Hey! Do you know the slack community ”Freelance Athens“? If you are a freelancer in Athens you should definitely go check it out! It is an initiative started by two digital nomads, Kim Gillick and Lucy Xu, based in Athens and its aim is to give the freelancers of Athens a nice, tight and functional online community to turn to when they are in need of some support!
Recently, we hosted their first event: “Staying Social as a Freelancer” here at Stone Soup. At the event, Kim and a very active nomad, Nathan Sudds, shared some useful insights and experiences relevant to Athens freelancers, helping the community to expand beyond an online-only presence! It’s been a successful and well organised event moderated and facilitated by Karolina Sieler, who recently joined the Freelance Athens’ team remotely.
Who is Karolina?
Karolina is from Poland and she has 6 years of experience as a teacher and a public speaker in England and Scotland. She used to be a university lecturer and – occasionally – a speaker at conferences all over Europe, until she realised she was craving a new challenge. After exploring new professional options for a bit, she initiated her first business by setting up a community for entrepreneurs, start-up owners and freelancers in London, called FBIZZ Freelancers Hub. She spent 2 years running events for the community, inviting speakers and facilitating panel discussions. She used the community’s platform as a ground for creating a business blog while she took her first steps as a freelancer. Two years ago, she decided to start a new chapter in her life and become a digital nomad.
Being a digital nomad: dreaming it vs living it
“My vision was to start from London and spend 5 years there, then go to Hong Kong for another 5 years, then New York etc. I was dreaming about living the big city life but only after a year and a half in London I realised it wasn’t right for me. Therefore, I decided to keep my work life in London and explore my opportunities in different places, including Athens.”
Being a freelancer may become frustrating and lonely. The reason Karolina appreciates Athens so much is for the vibrant city life that gives you the opportunity to build deep connections with local people, as well as, with other expats. This is the main reason she seeks for opportunities to engage and comes back whenever she is able to.
Karolina’s business and vision
Over the years, she has finally figured out the ideal business model that makes her happy and at the same time supports her financially. Karolina has built her own online platform supporting law students in the UK called 1stClassLLB. She creates online courses and runs a YouTube channel.
Both in London and in Athens, she tried at the beginning to work from home. She soon realised that she was missing the sense of belonging to a community or organisation. She was set out to find a coworking home and to be able to share workspace, initiate activities with other coworkers and potentially work on a common cause.
Karolina drops occasionally by Stone Soup and has joined Kim and Lucy, to fulfil their common vision, that is to unite the Freelance Athens community both online and offline. “I am very satisfied with my decision to work from here. Ever since I started I feel part of a big family, plus I witness myself being more productive!”
The European Creative Hubs Network was a 2 year-long project (2016-2018) partially funded by the European Union. The project’s main goal was to unite creative hubs across Europe by forming bridges of communication and collaboration amongst creatives, entrepreneurs and freelancers from different sectors who could share their experience, exchange knowledge and explore possibilities of cooperation.
In Autumn 2018, while the project was coming to an end, the Network that emerged from ECHN started planning their next steps. In order to continue with their vision of bringing together creatives and entrepreneurs across Europe the Network decided to hοld its 1st Conference and General Assembly in Athens, Greece on 11th-13th April 2019. It will be the first official community meeting and the election of the Steering Committee.
At Stone Soup, we are very excited to take part in this initiative and we look forward in meeting everybody in person. It’ll be a great chance for networking and talking about ECHN’s progress and future steps as a newly founded collaborative organization.
Save the date and stay tuned for more info about the event and registration that will be announced soon!
Rails Girls was created in 2010 in Finland and has grown rapidly in over 90 cities worldwide. Since 2015 Rails Girls organize events also in Athens, and the next one will take place on May 4th and 5th at The Hub Events.
The goal of the event is to familiarize women of all ages with programming and motivate them to dive into the magical world of Ruby on Rails. During the two-day workshop, participants will develop a web application on the Ruby-on-Rails framework and will have guidance from experienced coaches. They will also be able to attend talks related to programming and hear the experiences of other women in the field of Information Technology.
The 3rd Rails Girls Athens is organized by volunteers and is supported by Visa, Skroutz.gr, PwC Greece and Accenture, as well as, Workable, eproductions, SlashData, Agile Actors, e-food.gr and Funkmartini.
The participation is free. You only need to apply here and to bring your own laptop.
For more details about the philosophy of Rails Girls and the event program, visit the official website.
See you at the Rails Girls!