Freelancers United RFP

Ok, I have this stupid idea in my head since the beginning of my time here at the fora so I have to get this out of my chest. So hear me out...

There's so much talent in these forums that cover almost everything a perspective client or lead could hope for; be it advice, demos, portfolios and any kind of opportunities. In my book, everyone (especially the regulars here) brings something valuable to the game. Some are Master ID's with a great edu background, some are technical wizards, some excel at coding, others are great voice-over pros - I don't want to give out names, you all know who you are.

Why not try to come together in some sort of collaborative effort on a subject regarding our trade and create a whopping in-depth demonstration of our field of expertise that we could all plug into our websites or portfolio?

Any takers and/or ideas are welcome.

Alex

33 Replies
Bruce Graham

Alex....

I met up with a company last night who are planning exactly this sort of thing.

It is a SLIGHTLY different model from what you are suggesting, but it plugs directly into (potential) customers too.

It's a little ahead of where they are at the moment, however, as I appear to now be on their Advisory Board I will be very much looking for a move to that.

This forum and the people who actively inhabit it will VERY much have a part to play.

Nick n/a

I wonder about the transition period from being a possibility to a regular. How would that process work for this forum?

I'm more aware of this idea working with software dev teams than the eLearning community. They start with a small budget for a test project. If that project works well than the individual gets another project and so on and after a period of time/projects then they become core workers.

Bruce Graham

Do not want to hijack this thread completely - however....

Hmmm.....

Difficult one. To some extent it has to be based on trust and proven working relationships - after all...that is what clients will look for.

I completely accept that introduces "exclusivity" in some way, but that is life sometimes. That's why it is worth pushing with everything you have to get into that collective.

The biggest problem with all of this, the "collective" approach (and that is exactly the word that I am currently using with A.N.Other company) is NOT proving you are a collective with a load of skills. So what? The problem/skill is then finding a way to monetise that collection of skills. That is a quandary that I have been working on for over a year now.

In short - the business problem is this - "How can the collective benefit, financially, from BEING a collective".

Who cares? Why? How would you benefit? How would customers benefit?

When you start really digging deep into that question it is actually a thorny one to solve and bottom out.

I think I may have an (the?) answer to that, and am now actively working (again...) to make it happen, (it failed the first time around!)

Alexandros Anoyatis

@Joshua
That's the beauty of a collective as @Nicholas so correctly put it. I wasn't setting any requirements for anyone in particular. It was an attempt to bring together a group of people dedicated to the field.

For example, there's a lot we can do to raise awareness regarding e-learning, misconceptions about our field, the processes involved, you name it.

Any ideas are welcome.

Nick n/a

I'm looking into remote working to get a rough idea of how this could work as a thought experiment. Looking forward to the development of this thread and all/any contributions. Doesn't it all come down to projects? Maybe having multiple projects working at the same time under different project managers... But that's a company not a collective.

@Alex

Is your reason for suggesting the group creation of a great portfolio/demonstration sample to demonstrate skills/working in a team or to help with employment prospects/finding new clients? I'm wondering the reason for having it in a portfolio.

Michael Hinze

However you set up your collective, cooperative (or whatever you want to call it), just make sure that the 'business rules' are crystal clear to everyone involved. A few years ago, I had set up something similar, in the end I had seven fulltime 'employees'/partners. Although this was a brick-and-mortar operation and some aspects were different, it ended up being a huge headache, because some partners felt they were entitled to more $$. Just a note of caution.

Bruce Graham

OK - we are using the term collectives in a slightly different way.

Surely this Forum is already the best eLearning collective on the Planet?

Most of the things you mention are already here, and searchable for any client or other group to see, (almost!) 

Add Tom's blogs etc, and you have pretty much all of it.

What is it, specifically, that you think is missing? What would a collaborative effort prove? Why would I plug something into my website that had been developed by others - I do not see the point really...

I am offering me, not you and what you do...HOWEVER....if I want someone who understand LMSs better than I, or who can help explain Experience/TinCan API - then I want to know who in the collective I can bring in.

