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FTF IS ONE YEAR OLD! Party + Giveaway

Holy smokes it’s FTF’s birthday!

That’s 365 days. Or in a blog’s life more importantly, 76 blog posts. For someone who doesn’t particularly like to write, that’s a whole lot of words.

When I started The FTFP, I didn’t exactly have a plan. I just knew I wanted to connect with other freelancers and share what I’ve learned along my freedom-seeking journey. Most of all, I wanted to show people that they can find freedom in freelancing and it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems.

I wasn’t sure if anyone would read, let alone join the community. But a little voice in my head said I needed to do this anyway. An experiment of sorts.

The ironic part? The blog post I launched the site with is called “The Power of Starting Something Stupid: These People Did It, So Can You”. I had just finished reading the book and it’s what helped me realize, whether this is a stupid idea or not, I need to do it. (If you weren’t around in the beginning, check out the post. TONS of great stories from people I admire.)

I’m so glad I did.

Thank you

Every anniversary requires a little reflection.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned in the last year:

Blogging regularly is hard. But consistency changes everything. I showed up every week (even when I really lacked motivation) and my community grew consistently because of it.

Following your gut and treating things like a experiment pays off. If it didn’t work out, I could have just dropped it and tried something else. But I would never have had amazing new friends, an incredible community, or the extra income from creating courses that actually help people if I didn’t experiment.

Community is everything. Find a way to connect with people and help them connect with others and everyone will grow faster and enjoy the process along the way.

Start a passion project. The entrepreneur life doesn’t have to be all about one thing all the time. In fact it’s better when it’s not. Although a whole lot of work to run this site/community AND my web design business, having FTFP has opened up so many opportunities I never would have had with just my web design business. Most entrepreneurs are multi-passionate. Finding ways to use your various skills and natural gifts will make you feel more fulfilled and happier in life. (I’m not saying you should start a whole separate business or blog. But if you love doing something that doesn’t quite fit in with your freelance business, find a way to do it separately.)

It doesn’t have to be perfect to start. I threw this site together in 3 days. Colors, design, coding, “branding” (or lack thereof). I cringe when I look at the site now. I threw up a few not-so-great blog posts that I laugh at now. BUT- if I spent months on the site, branding, goals, etc etc…I probably would have never started. Or at least I wouldn’t be celebrating the 1 year anniversary this week, that’s for sure. If you want to do something, start now. Work out the details later. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, or next week, or next month. That goes for everything, in business and life.

What’s coming for year 2?

I’ve got a lot of exciting plans in the works to take FTFP to the next level. I’ve got a big rebrand in the works, some free training you’re going to love and I’m brainstorming ideas to make the Facebook community even more useful.

And now the exciting part!

I like to celebrate. And although I can certainly do it by myself, the success of FTFP is really thanks to you. It would be a lot harder for me to show up every week if you didn’t. But you do. And I’m so grateful.

Sooooo…….a giveaway!

I’m giving away 3 special things to 3 special people:

Freelance To Freedom Giveaway

The winner of each will be chosen randomly (1 prize per person). And if you already have SL&I, you can either gift it to a friend or choose from one of the other options.

You can get multiple entries by completing multiple random tasks: tweeting, sharing, liking, following, commenting, etc.

Entries will be accepted until midnight EST October 8th. The winners will be announced on the FTFP Facebook page on October 9th!

To enter: login below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. Still not a part of the FTFP Community? Sign up here and you’ll be invited to the private Facebook group. I’d love to have you.

Leah Kalamakis Leah Kalamakis is the founder of The Freelance To Freedom Project and a web designer/developer for brilliant entrepreneurs. When she’s not hanging out in the FTF Community, you can find her people watching on the streets of NYC. Come say hi on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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Yes, please!

{ 69 comments… add one }
  • I would love more insight on how to build a community!

  • Congrats Leah! You are absolutely awesome!

  • Congrats on the 1 year anniversary of FTF!

    I would love to see more course topics and mastermind match-making 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Great Melanie! What kind of course topics?

