NO.MAD Talks, freelancers’ community in Romania, launched freelancers’ online Christmas Fair. Wanting this year, as well, the holidays presents to be not only memorable, but also to offer moments, inspiration, opportunities of personal and professional growth, the organizers put together a series of packages of products and services offered by freelancers and entrepreneurs in the community. We found out more about the idea of the project and its goals by talking with Iunieta Sandu, owner & founder NO.MAD Talks.
By Romanita Oprea
How did the idea come to you?
It guess it did like all the ideas come to me – when I’m relaxed and my mind has space to wonder. So, this time, I was getting a massage, much needed after the work from home sessions, and an idea popped into my head: how would it feel if this year, for Christmas, everyone would have the opportunity to really enjoy their present? How would the family and friends react to receiving more than the classic pajamas, mugs, or X-mas themed sweaters? So I asked Ana, my massage fairy: would you like to attend a virtual Christmas Fair and sell a massage package? She said yes, I would love to.
Where did you get the inspiration from?
With the Christmas Fair in mind, I then asked myself: What is the value that this idea will bring to the community? Is this idea necessary? How many people will benefit from this? I always need to pass the ideas through the filter of why, who, and how. Because if the idea will not bring sufficient value to the NO.MAD Talks community, I prefer to wait until a better one will come. And we are a very creative team, so I’m never afraid that we will run out of fuel. I don’t have a certain place where I get inspired, but I am very connected to the needs of my community, I follow the trends and I use my imagination a lot.
How long did it take to implement it?
Three days. I’m a very lucky girl, I have a very strong and smart team. So, we had a short meeting to explain the idea, next we divided the tasks and a few hours later we posted the announcement that we are looking for freelancers exhibitors at our first Freelancers Christmas Fair. In three days we were online with the landing page and the first exhibitors. Even now we are working constantly because we receive new registrations every day.
How are you choosing the projects and people that get involved?
Every project that I develop for NO.MAD Talks is inspired by our community needs. In March, when the anxiety level has increased a lot because of the pandemic we came up with the idea to organize online meetings to support each other. I remember that we spoke a lot about the fear of death, stress, panic attacks, we always had by our side a therapist, a coach or other people with professional expertise who helped us get over this easier. Then, in April, we launched Kind Market, a barter platform based on the exchange of services and products between freelancers and entrepreneurs. This idea also arose from our community because all their projects had been put on hold and we felt like we needed to do something to help them. So, we thought that we cannot give them money, but we can help them to obtain products for the moment and then, when things get better, after a barter trial, they will switch on paid collaborations. And that is exactly what happened in several cases.
NO.MAD Talks has a core team – besides me, Anca Spiridon is in charge of PR and Lăcrămioara Vidru with our website content and newsletter, and recently we decided to bring along Bogdana Todoruțiu, who write articles for our blog, Adi Coscai who is helping us develop our landing pages and Denisa Constantinoiu on social media. Also, the whole community is close to us, each time we need help with design, programming, budgets and you name it,
What are your hopes and goals?
After this difficult year, the NO.MAD Talks community is more united than ever so my goals are to increase the community and even to go international. We have things to say and a lot of things to do, so I don’t want to limit the project only to Romania. One of my goals is to extend the project globally and we have some plans for this to do next year, hope that we will be able to travel again soon.
How would you characterize the freelancers’ community in Romania right now?
This year was very helpful for the freelancers’ community, a lot of people have taken into consideration freelancing after losing their jobs or the salary has dropped. So, the communities are becoming larger and freelancers will also become a niche not so easy to be ignored anymore.
Do you believe the number of freelancers will grow even more in 2021? What are your expectations?
Yes, I think the number will increase a lot. I’ve noticed three types of new freelancers: people aged 40 – 50 who lose their jobs and now they want to learn digital, students and people who used to work in offline fields who will also switch through digital.