I guess I am adding the "entrepreneur" view to the equation - OK, now how do we turn that "collective" into a successful business offering?

Bruce Graham

Michael Hinze said:

However you set up your collective (or whatever you want to call it), just make sure that the 'business rules' are crystal clear to everyone involved. A few years ago, I had set up something similar, in the end I had seven fulltime 'employees'/partners. Although this was a brick-and-mortar operation and some aspects were different, it ended up being a huge headache, because some partners felt they were entitled to more $$. Just a note of caution.


Yep - good advice.

Covered

Alexandros Anoyatis

@Nicholas: It's not about building up a portfolio, I have some 10 different samples online already, I probably need to remove a few to be honest.

@ Michael I'm fully aware of the implications regarding $$$ but take out any monetary issues for a minute.

A pilot project could serve to raise awareness for your clients, my clients, anyone's clients. It doesn't have to/won't bring "us" any immediate profits, but it COULD generate profit down the line indirectly because of it.

Jackie Van Nice

Bruce Graham said:

Surely this Forum is already the best eLearning collective on the Planet?

Most of the things you mention are already here, and searchable for any client or other group to see, (almost!) 


@Bruce - That's kind of what I was thinking, too.

@Nicholas - Hilarious challenge idea.

@Alexandros - I admire and appreciate the idea - and that you're proposing it. Just tough to wrap my head around the details of getting from here to the finished dazzler demo. No doubt in my mind something great could be done - it's just amazingly ambitious. But if you're feeling it, you've gotta make it happen!

David Anderson

Hey gang. This is an interesting discussion. My first thought was around asking you what E-Learning Heroes can do better, differently, or begin doing to support your needs.

Are you looking for ways to promote your business? Create informal/formal business relationships? Build a group of trusted resources who share work and referrals? 

If it's exposure and reputation building you're after, I can't think of a better place to be than ELH. Whether it's sharing a free graphic or template, answering questions, or posting examples of your work, your work will be seen by more folks in ELH than any other method of advertising. 

Guess I don't fully understand what your end game looks like... but I'm interested in hearing what you think we can do to help.

Jerson  Campos

@ Alexandros  -  I've had a similar idea about a personal project a while back. I was going to ask for some volunteers to help with certain things I can't do well like voice overs. I haven't gotten around to work on it yet, but I still plan on doing it. I don't know about combining our efforts to do a random project, but what about coming together and using our talents to work on a project for a non-profit organization. Something with a little more meaning. This could also benefit any volunteers that are new IDs that don't have a lot of experience dealing clients or just want to expand the skills. I've always found it harder to develop a project that is more for myself because I like to put as much as I can into it just for fun, but when we are accountable to a client, it puts things in perspective.

@ David - The only complaint I have about the ELH forum is that it isn't very robust and a little outdated. I'm sure that the original developers didn't think this forum was going to be the center of the eLearning world. The support column really needs to be split up between the different software categories. I see a lot of confusion about what software an individual is requesting help with. None of what I'm saying is new so I won't repeat it. I do hope that Articulate is looking into this and has a few ideas on how to improve this forum.

Nick n/a

@Bruce

One question: Would you call your idea a 'freelance co-operative?'

@Alexandros

Creating something for a non-profit organisation is a great goal (if that was your point at the start of the thread.)

@David

Didn't Articulate get involved with The Charity Learning Consortium before?

This is an interesting thread so far.

Nancy Woinoski

Bruce Graham said:

Do not want to hijack this thread completely - however....

Hmmm.....

Difficult one. To some extent it has to be based on trust and proven working relationships - after all...that is what clients will look for.

I completely accept that introduces "exclusivity" in some way, but that is life sometimes. That's why it is worth pushing with everything you have to get into that collective.

The biggest problem with all of this, the "collective" approach (and that is exactly the word that I am currently using with A.N.Other company) is NOT proving you are a collective with a load of skills. So what? The problem/skill is then finding a way to monetise that collection of skills. That is a quandary that I have been working on for over a year now.