      • I would love anything related to web design/coding (common tools/resources to use, what to include in packages, etc) =)

  • Congratulations, Leah!! I haven’t been here form the beginning, but I have enjoyed the blog since I found it. Keep up the good work, my favorite posts are the one with practical tips to deal with the everyday challenge of running a business. Thanks for writing it all!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Thanks Alejandra, glad you have joined us. Thanks for the insight on what you enjoy most!

  • One thing I would love to see more of on FTF in 2015 would be possibly a networking spreadsheet of sorts. People who are looking for services/insight/help could fill out the spreadsheet with what they’re looking for, and other members could go in and offer their help if necessary.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Great idea Tiffany! I’ve had that on my mind (and the way we have it setup right now in the group isn’t very effective) so I’ll put that on my must-do list!

  • Rebecca Gruenspan

    Happy Anniversary!!! You are doing great things and from one community builder to another, I’m loving this community. While I don’t have the commonality of my subject matter, what I’m trying to accomplish is very similar. I would love to see mastermind match-making. That’s a great idea!

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      What you do is so inspirational Rebecca and I’m certain that your people really do need a community and you’re the right person to start it! Good luck and as a couple people mentioned wanting to learn more about building one, I’ve put it on my list of things to share more of!

  • Congrats on your 1 year anniversary Leah. It’s been great to watch your freelance journey via your blog and fb community.
    In 2015 I would like to see more video blogs. I think videos are rad.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh yes, I’ve been dying to do more videos, so glad you said that and love think they’re rad (because not everyone does!) Thanks Elizabeth.

  • Hi Leah,

    Such an awesome giveaway and congrats on 1 year! 🙂

    I’d love to hear more about managing a consistent flow of money in your business when freelancing income is often up and down.

    Thanks! 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Oh that’s a great one! Thanks for sharing and I’m on it!

    • I second what Michelle said, plus how to create a system to continuously get clients/keep them happy on a waiting list. Happy birthday FTFP!

  • Community IS everything!!! The FTF community has been a HUGE asset to me this year… I don’t think I would have taken Jess Creatives full-time as soon as I did without FTF support! 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Thank you Jess, so glad it’s been helpful for you and I’ve said it before but I have to say it again, BIG congrats on making the LEAP and I’m so excited for what this next year has in store for you. Starting with some binge watching of television during the day of course, we all start there after the leap 🙂

  • Congratulations on Year 1! Very inspirational.

    I would love to be able to connect with small groups of people who are supportive and hold me accountable. 🙂

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      Accountability buddies and masterminds have changed everything for me so I’d love to find a way to help people have that too!

  • Congratulations on a major milestone! And thanks for all the help along the way. Proud member of FTF from Day 1.

    • Leah Kalamakis Leah

      You are so welcome and yay for hangin’ out with me since day 1!

  • Woohoo! CONGRATS and HAPPY ONE-YEAR Bday/Anniversary! I’m so happy for you and excited for all of us that you are keeping this awesomeness going. You are SUCH an amazing INSPIRATION!! I think for 2015, I’d like even more help in the time/project management department. Thank you sooo much!!

  • What do you do to stay motivated and focused when you don’t have a lot of work on? It’s fine when I’m busy, but when I’m not I tend to stretch jobs to fill the gap rather than getting them done and working on business stuff.

  • Amy

    Congratulations to you! This is soooo super inspiring. I love following you on your journey. You have so much to give to the world. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us Leah!

  • Congrats Leah! I didn’t realize it’s only been a year. You’re doing a phenomenal job with things!

    Let’s see. I agree that a master networking list would be nice (as opposed to the individual lists we have now). But also, what about a monthly chat/hangout that focuses on a particular aspect of being self-employed? Community members could help with hosting/planning each month so you aren’t taking on the responsibilty by yourself. (I’ll gladly volunteer.)

  • Congrats, Leah! I’m so glad you had the courage to “start something stupid.” I LOVE the FTFP community and it’s helped me more than you know. Can’t wait to see what you do in your second year!

  • Congratulations, Leah! So fun/helpful to have followed you throughout this first year. You’re awesome and I recommend FTFP to everyone! Would love to see some mastermind-matchmaking magic. Sounds really good.

  • Maisie

    I am so proud of you, Leah! You have created a spectacular community of freelancers. Most of us are figuring it out as we go and you are a tremendous resource.

