For Szilvia Filep, joining the freelancer world was a deliberate choice. After her daughter was born, and she spent her first three years of ‘motherhood’ with her – this 36 month period in Hungary, consists of one and a half years fully paid maternity, while the other 18 months are unpaid. This was the opportunity Szilvia could take to establish a career in the freelancing world, something she had grown passionate about.
Where it started
Szilvia’s interaction with freelancers and industry kicked off seven years ago when she started freelancing for Upwork. Here she was a Freelancer Mobilizer in Budapest with a goal of stimulating the freelancer space by creating a community, by sharing knowledge and creating awareness around Upwork’s talent platform solutions.
In 2013 coworking spaces were few and freelancer communities were even fewer. It was this gap that inspired Szilvia to establish the Freelancers in Hungary Meetup. This kicked off in October 2013 with nine people meeting on a monthly basis. Now, in 2020, the community sits at 2,000 strong.
By the time her daughter was born in 2015, she knew she could take the next step and becoming full time self-employed – and that her efforts need to be directed in the freelancing field. Her excellent ability to create events lead her to create the Freelancer Festival in Budapest kicking off with 150 participants with exposure to panel discussions, workshops and How Tos.
Following this annual success, Szilvia and two other freelancers started the Freelancer Blog – which runs more like an informative online magazine. The monthly Meetups consisting of Mastermind Monday, Tuesday Talk and Friday Fun, and the vast connections Szilva shares all contribute to the success of this community resource.
Hungarian Freelancers Week
In the face of the pandemic, The Freelance Festival has been pivoted to an online event under the new name Hungarian Freelancers Week. From October 19th – 25th they tackle a new era of work, life, learning and recreation, with over 40 speakers available at the event goer’s fingertips.
The challenges Szilvia has spotted
Szilvia is happy that strides have been taken around Hungary to survey the many freelancers that contribute to the gig economy. The Budapest LAB of Budapest Business School has been involved in this study, concluded in May, featuring freelancers – how they work and impact that they have on the future of work.
Another challenge Szilvia has identified and is on the top of her priority list, is about bringing coworking and freelancing communities together around the countryside too. She looks forward to bringing everything that she has learnt, and sharing that skill and sense of belonging and networking with the outlying areas where the concept can be expanded on. Her ultimate goal is to have coworking spaces filled with freelancers around the country.
2020 and Covid-19
While the pandemic brought a rough year to everyone across the globe, for the Freelancer Blog team, workflow continued as normal, and strategies in the pipeline could be followed through on. Plans to roll out memberships and the Hungarian Freelancers Week could continue, but just in the online space now.
The pandemic brought into question how traditional eventing will need to evolve with the century, and the future of events will change. Szilvia is looking at hybrid conferences and the popularity of on-demand eventing as a replacement in this unchartered territory. She’s dreaming of a situation where we are not restricted by our boarders and location where the reach is limitless.
A word of encouragement for new entrepreneurs
Over the years Szilvia has become a mentor for the self-employed, a dependable industry expert for the budding entrepreneurs, and her words of encouragement… Don’t wait to start. Even with the smallest idea, scale it as you can. You will learn and find your feet, your best social platform, your direction and you will come out on top through these experiences.