Hello everyone, and welcome to our first blog post – “The Making of LocalSolo Freelance”
The origins of LocalSolo start in the beautiful city of Vancouver, Canada. Local developer Stephen Hayes-McCoy built a freelance website showcasing himself and some of his freelance friends in Vancouver, offering their services and outlining their skills with simple profiles. The site was soon discovered by Mark Fromson, a freelance digital project manager and user experience architect. The two became friends and decided to collaborate on the site, which was moderately successful in providing a steady stream of Vancouver-based new business leads of all types.
With 15 years experience working for many top digital agencies, including his own boutique agency, Mark was very familiar with the challenges of finding quality local freelance professionals. Almost all agencies rely on a robust bench of trusted freelancers to supplement their in-house team. Many businesses are also now tapped into the local freelance world, bringing those same freelancers in-house instead of hiring full time or out to agencies. It was getting harder and harder to find available high quality local freelancers. Often the only way to find them was word of mouth networking or endless googling and LinkedIn research. But that was inefficient, you never knew until you contacted the resource if they were available, busy, or already working somewhere full time. Hiring recruiters to find local freelancers took too long and was too expensive, and they were always more focused on the full time placements.
But at the same time Freelancing was exploding! Many professionals have discovered the benefits of the freelance lifestyle. More and more top talent was moving to contract only and freelance shared-office work hubs were popping up in every major city. But finding the best local freelancers who could work onsite or meet you face to face was still difficult. While lower cost remote freelancers had multiple sites they could ply their services on, the local top talent remained elusive.
As we started doing our research we came across some local freelance networks that already existed. But why had we never heard of them? Part of the problem was that these networks were either low quality as web sites go, their freelancers were not top pros, or their networks were too niche. The other barrier to popularity was that these networks either charged too much for base access or took a cut of the work. We realized there was a pressing need for a high-end freelance network of top-tier local talent. A network that makes it easy and convenient for businesses to tap into the quality local freelancer pool. So we decided to build one. LocalSolo was born.
Buckling down, and in addition to our full time roster of client projects, we got to work. Interactive wireframes gave way to designs which took shape into agile development cycles. Some long nights, weekends and many beer fueled brainstorming sessions and our vision started to take shape. Along the way we received guidance and assistance from some incredibly talented folks. In not too much time, a site we felt was a minimal viable release candidate was ready.
So here we are today! Our mission is to supercharge the local connection between agencies, businesses and freelancers. Our plan is to continually add quality freelancers, categories, cities and valuable features to our service. We hope that you’ll all benefit and continue to support us as we grow.
Mark Fromson and Stephen Hayes-McCoy