    My biggest struggle continues to be networking. Making genuine connections with people that need what I can help them with is my huge pain point right now. It may even be more of a “how do I promote myself without feeling like a douchebag” sort of thing.

    Keep up the good work, my friend. It matters. 🙂

  • Congratulations on 1 year Leah! I was about to comment even if it wasn’t part of the giveaway 🙂

    This blog and community has meant so much to me this year as I took the plunge and started freelancing. Getting your helpful posts and being a part of the FB commmunity has been a big part of my weeks and helps me (and I’m sure us) not feel so alone in this journey. You’re a constant reminder that yes, it can be done and on your own terms!

    I would like to know more about your processes when working with clients. I’m a web designer/developer/consultant don’t even know what to call myself any more, and would get a lot out of seeing behind the scenes how someone else does it. We can lack that connection with colleagues when going at it solo and it would be fun to see how someone who has made it happen do it!

    Thank you again, you didn’t build something stupid, it’s awesome!

  • I would love to see more interviews with freelancers and really delve into what processes and products and techniques work for them.

  • … and a year ago I was one of the first to ask you for your insights about the process of working with a client, your generosity astounded me!
    I’m still not a freelancer but I’ve learned so much and I’m so happy to have found this site and the group.
    So congratulations and thanks for all your hard work!

  • oh… I forgot to answer the question..
    I would love to see more about how to choose what you should focus on. For example, I love web development but also illustration. From everything I’ve learned so far, it seems it’s better to specialize and “curate” your content very specifically but it’s hard to choose what…
    Thanks again!

  • WOO! YAY! Congrats!! So glad you had the idea! This has been a totally awesome community and full of can’t-live-without advice and gems! Can’t wait to see what’s coming in the future! Thanks and go celebrate! 🙂

  • So glad I joined the Freedom to Freelance community and began the Leap Guide! Congrats on one year!

  • Crithy

    Yay! Party time!! Love this community! You are such an inspiration Leah:)
    I can’t wait to see what you have planned for 2015 !! Woot!

  • Caitlin

    Congrats Leah on FTF being a year old! You’re doing great.. can’t wait to see what 2015 brings… 🙂

  • Happy hapyy happy anniversary!
    Here it is to many, many more <3

  • Congrats on FTF’s first birthday, Leah! It’s definitely one of my favourite websites about freelancing 🙂
    I’d like to see a post on how to decide how much work to take on at a time and how to schedule your time.
    Thank you for this giveaway!

  • Hi Leah! I love this group, it is sooooo nice to have a welcoming place to share my blog posts, and communicate with other creatives. I would love to see video blog posts, I find them so engaging! But just keep doing what you are doing it has been great. Oh, maybe featured freelancers from the group would be cool :).
    xoxo,
    Mickie

  • “Most entrepreneurs are multi-passionate. Finding ways to use your various skills and natural gifts will make you feel more fulfilled and happier in life.”

    YES! LOVE everything about this & congratulations!! You rock. <3

    – Lisa

  • Congrats Leah! I love what you’ve done with this community! It’s by far my favorite group I’m a part of. I love that it’s all about collaboration and I don’t feel like everyone just wants to sell to me.

  • YAY! Congratulations on kicking so much ass this year! More importantly, THANK YOU for creating this community and for being so generous with your experience and knowledge. I can’t wait to see what year 2 has in store 🙂

  • I would love more on how to handle multiple projects at once and stay organized….Also would love courses on how you build wordpress membership sites…thanks for everything you do!

  • i’d like to see more french baby-cakes! (i.e. i’m already super enjoying everything you’re sharing, and can’t think of anything practical that is missing 🙂 )

    congratulations on the anniversary! this community has already been so helpful to me – thank you for listening to that voice and starting something that seemed stupid at the time, but totally wasn’t!

  • Congratulations, Leah! You’ve built something amazing and I can’t wait to see it grow 🙂 In 2015, I’d love to see more guest posts from other freelancers!

  • I’d love to see more ideas and info on getting passive income–the dream, right?!

