Posted: Thu 27th Nov 2014
Just over a week since the government announced the appointment of a Freelancer Tsar David Morris MP, we talk to Pip Jamieson - founder of The Dots; the online network that launched in the UK in September and is already connecting tens of thousands of freelance creatives to their ideal job, event and partners.
Pip is passionate about the creative industry and in this Q&A we hear why Pip started The Dots as well as her tips for freelancers building their online presence.
Q: Where did the Dots start?
A: I Co-Founded a business in Australia which we grew into the leading professional networking site for creatives in the region, with over 67% of Australian creative professionals registered, and 71% returning each day.
I had global aspirations for the platform so this year decided to exit the business I started in Australia to acquire the international rights to the technology - and so The Dots was born.
Q: What made you want to start an online network for freelance professionals?
A: While I was Head of Marketing at MTV I often found it hard to connect with amazing creative talent and freelancers. Whilst my colleague Matt Fayle (then Digital Director for Viacom in Australasia) was being asked by creatives for advice on getting up and running online.
If you were a creative individual or freelancer, you were trying to build your personal brand, find collaborators, find a client or a job. If you were a creative business you were trying to build your brand, promote your projects, connect with clients or hire talent.
Our vision was to create a platform that was easy for creative individuals and businesses to promote their work online and connect with each other.
Q: What has been your biggest sales and marketing success story?
A: In the lead up to launching the platform this September we worked hard on getting leading UK businesses to use the site from the outset. We created a top 100 list of the most aspirational brands and hit the pavements. When we launched, 82 of these brands rallied around us, which gave us a great start.
Q: Why should Freelancers use The Dots over sites like Linkedin?
A: Online networks are important for freelancers. I say get yourself on multiple platforms including LinkedIn, blogs, your own website and The Dots.
Q: What do the best Freelance profiles look like?
A: When someone registers on the platform, it takes them through a simple step-by-step guide to complete a profile, so it's easy to build a great profile. Top tips include:
Make your profile content rich
Tag your work so it's easy to find
Get recommended by contacts
Q: What's your advice to people considering going freelance?
A: Freelancing can be a gateway to greater freedom, flexibility and opportunities. But it's not everyone's cup of tea. You have to wear many hats; project management, business development, finance etc. so you need to ask yourself if the benefits of freelancing outweigh the admin and risk burden. If they do, it can be an incredible occupation.
Q: What would you like to see Freelancer Tsar David Morris MP do?
A: Tax deductible child-care for freelancers. If freelancers have young children, many might have to curtail their work hours or drop out of the workforce completely, if they can't afford childcare. You can tax deduct an assistant; It's not a quantum leap to extend this principle to a child-minder.
Q: ... and the next steps for The Dots?
A: The next couple of years will be very exciting for The Dots. Now that we've launched in the UK we'll continue to develop the platform (including mobile) and plan to expand in Europe and then the US in 2015 - opening up further opportunities for creatives and freelancers looking to work overseas and will also widen the talent pool for companies.
Long-term, our mission is to connect 1 million creative and freelancers to commercial opportunities by 2018, helping build a stronger, more profitable and diverse creative sector.