How To Connect The Dots Between Freelancers And Companies
How Adam Glickman's IdeaLists is taking advantage of trends in work and technology by creating a curated network of creative marketing professionals.
The ways we do our work are changing. According to Accenture, an estimated 20–33% of the US workforce consists of independent workers. Companies are looking to tap into this growing network for specialized creative talent for help on specific projects. Within this shifting landscape, technology is helping to connect the dots between these independent creatives and companies. One service catering to this influx of independent professionals is the IdeaLists.
We caught up with founder Adam Glickman to better understand not only how his business is connecting creative marketing talent with companies, but how the nature of work is increasingly taking cues from the sharing economy.
Can you give us some background about your company and the problem you are trying to solve?
The IdeaLists is an online network of top creative professionals and clients in marketing and media. Its members consist of individuals and companies. We provide a platform that matches creative needs with the best solutions. We have created an open playing field for members looking to bridge industries and explore new opportunities. We also provide a suite of consulting services to clients in need of idea execution.
Our goal at The IdeaLists is to give our members access to interesting projects and new clients, and we want our clients to have access to the highly specialized skills they need for a specific project, without having to pay big retainer costs needlessly. If you play with the website, you’ll see that we made a “Scope of Work Calculator”, which builds a brief. The idea is to manage expectations on both sides. A client and prospective vendor will already have a budget, schedule, and know what the deliverables are so that expectations are aligned at the very beginning. These are the things we are doing to provide value, education, and access.
How do you curate the talent of this network? Is there a vetting system involved?
I’d like to think of it more as a filter, as opposed to curation, because curation is subjective. We are not injecting our own taste into who gets into the site and who doesn’t. The criteria for being a member of the site is that you have to show a portfolio that has two years of client work on a national or international level. Certainly, there’s a lot of talented kids who are out of college, but they don’t have the experience necessary to manage client expectations. It’s basically, can you be trusted with someone’s money and deadline.
How are you advertising the service?
We have done some events, but we need to do more. Something new that we have tried is retargeting banner ads. At first, I thought this concept was ridiculous, but it grew on me because as a B2B business, most of the time we are talking to the right person but at the wrong time. With retargeting banners ads we can remain on the top of peoples minds. Interestingly, most of our business just comes to us organically. The longer we are around, the longer we make clients happy. We have played with digital marketing, but that sent us bad clients.
What are some of the larger trends around work influencing this service?
The work world is moving from the comfortable ownership model into a sharing economy. When I mention ownership models, that includes employees versus freelancers. I think everyone agrees now that the most talented people are working freelance or are starting their own small companies. There is a new ecosystem out there that’s being built up around talented creative professionals, fairly senior people, that have decided to do their own thing. The IdeaLists is connecting the dots for these folks and providing access to clients to connect with one of those creative professionals.
Where did you find inspiration to start the project?
The inspiration started when I went from my magazine role, which was having lots of compelling content, made inexpensively for a specific audience to my advertising role where you made small amounts of content that cost a lot of money. This transition period made me think that there must be a middle ground to facilitate a service to all the clients that are in the middle, that I previously mentioned in this interview. The clients that need better quality work than they are going to get from a crowdsourcing website, but don’t require Super Bowl advertising level work.