Our mission this month is to connect with Black freelancers and Black-owned businesses. As a Black-owned business, we understand the importance of representation and visibility in the creative industry. Our goal is to create a space for Black freelancers to share their stories and inspiration throughout the month of February.
Today we feature George Woodard III. George is a WordPress Developer & MarCom Website Specialist with eLsqurd Media Group. He has been working in the website design and development industry for over ten years. Read more about George and join us on this journey to promote Black excellence in the creative world. Let’s uplift and support each other and feel free to share your story in the comments!
#BlackFreelancers #SupportBlackTalent #BlackCreatives #BlackOwners #BlackHistory #BlackExcellence
LT: What challenges have you faced as a Black freelancer?
GW: Exposure. Being a black man in tech sometimes comes with the idea of “you don’t look the part”. Some of it isn’t malicious but I’ve noticed it surprises people how much I actually know. Then when I showcase my expertise, it comes as a surprise that I would know what I know. Now I am starting to push more to speak in front of audiences, I notice more of us aren’t in the room because many of us don’t know some of these rooms exist or, if we do, how to get in them.
LT: How can Black freelancers use their experiences to create meaningful change?
GW: Being unapologetically professional. What I mean by that is to use your Blackness as a superpower and not a crutch. Sometimes, some of us would often express “we need to do XYZ because as a Black person…”. That mindset needs to change to “Because I am Black, I can accomplish…”. Be yourself. I promise more people will accept you being you than not especially if we expect the world to understand us. How can the learn better about who we are if we don’t show up being the authentic version of ourselves?
LT: What advice would you give to other Black freelancers who are just starting out?
GW: First…define the ONE thing you want to do and don’t deviate from it. If it’s building websites, build websites. If it’s graphic design, just do graphic design. Next, clearly define the audience you want to serve. I work with Government Agencies, non-profits, and B2B. Those are the only niches I want to work with. Just starting out, so it may take some time to find yours and that’s ok. Once you do, lock in on that niche. Study as much as you can about how you can help and get in front of them. Show up where they network and be the expert on what you do in the room.
LT: What have been some of the most rewarding moments from your freelancing career?
GW: Freedom of choice. The joy that I get to wake up and work with who I want to work with and what I want to work on has been my greatest accomplishment and a blessing.
LT: How have you seen the freelance industry evolve in terms of inclusion and diversity?
GW: I am meeting more and more organizations that are explicitly looking to partner and work with diverse agencies no matter their classification (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, Women-Owned, etc).
LT: What do you believe is the most important thing for Black freelancers to remember during Black History Month?
GW: Be you, learn who you are, and don’t give your power away. Becoming more of yourself gives you space to show your uniqueness. In our yesteryears, the uniqueness of being Black (because of the times & circumstances) has made more of us “hide” our Blackness. Understandably, the world wasn’t too accepting of who we are. It’s more now that we are not only accepted for our uniqueness but having access to the opportunities where we are the ones who are in charge and are given the space to show that is great. If you be yourself unapologetically then you will be given the opportunities to still be that AND it will be comfortable.
The boldness of your confidence is what repels people. Be straightforward, be professional, be kind but also be you. Also, don’t give away your power. What I mean by that is do not give away the essence of who you are because of circumstances outside of your control AND because of a lack of accountability (not in a harsh way). It is ok to make mistakes. Just because you are Black, that doesn’t mean you can’t make mistakes. Yes, you can. You are no more human than anyone else. It’s what you do with those mistakes that determines your superpower. Be tenacious about living out loud but accept that with growth comes mistakes. And that is ok. Because without them that means you are not learning. And if you are not learning, you are not growing.