Meet Emily Leach, website designer and SEO expert who has been a freelancer for over 25 years. She’s a fearless founder and a driving force behind the Mighty Freelance Network, the annual Freelance Conference and Freelance Business Week. When Emily first ventured out on her own, it raised a lot of eyebrows. People within her circle often asked her, “When are you going to get a real job?”
Undaunted, she persisted. Today, she’s busy uniting freelancers from around the country and around the globe. Back in 2014, Emily was feeling burnt out; a common experience amongst freelancers given the solitary nature of the work and relentless hustle of finding clients, doing the work and getting paid for the work done. She searched for a community or conference where she could interact with others like her to share best practices and other insights around operating a freelance business as a mainline versus a side gig. But she came up empty-handed.
That made her next move all the more clear: take the initiative and found a conference for freelancers. So she did. With the years of experience garnered by organizing TED talks, she assembled a team of support personnel, solicited sponsorships and launched her first event. By all accounts, the event was a tremendous success, so much so that attendees left the event asking for the date of next year’s event. And that’s how it became an annual experience.
I get it. I’ve lived almost all the spectrums from being a single mom to having awesome 6-figure earnings to being unable to pay my bills. I’ve changed careers as a freelancer four times!
Emily Leach, founder of The Freelance Conference
Five years later, demand was so great that it spurred the creation of a coordinated multi-city series of events that happen synchronously during the third week of April each year. To date, five cities have participated and more are expected for the 2021 and future Freelance Business Week events. Here’s a fun fact – Emily has applied for formal, national holiday designation for Freelance Week. Stay tuned if that recognition is granted.
Not surprisingly, COVID disrupted that annual practice of bringing freelancers together. Again, unafraid to dig in, #FREECON2021 is going to be held – in person – in Denver, CO. If you can’t get to the conference, think about joining the Mighty Freelance Network to get all sorts of great insights and advice. Hear more from this fearless female founder on our Grit Daily Podcast – Like a Boss, available on Apple, Spotify and everywhere that content is streamed.