Freelance Folk originally started life in 2015 as Freelance Friday, a weekly coworking session on Friday afternoons in Manchester for freelancers, remote workers, or people thinking of becoming self employed.
It was set up by me, Katy Carlisle. When I worked with other freelancers as part of my website design work, I regularly found that they were going through very similar issues to me, but we'd both struggled through them on our own. I would go to cafés and sit on adjacent tables to five other people on their laptops, possibly with their own businesses, but we wouldn't talk.
This all got me thinking about finding a way to bring freelancers together for a few hours every week, in a way that they could get on with their own work but in the company of others. This would allow people to make useful connections, ask advice or for a second opinion and just have a chat about any issues that they were dealing with around being self employed.
As luck would have it, a week after I began considering this, I walked in to Ziferblat. Straight away I knew that this would be a perfect space to use for the freelancer get togethers, and the Freelance Folk popup coworking sessions were born.
Since then we’ve also added a regular social on the last Friday of each month, and we’ve been experimenting with different ways to grow the community.
In 2017, I won the IPSE Ambassador of the Year award for my work supporting the freelance community, and rebranded as Freelance Folk. And then we got featured in the Guardian and my life was complete.
Autumn 2018 saw the relaunch of the website to provide more resources and promote other events that bring people together, as well as the addition of the Freelance Directory to make it easier for people to find other freelancers in between sessions.