Úna Herlihy: Curating Talents and Skills at Indie List

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Úna Herlihy is the co-founder and curator of The Indie List – Ireland’s leading online talent management business, representing top freelancing professionals in marketing communications and e-commerce.

The Indie List represents the community of skilled freelancers in strategy, creative, e-commerce, and project management. It is all about promoting creativity, innovation, and supporting freelancers.

How did The Indie List come to be and what does it provide freelancers and clients?

The Indie List started as a pro-bono initiative to help freelancers find work during the first lock down. It moved from a social enterprise to a commercially operated business due to the response from freelancers and employers alike, we had no choice but to lean in to this opportunity and move forward. 

On 4 July 2020, The Indie List was launched as a place where professional freelancers could get access to new sources of work, network, and be part of a like minded community.  

Since starting, we have almost 700 freelancers signed up across marketing, creativity and e-commerce. We have completed more than 300 matches, and this work has delivered almost €1million in revenue for the freelance sector in Ireland. 

Like so many global markets, there is a severe scarcity of skills in some sectors for full-time roles. Through The Indie List we can give employers fast access to up to 700 professional freelancers who can work on a ‘pay for what you need’ basis.

Our customer base is made up of agencies who need constant access to new talent as clients, who are SMEs, start-ups and large PLCs, need change. We are finding ourselves working across any and all sectors and we simply can’t keep up with the demand for certain roles and for a particular type of worker.  

We are lucky that we operate in a small, highly connected market. Both Peter McPartlin (Co-founder of The Indie List) and I have been working in the marketing and communications industry for longer than we care to remember but our network is strong and people are coming to us everyday. They trust that we understand their needs and that through careful curation, vetting and selection, we can find talented and capable people, quickly and with minimal fuss.   

How has the freelancer industry evolved since the start of the pandemic?

Covid-19 has been a fascinating factor in the context of the world of work and quite honestly, if the pandemic never happened, then neither would The Indie List.  

However, I think the pandemic only accelerated the rate of change that was already underway for the last number of years. I feel that it has created a level playing field for freelancers and remote workers. 

Now, more than ever, there is a real opportunity for freelancers, independent workers, and the platforms to scale and create an environment for fulfilling work and work conditions. The only constant is constant change and we must be all ready to adapt to that.

What tips and motivations can you share with creatives who have been impacted by the pandemic?

For freelancers in the creative and marketing industry, get your portfolio together.  Make sure you have a point of view and communicate that consistently and excellently.  

Put yourself in front of the opportunities by attending as many events and networking opportunities as you possibly can. Learn and be comfortable in the language of commerce. Treat every day as an opportunity to learn something new.  Always strive to be better than your last job. And lastly, have fun.

There are so many services that freelancers can utilise to show their true passion, skills and how they are able to craft things – make use of this!

Getting better at running a business is essential when you’re a freelancer and maintaining those collaborative networks to remain active and current is vital.

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