E23 The Power of Community: The Journey of Tia Meyers Grado and Freelancing Females 👩🏻‍💻🌎


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Five years ago, freelancing was already a growing demographic. The pandemic only boosted freelancer numbers; now, there are more freelancers than ever! We won't sugarcoat it: freelancing can be tough. But we can learn so much from the people who've been where you are now — and succeeded.

Here's where our guest Tia Meyer Grado, and the Freelancing Females can help.

In this episode of The Pollen Podcast, Tia, the founder of Freelancing Females, shares how she initially started the group as a resource and support for fellow female freelancers. Over time, the community grew to a point where she decided it could become a business to support freelancers further. She encourages freelancers to get paid what they're worth and finally have the time for themselves!

Listen to this episode and be empowered by Tia’s journey and community.

Create your own creative entrepreneurship story of clarity, professional confidence, and profit. Join Diana’s 90-day group course Camp Clarity and learn everything you wish you already knew, like how to land dream clients, harness the power of social media, and make the money you deserve. Learn more here.

🔥 Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:
  1. Be inspired by Tia’s journey to creating and growing her company, Freelancing Females.
  2. Learn how to focus on a particular craft as a freelancer and how you don’t need to get it right immediately.
  3. Discover the future of Freelancing Females and how it can help you grow as a freelancer.
📘 Resources 🎧 Episode Highlights [05:57] What Tia’s Learned From Freelancing Females
  • Tia is the founder of Freelancing Females, For the Love of Freelance Podcast, and is soon opening a business called The Freelance Shop.
  • Freelancing Females is a global community. It now has over 300,000 members.
  • She shares a recent challenge in improving their membership system. The membership system requires more continuous work compared to previous one-off services.
  • Early on, she also hired an agency for branding but failed to ask the right questions. She eventually went to another person who redid the branding.
[15:02] How Freelancing Females Started
  • Freelancing Females started as a Facebook group where freelancers can ask questions and support each other.
  • Over 500 people joined the group during the first month. When Tia hosted their first event, more than 50 women showed up.
  • This made Tia realize how a community like this was needed and then proceeded to create a website.
  • Most companies create a product and build a community around it. Freelancing Females went the other way around.
[19:04] Freelancing Females’ Growth
  • Despite being offered investments and acquisitions, Tia turned them down. She wanted to make all the decisions for the community's direction.
  • As the group grew, it demanded more resources and time than Tia could sustainably provide.
  • Through I Fund Women and fundraising, Tia got enough funds to create a website.
  • Freelancing Females currently earns money through their membership directory, job board, and partnership with companies.
  • The Freelancing Females’ Facebook group is still free for anyone to join.
[26:17] How Freelancing is Different for Women
  • Five years ago, Tia observed how Facebook groups for freelancers tended to be harsher. Most women also don’t feel comfortable posting there.
  • Companies tend to pay freelancing women 40% less than their male counterparts.
  • Tia wants to ensure women freelancers get fair pay and receive resources and support.
[28:24] The Culture of Sharing Pricing
  • Freelancers typically learn and do more than people working nine to five jobs.
  • Tia encouraged women to share their rates because it creates a ripple effect of everyone raising their rates.
  • Raising prices also helps clients realize the worth of their services and not expect the cheapest rates.

Tia: “We are freelancers and you're hiring us because our talents are very specific and very niched down and we worked very hard to educate ourselves and learn those talents….you have so many hats and you have to be your own lawyer, your consultant, your salesperson, et cetera. So I'd say freelancers have a lot to give and I do not want that to go to waste.”

[32:48] What Made Tia Who She is Today
  • Tia was an only child and grew up in Connecticut. She was very independent for her age.
  • Her experiences and support allowed her to go out solo and create the life she wanted.
  • Every experience, both good and bad, shapes who you are. Permit yourself to make mistakes.
  • Tia entered college as a music student but shifted to PR and marketing. She eventually worked for a corporation and did event planning.
  • In the full episode, Tia shares how building communities and getting laid off helped her realize she could utilize her contacts and work with clients directly.

Tia: “All these small steps shape you into who you are. Sometimes it doesn't seem like it, but even the mistakes definitely help that.”

[41:29] Tia’s Advice for Struggling Freelancers
  • Freelancing is a world of possibilities. You can freelance in anything.
  • Ask yourself: what do I truly love, and what am I good at?
  • Be open to opportunities and services. You’ll eventually get clarity on what you like and are good at.
  • You don’t need to be in your dream situation immediately. Allow yourself to work on several things.
  • Give yourself grace and time.

Tia: “The one beauty about freelancing that I've learned is that there are jobs that you don't even know what's out there, you could pretty much freelance in anything. When you go to college, you have these certain degrees that you can get, freelancing gives you the ability to go beyond those bounds.”

[45:31] Future of Freelancing Females
  • More people are freelancing because of the pandemic.
  • The next goal for Freelancing Females is to become the place for freelancers to access resources as individuals and businesses.
  • They'll soon launch season two of their podcast, and open The Freelance Shop.
[48:07] Tia’s Lightning Round
  • Tia is a Pisces Sun, Capricorn Rising, and Capricorn Moon.
  • Everyone can be creative in many ways. For Tia, being creative is similar to curiosity, observation, and imagination.
  • Communities can be expansive. It helps you see different perspectives and how you can apply them to your own business and life.
  • Tia enjoys reading fun books aside from business-oriented ones. She’s currently reading a book about free time and how it’s more precious than money.
  • If money, time, and resources didn’t matter, Tia would want to create a van coffee shop.

About Tia

Tia Meyers Grado is the founder of Freelancing Females, which started as a small group to discuss non-payment issues and has quickly grown into the world's largest community for freelancing women. Tia also started the For the Love of Freelancing Podcast.

Aside from Freelancing Females, Tia is a consultant for businesses focused on the freelance market and a coach to many freelancers. Previously, she was an events manager at JetBlue, then managed the community for the tech startup FiftyThree.

Want to learn more about Tia’s work? Check out Freelancing Females, Instagram, Facebook Groups, and LinkedIn.

You can also connect with her on her website and Instagram.

Enjoyed this Podcast on the Power of Community?

We often think freelancers do everything themselves, and this is true to a large extent. However, freelancers cannot exist in isolation. They need an expansive community to continuously grow — from referrals to improving their network, mindset, and even pricing.

Many people enter freelancing without knowing how to get paid what they're worth and end up getting taken advantage of. Let's get paid what we're due and live a better life!

Pollen is a podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs—just like you! If you enjoyed this episode of Pollen Podcast, subscribe and help us spread the word by sharing it!

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Connect with me on Linkedin: Diana Davis Creative.

Thanks for listening! Stay tuned to my website for more episode updates and other exciting programs and resources!

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