That's IDLance.com!


Andrea McEneaney and Parker Grant join me to talk about breaking into freelance instructional design. Andrea and Parker are the co-head honchos at IDLance.com, an awesome website dedicated to providing guidance to anyone looking to embark on a freelance ID career.


They share some of the motivation for starting IDLance, which is that basically there really isn't another good place to find practical information all in one place.


They also share the most beneficial tool a freelancer can have - mindset!


You can connect with Andrea and Parker on LinkedIn.

The following transcript was auto-generated and may contain typos or spelling errors.


Leslie Early

Okay, today I am excited to have my two guests first episode with two guests, which makes it extra special. I have Andrea McEneaney and Parker Grant here with me and they are the Co-head honchos of IDLance.com. Which is if you haven't heard of it a very awesome resource for all things freelance ID. Thank you, Andrea and Parker for being here.


Andrea McEneaney

Yeah, thanks for having me.


Leslie Early

So I'm not quite sure how this is gonna go. I made like I said, it's my first time trying it out. But I think we're three smart people, and we can probably figure it out. So we will, we will do it. It'll be great. It will be great. I have no doubt. I have no doubt. But I did want to turn it over. Let's just start with Andrea cuz you're at the top of my screen. So you get Duck Duck goose, you're it if you want to take a couple of minutes and just introduce yourself and kind of what you're doing in instructional design. And then we'll just give Parker the same opportunity.


Andrea McEneaney

Sure. I know, I know. You chose me to go first. Because for other reasons, too, because I'm no just kidding.


Parker Grant

I'm a gentlemen.


Andrea McEneaney

Yeah, exactly. I was gonna say he knows I'll get mad if I don't get Ladies first. Um, so I'm Andrew mcenaney. I am an instructional designer, technologist writer. I have been so for about five years now. And I'd say that my specialty is definitely like taking complex situations and complex content and breaking it down intomore accessible, less intimidating forms, I guess. And it lands, that's what we do a lot is we take scary business business e content, and we make it palatable, and hopefully sometimes a little fun. Or at least in my head. I'm funny when I when I write the things. But yeah, but I'm a freelancer. And I've worked in various industries. And it always comes down to you know, writing, engaging, content, taking, taking crazy stuff and making it readable. Yeah, yeah. And I can vouch for all of that, I think you'd tell us a lot of those things that you're aiming to accomplish. So


Leslie Early

How about you, Parker?


Parker Grant

Well, I don't know, I think my list is way too long at my age. Let me see if I can just break this down. Very simply, I had about 21 years in corporate life. So I call that my former life. And I have had an instructional design business or learning design business for about 13 years. So in the last 13 years, I've been able to innovate some learning products, or I would say learning technologies is probably a better way to phrase it. And also been an advisor to a couple of companies, and also doing the usual freelancing kind of consulting work for various companies. So that's in a nutshell, so I can, you know, unpack every one of those, but I don't want to eat up all of your time.


Leslie Early

Well, yeah, well, it sounds like you've had a nice career and a lot of experience to draw from. So um, let's see. I guess the main reason you're here is you are the CO head honchos of IDLance.com. And I will say, I don't think I've ever told anybody else this before, but because I loved IDLance.com And I made that video where Tyler and I sort of did a little video review of IDLance.com that was sort of like the beginnings of That's Awesome ID because I thought IDLance.com was so awesome that I needed to talk about it. I realized I didn't like being on video that much. Change that concepting to maybe I can do this just in a podcast.


Parker Grant

That is awesome.


Andrea McEneaney

That that's Awesome ID.


Leslie Early

Exactly. That's Awesome IDLance.com.


Andrea McEneaney

I was so full I was blown away that someone actually cared enough to do something like that. That's Parker and I were like, wait, what they like spent their time to make a review of our stuff. That was that was like the kick in the pants of like, Alright, maybe we're on the right track.


Leslie Early

You definitely are. And I'm glad you're here to talk about it and to share more about it. So let's back up a minute. Um, what was your motivation? Like how did this very cool ID project even come around?


Andrea McEneaney

I think Parker, you should start and then I'll add because you were the sort of brainchild here.


