Our story and how you help tell it.

Alex Butler reflects on what KindredHQ is about.

‘I bet that behind half those windows there are thousands of people working at home, alone. What a wasted opportunity. I wonder what would happen if we brought them together?’

2 years ago, I stared out of my home office window in South London looking down from the 12th floor to the thousands of windows below. It was a grey morning and I was feeling the full impact of the January blues with the reality of a dry period in my freelancing year.

For anyone, particularly those of us who need the company of others to thrive, working for yourself can be glorious, but it can also be really difficult to keep your spirits up when the going is tougher. 

I knew that although I didn’t want to go back to being an employee, I did want to find that camaraderie and to connect with other people working for themselves, just like me.  I craved conversation, and people to bounce ideas off, and occasionally validation.  I couldn’t understand how, despite all the incredible advances in technology, we weren’t connecting to help each other, work together and benefit from the upsides of being freelance, like feeling better about ourselves, our families and our communities.  

It seemed that there whilst the number of us who were going freelance was rising dramatically, the established working culture wasn’t. That meant that the infrastructure wasn’t there.

I wanted to do something about that. Not just for me, but because I knew that if I could solve the problem of disconnection and feeling like you belonged when working for yourself, then perhaps we’d all thrive.

That’s when KindredHQ was born.  Initially as a way to blog about the things that I observed and the emerging trends that were starting to gather steam.  Then we held our first Jelly.  Not my invention, but an amazing movement, and I did think it was strange that in a large city like London there were only a few opportunities to get groups of home workers together.  ‘I’, became ‘we’, as other like minds put their hand ups to help drive the movement forward.

It surprised me how fast those informal gatherings gathered pace, and by the end of 2012, we were holding 3 or 4 coworking pop-ups (we called them that because we wanted to be clear what they were) a week at a variety of fabulous London coworking spaces.

It’s been a blast.  We love it, and we think we make a difference.

We launched a membership community, as more and more people started to ask for opportunities to learn more about how to work for yourself more effectively, how to connect with others and how to share skills and experience. 

It’s been a blast. We love it, and we think we make a difference.

But. (You could hear that coming couldn’t you?).  Sometimes we get it wrong. And in making those mistakes, we’ve learnt an awful lot about what we are and what we are not.

So here’s what I think we are:

–       A connection platform, both on and offline, for independents and those that work with them.

–       Part profit, part non-profit.  We believe that a sustainable freelance economy means getting away from ‘free’.

–       Somewhere you can find people and share complementary skills and experiences with them.

–       Somewhere safe where you can articulate your successes, difficulties and questions.

–       A body of talent, skills and knowledge. Proud to be independent.

–       A campaigning organisation, always looking for a more sustainable future for independents.

And here’s what I think we’re not:

–       A co-working space. Although we love our coworking partners, and we want to encourage growth in coworking spaces which are a critical part of the new infrastructure.

–       A technology solution. We might use or partner with appropriate software providers or apps if we think they’re useful to you, but we aren’t in the tech game.

–       A social enterprise or cooperative movement.  Again, we love and applaud social and collaborative enterprises, but we firmly believe that independent working should pay, so we aim to charge for services and products that improve or sustain other freelancers.

To be honest, we are (as they say in the tech world) in perpetual beta. But we are going to try to be truer to our original purpose from now on. We’d love your help in designing the right support system for freelancers. Right now, we don’t know what products and services we’ll be delivering in 2020. That will depend on you. 

However, based on your feedback, we do know what you need and want in the coming months.  So we’ll start there.

I can’t tell you how much it means to hear from you.  I love hearing about your moves towards freelancing, your experiences and how we’ve been a part of your story.  So keep them coming and let’s change the way everyone works.

Onwards to 2014!









Who is Alex Butler

Hello, I'm Alex Butler and I founded the KindredHQ community and blog back in 2011 after I re-started a freelance career. I LOVE freelancing and I wouldn't swop the freedom, control and joy of working for myself for anything. But I realised how much I missed the company and energy of other people - of having a team around me. So, I got a few people together one day with our laptops, a jar of coffee and some jelly babies and we sat and worked together one afternoon. We've been doing that every week in London, UK since then! I am still 100% freelance and I like to share the everyday highs and lows of being a freelancer here on the blog.

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