There are two questions I get asked often at CollabMiami meetups. The first being “How did it start?” Well, after a nine year project building and working closely with creative teams I knew I would miss that interaction as a freelancer. At that point I set out to find a way to build a similar community around me. I figured the best way to make like-minded friends is to invite them to a like-minded gathering. So, I invited anyone that would care to work alongside me at a coffee shop to join me. Mind you the thought in my head was that it would be like the late 1800’s when artist like Toulouse-Lautrec would meetup with a few artist friends and encourage and challenge each other along their fine art journey. Little did I know the ball I started rolling.
The easiest thing was for CollabMiami to start meeting in coffee shops around Miami. Those that had internet and at least one table to gather around was good enough. Then the Arts & Business Council of Miami took notice that CollabMiami was gaining popularity and uniting a historically very disjointed industry group. Their support legitimized what has become a unique city-wide initiative. Soon after, some of the most prestigious coworking spaces in Miami were extending invitations to host CollabMiami Meetups. We have had meetups at coworking spaces, hotels, cafe’s, book stores and even breweries that have opened their doors to welcome Miami’s creative freelance community. Along with the monthly meetups we also hold GreetUps, Discussion Series Workshops and special events. I have personally been invited to speak on the subject of creative collaboration, the business of freelancing and addressing creative students.
So what’s the second question? “What’s in it for me?” As shocking as it was to hear that question at first, the inquiry was honest and respectful. The funny thing was that the answer shocked him as much as he shocked me with the question. My answer… “You.”From the inception of CollabMiami the belief of a “real relationship” with “real people” has been tantamount to any business type of gain.
From the inception of CollabMiami the belief of a “real relationship” with “real people” has been tantamount to any business type of gain.Shocking I know, but just ask any freelancer that has attended a CollabMiami meetup about their experience. You’ll find that most connect with someone within the first 10 seconds of entering the room. How is this possible? People in Miami don’t even like people in Miami?! Well, when the predisposition of meeting with others is caring about others, things change. CollabMiami freelancers come to work on their projects without fear of someone stealing their idea. CollabMiami freelancers willingly help each other on the spot. CollabMiami freelancers encourage each other when faced with a tough decision. CollabMiami freelancers get excited about each others accomplishments. Lastly, CollabMiami freelancers become friends. I didn’t start CollabMiami because I needed more business. I started it because I wanted to find more like-minded friends in the creative industry. I wanted to “make friends, not contacts” which coincidentally, became our credo.
It’s simple really. The way we live out our brand is believing that better relationships leads to better business. No catch. No pretense. No bait and switch. This my friend is coworking at it’s best.
See you at the next CollabMiami Meetup.
Author: George Cuevas
As Freelance Creative Director/Graphic Designer, George Cuevas is sought by brands requiring custom visual solutions. As founder of SquareHue.com and CollabMiami.com, George brings an unparalleled amount of new media marketing and business experience to all his creative graphic design solutions.