  • Leah, you have been such an inspiration to me! Thank you for being here consistently. The FTF community was a game-changer for me in my transition to working from home. Stress Less and Impress gave me confidence that I could systematize a higher workload. I’m so glad you started this! Congratulations on your one-year, lady! I can’t wait to see the changes and redesign.

  • Congratulations and it’s so exciting to see how well you have done with this community. I know so many of us really appreciate it, the inspiration, the motivation in particular the support from the facebook group too.

  • Happy Anniversary, Leah!!

    I feel so lucky to have worked with you, sprouted a friendship and become part of this incredibly FTF community you’ve created. You are a ball of fire, chica, shining tons of light and changing people’s lives while creating for yourself the one you envision – I cannot wait to see what year 2 brings for you, both personally and professionally.

    Enjoy some delicious sugary confections and suitably bubbly libations! xo

  • WOO! Congrats on one year. I’d love more tips on mastermind match-making!

  • Jo

    Happy FTFP Birthday! You’ve built such an amazing community in such a short time. I found the site when I was already freelance so thought I wouldn’t get much out of it – I was so wrong!

  • Happy anniversary!! 🙂
    Thank you for doing this work.
    F2F is a really remarkable group, I’ve met so many cool people and made new blogger friends, plus even found new clients!
    I’m looking forward to many more years to come.

    • Re: what I’d like to see more here – any kind of “behind the scenes” stuff. I really loved your series on creating a course.

      Also, ditto on creating consistent money flow.

  • Happy anniversary! Woo hoo. Wow 76 blog posts. Fab!

    So funny that you don’t like the branding – I like that it’s clean and uncluttered, and like the colour combo too. Then again, we’re always more critical of our own work 🙂

    Love that you shared what you’ve learned in a year.

    And YES just get started. “Perfect is the enemy of done!”

  • Congrats to you sweet Leah! You’re the best and such a pro. I’m so happy for you and I love everything you’ve created, especially the community.

    Here’s to the next 365 days…

  • Congratulations TO THIS AMAZING 1st year! No doubt it is a very inspiring project. I would love to be able to connect with other amazing + uber creative entrepreneurs in a small group. Let’s share our experience + let’s be supportive. Cheers to FTP + this superb team!

  • Congrats Leah! You have created something amazing! I would love to see more on the details of how to rebrand without starting all over.

  • Congrats on your 1-year anniversary! *insert happy dance*

    You are such a great example and inspiration to all of us freelancers. As for what I’d like to see more of — I can’t say too much yet, since I started following you a few months ago and I need to read more of your older posts. 🙂

    However, I noticed someone else mentioned more videos and posts about building a community – so I’ll agree with that. lol

    Congrats again 🙂

  • Elle

    I’ve been following the Freelance to Freedom project for a while now. I just want to say your content is so inspiring. I appreciate the motivation and confidence building, as well as the organized approach you promote. I really hope to take Stress Less and Impress whenever it becomes available again.
    In 2015, I’d like to see more posts on processes.

  • Happy Anniversary! Here’s to many more years!!
    I’d like to see more about how to stay organize, motivated and manage stress.

  • Hello! Congratulations!
    I am new to the Freelance to Freedom Project. So far, I like what I am reading. I am interested in learning how to run my freelance graphic design business more efficiently. Also, I would like to learn about how/ where to health insurance and other benefits so that I am not obligated to go back to a lousy full-time desk job. Thanks!

  • Hi Leah,:-)
    I remember seeing your b-school video and today this freedomtofreelance is one year old! What a sucessful path and so inspiring for others! I enjoy everything you’ve been so honestly sharing in this site! Thanks a lot for everything! <3

  • Happy 1 year!!!!! I’ve loved being a part of the FTFP group on Facebook, such a great resource with great people!!!!! Thank you and can’t wait to see all the great things year 2 has in store!!

  • Louise

    Hi Leah, congratulations on the success of your experiment!
    I’d love to read a post (and maybe some testimonies?) about collaborating with freelancers who have different skills to offer a full package of services to clients (i.e. webdesigners/copywriters/translators/etc. working together on a regular basis but not working as a single business entity).
    Thanks 🙂

  • I just found FTF today, and I’m very glad I did. I’m hoping to find posts about ways to connect with other freelancers.

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