It was September 2017. I remember it fondly. It was my first time visiting Austin, and my first time attending #FREECON.

Wait. #FREECON. Who knew there was a national freelance conference? I certainly didn’t. Until I randomly came across the account on Twitter.

Why the heck hadn’t I heard of this sooner??

After reading about the conference, I just knew I had to go. I was super excited … yet not quite sure what to expect.

The first night, I walked into the pre-conference kick-off party and was pleasantly surprised. I found everyone to be friendly and equally as pumped about this conference.

 

I had found my people!

Over the next few days, I was immersed in incredible content. Things that can really take a freelance business and propel it forward.

It was educational and motivational. And I was absolutely blown away.
I took a ton of notes. It was intriguing and thought-provoking.

It was learning, networking, and socializing all in one. There wasn’t thousands of people so I was able to meet almost everyone!

And it was frickin’ amazing.

I gotta tell you: there’s so much to be said for us freelancers coming together.

There’s so much empowerment.

 

We ARE stronger together.

When we are able to educate and mentor one another, learn the best tips and tricks, strategies and industry standards, we can only be stronger as a freelance workforce.

We now had a voice. A unified voice.

People not only came from Austin and other U.S. cities, but from around the world.

We found community. Our tribe.

We found that our challenges, issues, and questions were universal.

And we found that we were not alone.

We soaked up as much information as possible in those few days.

We made connections…

We found a sense of belonging…

And we celebrated that!

It was inspiring. And energizing.

 

And I came home a changed freelance business owner. 

No longer would I feel the pangs of isolation. Or the feelings of going at it alone.

I knew what to do now. How to stand out. How to move forward.

How to succeed.

I had been presented with some amazing ideas.

And I made some lifelong friends.

I even picked up a business coach!

And my business has been better for it ever since.

 

#FREECON is life changing. 

I came back in 2018 for my second dose.

I greeted old friends and made new ones.

But this time, I was in a different position.

This time, I was a workshop presenter, panelist, and Ignite Freelance participant.

I was asked to be interviewed by Communo and Nation 1099.

I felt like I was somebody!

People wanted to hear what I had to say.

My talents were being recognized … Outside my clients. Outside my business. Outside my own city.

And that felt amazing.

 

No longer was my reach limited to just my hometown.

No longer was my potential stifled by just the opportunities around me.

Now I could help others. Inspire others. And share what I’d learned along the way.

Now I could give back to the conference that had given so much to me.

As we ramp up for #FREECON19, I could not be any more excited!

Emily Leach and her team are amazing and I know for a fact they have plenty of goodies in store 😉 Just look at some of the highlights from last year! 

Are you ready to be inspired? To find community? 

Are you ready to change you business (and your life!) forever?

Then I’ll see you at #FREECON19! 

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Julie Cortés is an award-winning freelance advertising/marketing copywriter and proofreader, founder of The Freelance Exchange of KC, adjunct professor at the Kansas City Art Institute, public speaker and business coach.