Freelancing Gems - Online job platform and community for female freelancers
With one million Australians currently out of work, it is no wonder that on the day Freelancing Gems launched its social media pages, it quickly amassed a waitlist of over 500 women within a few hours. And with the official launch of the jobs platform for women approaching in mid-August, the numbers have kept growing every day.
Co-founders Fleur Madden, Kirsty Jackson and Amanda Kelly were blown away by the response for their online job platform that supports female freelancers, consultants, side hustlers and sole-traders
“Freelancing Gems is an online job platform and community for female freelancers, which showcases the rarest gems of talent across all industries so that Australian employers can more easily find you, hire you and pay you what you are worth,” co-founder and CEO Fleur Madden says.
Having had her own businesses and hiring employees and freelancers for 18 years, Fleur knows better than most the challenge it is to find freelancers with current availability and the hours it takes to find the right fit.
“At the end of last year I had a few people contacting me looking for consultant recommendations across all different industries,” Fleur says.
“Sometimes I already knew the perfect fit, but at other times I was hunting around on different websites and asking my network if they knew anyone. Through this research, I thought there has to be a jobs platform for female freelancers across all industries and there just wasn’t in Australia that we could find.
“There are some female directories around but I saw a gap for a site that was also a jobs platform that provided business tools and business coaching to its members, so that employers are connecting with the highest quality of talent available. This is what brought the concept of Freelancing Gems to life.
“Then I read an article that found women charge 38% less than their male counterparts for consulting, which cemented it for me.
“How is this still possible? Equal pay for equal work is such a huge issue in our society and the fact that as consultants we can dictate what we charge and we still don’t feel confident enough to charge what we are worth, I thought there is something wrong here and we can help fix it.
“I’ve known Kirsty for 30 something years and Amanda for 15 years and all three of us were at a stage in our careers where we knew we had a lot to offer and give back to women in our community, so coming together in this business made a lot of sense. We wanted to help women identify their value and set up or grow their businesses, while bringing them together in one place so employers can find them.”
There are many problems Freelancing Gems is solving, but none more relevant than the current unemployment rate in Australia due to COVID-19.
“Currently there are one million Australians out of work and of that one million there are more women unemployed than men. We aim to be part of the solution that sees Australian women get back to meaningful work, quicker,” Fleur says.
“We also want to help employers. What we are doing is creating a space that showcases available talent across all industries, who are engaged and ready to work now.
“For employers it frees up the time that the usual recruitment process takes. We put the talent right there under their fingertips and don’t take a cut on the job. Our role is to make a connection.”
For a platform that hasn’t even launched yet the highlights have been many.
“We didn’t plan to launch when we did,” Fleur says.
“We wanted to put up our social media to start some authentic conversations and when the reaction was so strong and the waitlist grew so quickly, we knew we had to move quicker. At one point we were getting one to two sign-ups every minute, which was incredible, and it’s continued to grow every single day.
“The demand has been overwhelming in a positive way and that has fuelled us. We feel like we are onto something here.”
Having started working on this venture before the global pandemic the Freelancing Gems team could never have predicted how much a space like this was going to be needed for women.
“We could never have predicted a worldwide epidemic that would impact women in jobs, and of course Australians in general, but women account for 55% of all jobs lost and I think from that perspective the demand is clear,” Fleur says.
“We’ve been working on this full-time since the start of the year but I think seeing the community response to what we are putting out there has been truly tremendous.
“We’ve been thrilled with how well received it has been. In all of my business experience I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of early demand or excitement from the community and I do think it is because it is a bit unique.”
They have also received great feedback from the work they have done so far.
“We have been using our social media to put up job ads from employers who have reached out for our assistance and the feedback has been amazing,” Fleur says.
“95% of the positions we have put up on our social media have been filled by a Freelancing Gem within seven days.
“We were hoping that would be the case and it was the response we wanted, but it is incredible when the job platform hasn’t even launched yet.”
The quick uptake and growth also comes with its challenges.
“The biggest challenge is getting the actual job platform to the market as soon as possible,” Fleur says.
“We’ve got a very engaged audience, they are ready to roll and they want to work, so it is about keeping the audience engaged now and providing job opportunities before the official launch.
“While we had already started the development of the platform before we put it out on social media the plan was always to launch mid-August.”
As the team gears up for launch they have a lot to look forward to.
“The platform is launching in two to three weeks, which is very exciting for us,” Fleur says.
“It is so much more than just a job platform, it will be a small business community. We’re including business tools that users can purchase to help them develop and grow their businesses. Members will have access to business coaches to get the one-on-one attention they need to build and grow. We will also have an entrepreneur in residence every month and learning opportunities with industry experts, such as webinars, as well.
“I think we have an amazing vision for the business and the brand speaks to that, but the proof is in the pudding and we are very excited about our launch and what happens after that. We can’t wait to see the business reach its potential in the next six to 12 months as an early stage business and making sure we’re delivering on everything we’ve promised.”
So far the founders have self-funded the business up until this point.
“We do have some really big plans and are in the talks with venture capital,” Fleur says.
“We don’t want to play small, we want to see this business make an impact and this is the time. So we definitely are looking for an investment partner moving forward.”