Parker Grant

Okay, so gentlemen first in this case, yes. All right. Well, you know, it was interesting, because back in the fall of 2019, I was sensing there was an increase interest in the market or freelancing. And it's just one of those things I think has been around for a few years. But it just became more evident that there was a migration of people leaving full time careers moving into the freelancing career. And there's this term called the gig economy, there's also a term called the freelance economy. Whatever it is called, is there is a movement. But that really enhanced because of the pandemic. However, back in the fall of 2019, is also when I met Andrea, because there was a project that I brought in, I think, five different writers. And it was for a text messaging company. And this was the first time I met Andrea, because I put it out there, you know, some kind of a request or freelance help. And she was one of them. So the work that she put in to this project, I was just totally blown away with her writing. You know, okay. Just pat yourself on the shoulder. Yeah. So, yeah. And I just, I said, you know, here's somebody who has a lot of talent, and, you know, talk to Andrew about this idea about, you know, maybe putting together a curriculum to help people transition from full time career, you know, as an ID, into their own business. And so we were just, you know, having conversation several times to figure out if this was the right thing to do. And we decided, yeah, let's do it. So that's the beginning of it. Maybe Andrea can pick up from there.


Leslie Early

Yeah, that's, that is how it all started. And I, when we were working on that those text message courses, it was really an eye opener, about how people could really learn in a more down to earth way, especially if it's something that you're personally learning, right? Like, it's not like you're doing it because as a part of a school or a part of your even from your employer, the whole point is like you're doing it on your own time. So why shouldn't it be as fun as it can be, but also as kind of just straight to the point? Because one thing through talking with Parker, I had all these realizations as I was becoming a freelance instructional designer, I felt like I had to just Google the crap out of all of these things that you need to know to start the business side of things from how to find clients, and what do I need to know portfolio about about taxes? Do I need a business entity, and I was just on all these industry blogs, and looking at LinkedIn thinking like, Wow, look at all these LinkedIn, all stars, I'm never going to be as good as that. How also on the industry blogs who do I believe, because there would be differing opinions on everything, and it was driving me nuts. And I always felt like there was these kind of like, unwritten rules of engagement to get this gated information, like kissing butts to like, be able to just know the basics. And when Parker came to me with, with this idea, I was like, we can just cut through all of that, and give people the information that they need in a way that makes it not drudgery, basically. And also, this whole feeling of the gig economy becoming bigger and feeling like being tied to one employer forever. It's not really even the safest way to go anymore. Which we can get into like the philosophical discussion of like whether we you should have to work to be able to survive, but that's a whole other thing. So it just seems like the right thing to do at the right time. And to just have fun working with Barker. He's like the information guru where he's been doing this, and he's got all his experience. And then I had sort of like the newborn baby eyes. Yeah, a new new and freelance instructional designer and like, it was kind of a double win for me, because I got to be a part of this cool company. But also, I get all my questions answered by an expert. And then I just rewrite the yes for people.


Well, that's the thing that was that I noticed and why I did want to share it with people is because and I continue to want to share it with people and I mentioned it in conversations all the time, is that before I work, and now I'm in a full time position, but before that I was thinking freelance would probably be the way I was going to go and facing the exact same challenges that you just described Andrea of like, how am I Going to gather all of this data, like that's a job in itself of like figuring out everything you need to know. It's just overwhelming, you know, if you're trying to do it on your own, but I just really loved that you both have gathered so much information, and you have templates and all different things in there that someone who has no idea what they're doing. Maybe you don't have all the answers there. But it's a very good starting point.


Yeah, and we tried to put it all together with empathy, right? So like, what are these common problems that people feel? What are these common, like demons that we all have when we're trying to go freelance, like, Am I good enough? How will I ever find clients? How can I prepare, and we just wanted to make sure that people felt supported even emotionally by reading our material. So you've got the facts, you've got the straight how tos, we don't have a bunch of like, fluffy content marketing content, where you're like, you know, five easy steps to decide on this. And then you read it, and you're like, I actually learned nothing, you just want me to, like keep you know what I mean? This like kind of fluffy stuff that doesn't really tell you what you actually have to do. Or these, you know, people that you see they're like, oh, to make a portfolio do these things. But they're not real steps. It's like, half samples, well, what does that really look like? Like? Do you need a full course on your website, or, like, we felt like we find, you really need just like three really good screens? For each sample, like just having that actual information helped me and I just wanted to be able to help other people that way.


