It feels like every year ends with the statement, “where did this year go?.” 2017 is no different for us and as we approach the last two weeks of December I am making a concerted effort to remain in the present and not gallop toward the adventures that await in 2018. This was a huge year both personally and professionally. In addition to the madness of planning 27 events in six different cities, in September we welcomed our third child, London Cleo. Running a small business while juggling three kids, let alone a newborn, is no joke and because we had four major events between September and November ‘Maternity Leave’ was sadly not an option this time around.
I am asked daily how I do it all and the truth is, I don’t. Technically, I am a one woman show, but in reality I have an incredible team of contractors that has been instrumental in getting me through the past few months…and really the past four years since starting LBEC. Nearly any client who has worked with Little Bird has met Brianne. She holds down the fort in NYC and works on all our projects east of the Mississippi. She is integral to our success and essential to my sanity. But Brianne and I are still just two people and it takes a lot more than two to keep Little Bird running smoothly. When peak season hits, we have an amazing network of freelance producers & vendors around the country who provide expertise in their local markets and whom we can contract on a need-only basis.
This business model has been crucial to our ability to grow without unnecessary expenditure. And we’re not alone. According to the 2017 Upwork & Freelancers Union study, 35% of the US workforce (57.3 million) are freelancers who account for 6% of the US economy and at the current rate of growth, the majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers by 2027. Moreover, the surge of on-demand labor platforms and online work management solutions means we can more easily find freelance talent and seamlessly work with them regardless of their location. In the past year, we’ve successfully used Thumbtack, Staffly and LinkedIn to find qualified support staff as well as Daylancer which is sort of a bridge between online platforms and more traditional recruiting. We can then seamlessly onboard new producers, regardless of location, with an introduction to Planning Pod, our cloud-based planning software where we track and maintain all aspects of a given project.
Even more exciting for us is that this has been a two way street. In the past two years we’ve acquired several new clients by way of blind contact requests and RFP’s on these platforms. There is tremendous opportunity for both the client and the vendor to efficiently meet their own labor and service needs and I for one am super excited to see where continued sophistication of these digital platforms can lead us. That said we’ll always take a good old fashioned word-of-mouth referral!
So on that note, cheers to a fabulous 2017 and here’s to an even better 2018! Happy holidays everyone!