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Upwork Huddles: A Great Way to Connect With Other Freelancers In Person

Community Manager
Lena E Community Manager Member Since: Apr 7, 2015
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Feature image: Local freelancers at an Upwork Huddle in Novosibirsk, Russia.
(Photo credit: Vyacheslav Benedichuk)

When Vyacheslav Benedichuk started freelancing, he quickly realized that it was the perfect match for the lifestyle he envisioned for himself: More flexibility in his work and the ability to take it with him while traveling. However, he also noticed one drawback: He missed having in-person interactions with other people.

That’s why he decided to become a host of Upwork Huddles, independently organized meetups that are hosted by Top Rated freelancers for the local Upwork freelancer community.

“At Huddles, we can talk about our experiences, find people who can help with large projects, or simply chat with one another,” Benedichuk shared.

So far, Benedichuk has hosted six Huddles in Russia, both in his hometown Novosibirsk as well as in the city of Krasnodar. He has been impressed by the excitement of the local freelancer community, particularly in Krasnodar: “The IT industry there is not very big and there are few events. On the other hand, many freelancers move to Krasnodar as the weather there is much better than in the rest of Russia.”

Freelancing provides more freedom and flexibility than a corporate job

Benedichuk has been working in the IT industry for more than 15 years. He started as a junior developer and worked his way to chief technology officer (CTO) and product manager working on large corporate projects for major brands.

He had his first encounter with freelancing when he took on a couple of projects outside of his full-time job. He created an account on Upwork, but it was a few years before he really focused on building his freelance business. He focused on his top technical skills, reviewed job posts carefully, and eventually found one that was right up his alley.

“I spent about two hours crafting the proposal, describing how I would solve the client’s problem, and it paid off—I got the project,” he said. “This was the start of my full-time freelancing business.”

Today, Benedichuk specializes in creating complex solutions for his clients, including highload backend development and different types of front-end development for mobile and web. He also offers product evaluation services and consults with clients to help them assemble and train highly functional teams.

Benedichuk’s services are in high demand and he hasn’t looked back since he left the corporate world. He particularly loves the fact that freelancing gives him more freedom than a regular office job, a higher income, and more flexible work conditions.

“I live in a region where the summer [weather] lasts for just three months a year. This year, my summer was nine months long: I traveled to three different countries and explored two new regions in my country—and I was able to take my work with me.”

Building long term and stable relationships with clients

Benedichuk brings his full experience to the table when working on a project. His experience as a product manager allows him to see the big picture of the product—the strategy behind it as well as its weaknesses and strengths. His experience as a CTO helped him understand layers of different technologies and, as a result, he is able to provide better technical solutions that fit the clients’ strategy.

Once a freelancer has found their niche, Benedichuk recommends these tips to help create the best outcomes for clients:

  • Work with your clients to create high-quality work
  • Follow-up with your clients once the project is completed to offer further support
  • Focus on building long-term and stable relationships with your customers

Benedichuk’s next goal is to grow his freelancing business into a team by creating an agency on Upwork. Perhaps he’ll find one of his future agency members at an upcoming Huddle?

Interested in meeting with fellow freelancers in your city, too?

Upwork has a network of dynamic Upwork Huddle hosts all around the world. Becoming a host like Benedichuk can be a great way to expand your network, connect with other freelancers in person, and have fun!

To learn more about Upwork Huddles and how you can become a host, check out this help article. Please note that becoming a Huddle host is a perk for freelancers who have obtained Top Rated status.

Thanks to all Upwork Huddle hosts and attendees for helping to develop local Upwork freelancer communities. Watch for an upcoming Huddle in your community and follow the buzz online: look for #upworkhuddle on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.