In short - the business problem is this - "How can the collective benefit, financially, from BEING a collective".

Who cares? Why? How would you benefit? How would customers benefit?

When you start really digging deep into that question it is actually a thorny one to solve and bottom out.

I think I may have an (the?) answer to that, and am now actively working (again...) to make it happen, (it failed the first time around!)

I have a few ideas (ok maybe one) about how to monetize this that I'd be happy to discuss with you offline.
Joshua Roberts

Nicholas O said:

@Bruce

One question: Would you call your idea a 'freelance co-operative?'

@Alexandros

Creating something for a non-profit organisation is a great goal (if that was your point at the start of the thread.)

@David

Didn't Articulate get involved with The Charity Learning Consortium before?

This is an interesting thread so far.


I work closely with the CLC, Articulate work with them on a software basis however nothing of this scale.

Phil Mayor

I think this is achievable and can me monetised.  The idea is a great one, I believe we all probably already have an informal collaborative of people we goto for those things we are not great at or know people who are better/faster.

@Joshua Articulate did work with the CLC a couple of years ago and promoted them a lot during a Tom Kuhlmann course, they also asked if we would volunteer our time, which I did but it never came to anything.

Joshua Roberts

Alexandros Anoyatis said:

This was initially a (much) longer post, but I will try to sum it up to the best of my abilities. Can we? Should we? And if yes to both, how can we achieve the Nash equilibrium in e-Learning?

Alex


I'd still be interested in seeing how this truly breaks-down as a model. As Michael discussed earlier there would have to be a lot of contractual preparation to avoid sticky situations in the future.

john faulkes

Trying to overcome some vagueness at present and imagining possibilities for the future, there is a problem for me with the proposition: "this forum essentially IS the collective".

The forum is essentially inwardly focused, and very successfully so, in that it is a community of freelance IDs and corporate IDs/learning professionals, most all of whom probably have an aspiration to see excellent, modern elearning practice having greater influence. So far as I know this forum doesn't reach out and speak to the business owners, buyers, management stakeholders, who make decisions to support ( or not) this philosophy. I'm not sure it could in its present form.

By all means let's build something collaborative that could speak to these people; that we all could refer to and use. But the success it to me depends critically on (at least) two things:

Firstly, the mission of Collective. In my view, our collective interest is the provision and use of high-quality, modern elearning. This Collective stands a chance of success if its main aim is to 'expand the market'. I don't think it will work if it simply aims to help clients as a clearing house for providers. Such a thing I believe will struggle to be the Nash equilibrium alexander suggests. It will present clients perhaps with an overly vast selection of providers, many of whom won't be 'active' whom it's difficult to choose between. Far better to direct buyers to another resource where they can post RFPs, and active people can respond to them.

Secondly, from the discussion above, it may be that there will be a Collective based on this forum, and also Bruce's A. N. Other initiative, seemingly 'competing'. But there is a scenario in which that really wouldn't be a problem: if we as a profession could establish some really strong, rock-solid principles that anyone could use, that would transcend any site, article, forum or whatever that uses them. There are some good examples: Kirkpatricks evaluation model; 'Tell what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them', Blooms taxonomy, 70:20:10, 'left brain, right brain', Assertiveness, Passiveness and Aggressiveness'. Any of us could quote and use these sorts of things if we need to make a case to buyers.

To progress this i don't think we need a selection process of members and outsiders, just some volunteers to continue the discussion and see if it survives or fades. I'm in for that.

JaF

Daniel Brigham

I'm with Holly. Sort of hard to get my head around, but that's not saying it's not an interesting question. How about the elearning equivalent of Angie's List? It's an idea.

Of course, there could a slight conflict of interest/tension in that well, we are on the Articulate Forum. They create the structure. We show up play along and help out and are rewarded in different ways. If you are talking monetization, well it wouldn't be too long before things got sticky, at least here in the forum.

Maybe some type of guild thing--sure, you've got the elearning guild, but something better/more helpful could be built.