Parker Grant

Yeah. And we even went into the details of how to set up your LinkedIn profile. And all the various steps, you know, we went right into really detailed steps on how to set up your LinkedIn profile. But there are a lot of things that in United kind of, you know, we brainstormed what people might need, you know, just basically setting up the profile, setting up a website, identifying it and bringing in the logo, you know, that kind of thing. But the one thing that I was really happy about our co head honcho partnership is that, you know, I was able to pull together not only the content of the research and experiences, but also experiences from other people. Andrew was able to repurpose that information to something that, you know, funny at times, empathetic, like she said, and also down to earth. And we wanted to make this, you know, these lessons, less intimidating, because that's, it's really what it's all about, people are kind of very nervous, especially now, how do I make that transition? But when you read through the lessons, and you think, wow, this is not so bad, I can do this. That's that's the whole goal of this curriculum that we have at IDLance.


Leslie Early

Yeah, I couldn't agree with everything you both just said. I did, though, to get a little click-baity on you. But if so, just to give a takeaway for this session of for listeners, if you had one or two, like tips that you can give to someone who's thinking about freelancing right now? Like what what would you say are like the first, you know, one or two things that they could do that would, you know, increase their their either knowledge or chance of success?


Sure, do you want to go first? Do you want me to go first? Parker?


Parker Grant

Go ahead, Andrea. Ladies first.


Leslie Early

He needs time to think.


I, I saw right there that that was that was thinly veiled. What do you call it? Yeah. Thinking time. Okay. I would say, and this isn't so much a singular tip. It's more of a mindset that I really It breaks my heart when I see and I'm acting like, I'm some expert guru. I'm not at all but like, this is how I feel like I've been able to get things going in a way that I really never thought that I could is having this mindset of not being afraid to take on stuff whether you've got a full time job, or whether you are, you know, in between jobs or whatever, just like not being afraid to put yourself in for gigs that you think that you could do. And not boxing yourself out of opportunities just because you're really really worried about the details of like, well, like, I work full time well I have time to do it or I don't know exactly how many hours per week this is going to be or this doesn't seem to fit perfectly in my schedule or my life at the moment. I I think that if more people were just willing to kind of take that leap of faith to even just try to put their name in for something, because number one, it doesn't mean you're going to get it just because you apply for it. But you can you just never know what something's going what a gig or what a relationship is going to be like until you try. And I see so many people just saying like, you know, I'd really love a gig. But I can really only work on nights and weekends. So I can't really find anything. But there, nobody's ever going to write, we only need someone to work on nights and weekends in a gig description, like, they're just not going to do that. So you don't know what they're really expecting until you try until you talk to them and say like, Oh, actually, you know what, there's not a lot of meetings required for this position. So we could do it like I could do it whenever, or maybe all you need to do even if you work full time is like, and you're trying to make the transition and build up clients before you go full time freelance, like, oh, maybe you just need to clear out like a half a day a week to make sure you have a couple hours for client meetings, and we're all working, most of us are working from home now. And I feel like people need to know that you can probably make more stuff, work for yourself that you think you can, and to just believe that you'll figure it out. And that there's a huge community of IDs out there to help you even just work through how to how to get these things done. And if you have trouble with certain things, like everybody's so open and helpful, and I just, I just want everybody to know that. And it sounds like so inspirational. But like Believe in yourself, if you really want to take on something and do it. Yeah, just try.


Like, yeah, I think that's a really good point.


Parker Grant

I agree. I totally agree on the try piece. That's the three letter word I use with my kids all the time. Try, please try to go to school, try to make it. No, I think that one of the things that would help anyone making that decision to make that leap to freelancing is to not only overcome that fear, but also to come up with some sort of a plan, or some kind of strategy. You know, you've got finances to think about, you know, you want to think about a portfolio, maybe the website you want to have. But here's another thing that I might suggest as a tip, and most people don't do this is that if you're not sure how you're going to do on your own, there is nothing wrong with finding somebody else who wants to do what you want to do. And partnering with that individual and forming an LLC or whatnot, to have accountability system in place, you know, you check on each other. I mean, I think that's one of the beautiful things about it, Lance, is that Andy and I are always checking in on each other. And we're,


Andrea McEneaney

I bugged him so much today. I was like, I'm so needy.


