Published on: 27 June 2017 in Industry
An interview with Richard Jeffs, director and founder of FreelanceDiary
Reading time: 3 minutes and 24 seconds
Richard Jeffs is a TV director and the founder of FreelanceDiary, an award-winning website and app that provides a new way to book freelancers and get hired. Since the app launched, it has seen significant investment from Creative England and has been promoted to a wide range of production companies. We spoke to Richard about his directing career, and the app itself.
Tell us about your experiences as a director and as a freelancer.
My first freelance gig was at ITV Factual. Shooting, directing and edit producing Paparazzi Secrets (ITV). I then worked on a feature-length documentary, Britain’s Youngest Boozers (ITV), as a shooting director, before being offered the series directors role on 60 Minute Makeover (which I declined). As well as building a name for myself as a director, I was also being booked as a lighting cameraperson, for series like Panorama and Watchdog.
What gave you the idea to create FreelanceDiary?
The way we work has changed, but the way we find it hasn’t. Traditionally, we would post to jobs-boards but, of course, now we post online. Essentially though, the process hasn’t changed. It’s a dated model, an antiquated one, too slow now for the ever growing freelance workplace. Searching and applying for work is time consuming and not always possible for busy freelancers, resulting in a long delay for clients to receive applications. Often, we are relying on our contacts for making and receiving bookings.
Being restricted to hiring contacts ultimately results in shallow talent pools, whilst providing few new opportunities for those looking for work. It’s really quite limiting. Unanswered phone calls on set creates another problem — many clients spend a considerable amount of time trying to find out their favourite freelancers’ availability and freelancers sometimes miss great opportunities.
Did you have a tech background before working on FreelanceDiary?
I had no experience in the digital and business sector before starting FreelanceDiary; I’ve had a steep learning curve over the past couple of years. Despite catching the entrepreneur bug, I do miss directing and shooting!
So, how does FreelanceDiary work?
FreelanceDiary strips away the barriers between freelancers and those who hire them by providing direct bookings via the app. By swapping the slow job-posting model for a Diary, clients instantly view new or favourite freelancers with availability and make bookings quickly. Bookings are received directly in the freelancers’ Diaries, and they can respond quickly and easily with their rate. This also works when booking crew.
What one thing about FreelanceDiary do you think directors would find most useful?
There are many features directors will find useful, such as the creative Profile and unique Contacts feature. Though if I had to pick one, I think directors would find the Diary very useful. Accessible through the FreelanceDiary app, the Diary has been designed specifically for managing bookings, providing features that are not available in other well-known calendar apps. It will also sync with Google and Apple calendars, enabling members to view their bookings and events in one place.
What’s next for yourself and the app?
Now we’ve built a product we’re happy with, the marketing team and I are focusing on growing FreelanceDiary, increasing the community of talented freelancers and innovative clients. We aim to make FreelanceDiary the industries’ go to website and app for making and receiving bookings.