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Freelance Wins chats with Samantha Anderl, Co-founder of Harlow - Issue #18

Freelance Wins chats with Samantha Anderl, Co-founder of Harlow - Issue #18
By Joseph Solomon • Issue #18 • View online
In this issue, I had the pleasure of catching up with Samantha , co-founder of Harlow. We discussed key lessons from her freelance career, why she decided to build Harlow, and how she plans on empowering freelancers with their day-to-day operations.
Read the full interview below :)
Hello! Who are you?
I’m Samantha Anderl, co-founder of Harlow - a tool that helps freelancers manage and organize their day-to-day operations, get a full view of their clients, and get paid for the work they do – all in one centralized hub.
Previous to founding Harlow, my co-founder Andrea and I ran a boutique consulting business, Interimly (which is just our fancy way of saying we were freelancing, together, with support from some amazing subcontractors). We experienced the ups and downs of freelancing firsthand during that time which led us to the creation of Harlow. 
Outside of *what I do*, I’m a big believer in work-life balance, prioritizing happiness and self-care, and spending quality time with those who fulfill and energize you. I love a good book (give me all of the memoirs), traveling, and seeking out meaningful experiences.
What’s your freelancing story? Tell us how you started and grew your freelance business!
In 2014, my co-founder Andrea and I met while working at Campaign Monitor, where we both worked in marketing. Andrea ultimately became the CMO and I ran marketing for the self-service business. We both learned and grew a ton there, but eventually reached a place where we wanted more freedom and flexibility. That’s where Interimly was born.
Andrea and I stepped into the freelancing world and offered growth marketing services to early-stage tech start-ups. Andrea had freelanced off and on throughout her career, but this was my first experience full-time freelancing, although I’ve always had a myriad of side projects. We found a great niche to work in and generated a lot of our business through referrals from venture capital and private equity firms, previous clients, and former colleagues. 
Through freelancing, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous? 
So many lessons were learned along the way. A few that come to mind:
1) Figure out how to sell your value and charge more than you think you should.
Andrea and I raised our prices several times during our freelance careers and very rarely did we get push back on cost. But we spent a lot of time up-front figuring out our positioning and how we needed to articulate the value of our projects early on to our clients.
2) Just because you’re not working a typical 9-5 doesn’t mean you don’t need vacations and time away from work.
It is still just as important to take those breaks and refill your cup. On that same note, I think a lot of freelancers struggle taking off because we don’t want to let down our clients so people end up working while on vacation. I think clear and consistent communication with your client about upcoming vacays helps so you really can take that time off.
3) Focus is key - Keeping your clients focused and keeping yourself focused.
Constantly restating goals to the client and prioritizing tasks was key to preventing scope creep, managing my time, and making my work as impactful as possible. 
Freelancing and working for yourself can be isolating. Don’t take this journey alone. 
How did you make the switch from freelancer to SaaS founder?
On top of supporting our clients at Interimly, we were running a small business. Even though we had a strong handle on the business and a growing client base, the day-to-day management wasn’t streamlined. We were using several tools to manage our business, none of which we loved. We were watching other freelancers struggle with the same thing. After talking to a number of our freelancing friends, it became clear that there wasn’t a fan favorite tool or solution out there specifically for the B2B freelancer. So Andrea and I decided we’d create the solution.
We had both been working with early-stage start-ups for 8+ years at this point, and believed that we could build and grow a company from scratch - so we took a deep breath, committed, and took on the challenge.  
Do you see more freelancers turning their expertise into products/technology in 2022 and beyond? 
I definitely see a larger number of freelancers packaging up courses, templates, coaching services, and more to diversify their income streams and monetize things that aren’t tied directly to their time (which we all know is a finite resource). But on the other hand, I know that many freelancers LOVE what they do. They love to write, design, develop - not everyone’s goal is to build a business or revenue streams outside of their services. 
What is Harlow and how does it empower freelancers?
Harlow is a product that gives freelancers everything they need to run a thriving business including client & project management, proposals & contracts, task management, time tracking, and invoicing. But Harlow is more than just a product.
Yes, we want to help freelancers upgrade their lives through the software they use to manage their business, but we also want to give them the resources they need to run their business, magnify their voices, advocate for them, and help them build a network that supports and uplifts them. 
Not everyone’s goal is to build a business or revenue streams outside of their services. 
What would be your advice to freelancers starting from scratch in 2022? 
Freelancing and working for yourself can be isolating. Don’t take this journey alone.
Build your network. Getting advice, mentorship, and feedback from other freelancers is so valuable. This is a very open & diverse community that loves to help - so don’t be intimidated to reach out and build some connections.
Start engaging wherever feels comfortable for you, whether that’s a FB group, #freelancetwitter, #FreelanceChat, or one of the many communities out there aimed towards freelancers - join the conversation.
Follow Samantha and Harlow here:
I hope you found this interview meaningful. If you’d like to be featured in an interview, hit reply and send me a short note :)
Until next time ✌️
-Joseph

🗞️ Reads of the week
New Report Finds 59% of Freelancers Are Owed $50,000 or More by Late Paying Clients
Africa's female gig workers battle beliefs on what real work is — Quartz Africa
Freelancers salaries surge amid pandemic and digitization - CTech
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Joseph Solomon

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