#FREECON17 was by far the most interactive and engaging event to date … but the best surprise for us was the amount of people we met that came in from other states and countries!
Yep, 60% of attendees for 2017 came to Austin from across the country as well as Amsterdam, Ukraine and Canada. What a beautiful moment, watching freelance business owners from around the globe come together to share their experiences, lessons learned and become friends for years to come.
THAT is the power of #FREECON, face-to-face connections!
Introduction of #FREECON Games.
The 2017 event was launched with a kick-off party no one expected … a room full of giant games, an open bar (thanks to Dripping Springs Vodka) and some of the best Indian food in the world (thanks to the Clay Pit). Everyone in the room had a fabulous time and left this event having met and played with new people. They were friends and would know someone when they walked in to the conference the next day … this is how we changed the game on introverts feeling isolated in a crowd!
Combination of Speaker Sessions, Interviews and Workshops.
Day 1 kicked-off with the best breakfast tacos on the planet, then on to heads-up soaking in the experience of some kick-ass speakers from the stage and an amazing panel discussion on breaking free from fear. Every speaker session was started with an interview to lead in to the talk to come and wrapped up with an interactive Q&A … the result was spectacular. No more sitting and listening, we made sure interaction was a key component to making sure questions were answered and voices were heard.
Celebrating Our Tribe.
Friday evening we all went out to a beautiful outdoor venue to celebrate some of our own with the announcement of the first National Freelancer Awards at the Live Oak Brewing Company. We celebrated the life of Aaron Bramley, a local freelancer that helped our founder start up The Freelance Association, by awarding The Freelancers Choice Award to him to be awarded in years to come in his name. Aaron lot his fight with cancer a couple weeks before the conference, he was a pillar to our local freelance community. His wife and son accepted the award in his memory.
Heads Down and Campfires.
Saturday was our last day together, we made it count. Granted the breakfast tacos for day 2 was overlooked, but forgiven, and Tony B. came to the rescue with an emergency taco run (thanks man, we owe you a big one).
We had hands-on workshops on how incorporate podcasting, creating a freelance business plan, emotional intelligence, how to make public speaker work for you, how to build a team as a freelancer and finding your one thing.
We introduced intimate group conversation called fireside chats, where we built out a faux campfire (that looked SO real) and dove in to a conversation on two topics: productivity tools and another one on finding and firing clients. These chats were the highlight of the day and turned out to be the most requested event to incorporate in to the 2018 sessions.
Of course we had one more panel discussion on freelancing Cracking the Code to Freelance Success ran by Liz Baker of Intuit. Then, last but not least, the closing party. It was quite amazing to watch the attendees laugh together, share contact information and say good-bye until next year.