Parker Grant

So yeah, I think that's another thing to think about. Probably not easy to do, because you're gonna find somebody just says, Yes, I want to do this. But if you do have that luxury of working with a partner, starting a freelance business, you can share ideas about where to find clients, you can share the responsibility of your marketing and your sales. And you can also share your network. So that's one of the things that you can think about, even if you're working full time, right now, you can still do this on a part time basis, you know, we can, or weeknights, whatnot. But there are ways to make that leap. And point back to what Andrew said about that fear. You know, that mindset is so true. You've got to be ready mentally, like, yes, I'm ready to get out of dodge. Period.


Leslie Early

Yep. Ready to put yourself out there? So many people are always waiting for the perfect moment or like, I need the perfect portfolio. I need the perfect gig to come along. I need the perfect PR, you know, freelance recruiter to find me and like, it's, there's just never going to be a perfect thing. Or something might not seem perfect. But if you went for it, you might realize oh, actually, like, this client is pretty flexible. And they you know, we bonded and I, you know, it's gonna be a great relationship. But like until you meet those people and give and talk to them, you never know. And the worst thing that could happen is you don't get it. Or you get help or subcontract it out and you're like, I listen, I can't handle it. Like, you know, you don't, maybe don't tell the client that you can't handle it, but you can always, you know, hire someone to help you and it's not like, you're losing money because you would, you know, work out. I don't know, I'm getting into the specifics, maybe edit that part out.


That's okay. So let's see. I guess then, like always, my last question is, if people would like to continue the conversation or reach out to you or you know, get in touch with you What is the best place for people to find you?


Andrea McEneaney

LinkedIn.


Leslie Early

Love LinkedIn.


Parker Grant

LinkedIn.


Leslie Early

Yeah, for better for worse. I mostly like it. Sometimes it's a little crazy, but I'm always paying attention to stuff that's on there. So that's kind of a surefire way to to get our attention, I think.


Yeah. And also, obviously people can go check out IDLance.com. Please do run, don't walk because it's very, it's fun. Oh, I did have one last question that we didn't get to very fast. Who was responsible? I know, there's a very funny writing and also very funny illustrations. So who's responsible for what?


Parker Grant

Oh, yeah. So okay, the writing obviously, is Andrea. So she's a comedic genius.


Andrea McEneaney

I wish.


Parker Grant

And the cartoons I personally have drawn the cartoon, but the ideas are really Andy's


Andrea McEneaney

I'm bossy. Like, I really really want this whale and it needs to have a business card. No, not that kind of whale Parker. Different kind of whale.


Leslie Early

You can't read my mind and see the cartoon whale. I'm thinking of right now?


Andrea McEneaney

You should have. You should have read. You should have seen that exchange that we had about. camels glasses. I really wanted them to have Elton John glasses, because it was like, Oh, you're so thirsty. Someone's gonna tell kammler so thirsty. And I was like, No, they need to be bigger and sparkly or Parker? Like Elton John.


Parker Grant

You know, Photoshop has layers. So layered add another layer. We had some back and forth. edits, the ideas and the sketches. So we finally got it. So basically, Andrea is my art producer.


Leslie Early

Yeah, and I can't believe Parker like how you can make my dreams become reality.


Parker is making dreams come true.


No, really, cuz i don't i in my head. I would love to be able to draw like that. But he got he actually can.


Parker Grant

Yeah, yeah, I was drawing a lot of the kids. So it's sort of kind of coming back to me now.


Leslie Early

That's awesome. Well, this whole thing has been awesome. And thank you so much, Andrea and Parker for joining me and sharing some of your tidbits of wisdom. And I know I'll be in touch again. But thank you again for joining me.


Parker Grant

Thank you for having us on, Leslie.


Andrea McEneaney

Thank you so much.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai