ll be the first to listen in next week when we’ll be back with Matt g of n. ec, founder of money lab and swim University. We’ll dive into Pun intended the many online businesses ventures that Matt has developed, explored, been successful and all the lessons that he’s learned over the years. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and it’s your time to live in the feast.