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This past week had us at one of our most favorite events of the year - the annual WARF UpStart Alumni dinner. We’re graduates of this free entrepreneurship program for women and people of color, and the very first iterations of THE JILLS OF ALL TRADES™ came to fruition while we drafted and revised our Business Model Canvas throughout this 10 week program.
UpStart was an important step into entrepreneurship for us.
Thanks to Madison Startups for giving THE JILLS a shout-out. We so appreciate the support.
Madison Startups article, by Audrey Meis
Imagine yourself as a professional with talents that led you to a career of solo work. Now imagine yourself within a system of empowered entrepreneurs that are all searching for their next gig. This is exactly what Corinne Neil and Megan Boswell had in mind when they founded the Jills of All Trades.
With the trademarked term of “Work Solo-Not Silo,” the Jills of All Trades is a Madison-based network that launched in 2016. It showcases and supports the professional talents of individuals, particularly women, in a precise area of expertise, such as consulting, creative directing and independent contracting.
“Jills members recognize the power of aggregation to amplify the voice of women solo-entrepreneurs across the nation to lead the new project-based economy,” Neil said.
Working as an independent professional, Neil recognized that hunting for the next gig was a constant challenge.
Coming from the opposite side, Boswell realized how hard it was to find trusted, on-demand talent. During her corporate career, she ran into resource gaps that hindered team productivity when searching for freelancers.
Neil and Boswell, who met through their sons, shared the vision that there must be a solution to this two-sided issue, and from there, the Jills of All Trades was born.
Neil has a background in education and curriculum and content development, while Boswell has experience in marketing and design and launched her own consulting company three years ago. For the most part, company tasks are handled between the two of them, and they make sure to block days to work specifically on the Jills of All Trades.
”As we scale, the plan is to have a community manager as the ‘Jills Hub Leader’ in locations across the U.S.,” Neil said.
These Jills Hub Leaders will take on the “vetting” process of adding new members to the Jills website. Right now, becoming a Jill requires a check of references and portfolio. Men also have been featured on the site and are encouraged to join.
The Jills of All Trades website currently features just under 50 professionals. Their titles span from “Graphic Designer” to “Clinical Trial and Research Consultant.” Project seekers can browse profiles or create a posting for a job.
There is no middleman when potential customers reach out to contact a Jill. The company generates revenue through membership fees, and it also offers a fee-based service to help potential clients match directly with a specific Jill to meet the needs of the job.
With statistics on their side, Neil and Boswell see a bright future for the Jills of All Trades. Fifty-three million people in the United States are currently working as independent professionals, which is about 35 percent of the workforce. That number is expected to increase to 70 or 80 percent in the upcoming decades, according to Neil.
”Independent, project-based, contract-by-contract is the future of work,” Neil said. “And we think women are well poised to lead this new economy.”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE LINK: