Winners, nominees and hundreds more freelancers from the YunoJuno community gathered for the UK’s largest freelancer event, back in-person after a two-year hiatus.
Katherine Steiner-Dicks speaks with Shib Mathew, YunoJuno Founder and Executive Chairman, following the job platform’s 8th annual Freelancer Awards ceremony to find out what it takes to become a winner and what could happen to your career after you do.
In July YunoJuno announced the 2022 winners of its eighth annual Freelancer Awards at the historic east London venue, the Museum of the Home. More than 400 freelancers travelled from around the UK and abroad to attend the Tarantino-themed awards ceremony, which was hosted by comedian Maisie Adam.
The annual awards have become the largest initiative of their kind, bringing together hundreds of British freelancers through the nomination process and awards events. The nomination and judging process is entirely community-driven, with the YunoJuno freelancer and client network, including clients, putting forward individuals who have made a remarkable impact in their field during the calendar year.
YunoJuno Founder and Executive Chairman, Shib Mathew said bringing together hundreds of the UK’s top freelancers for an in-person event in celebration of the freelancer community – after two years of virtual awards ceremonies – was a great return to what YunoJuno stands for, as well as driving its vision for the future of work.
“Freelancers are often the unsung heroes of their craft,” said Mathew, “but The YunoJuno Freelancer Awards, now in their eighth year, have changed this perception, by giving credit where it’s truly due.”
The whole point of the awards is to promote and celebrate Yuno Juno freelancers, Shib tells The Freelance Informer.
“But we also do a lot of post-awards activity through our network to build freelancers’ exposure to potential and existing clients on the platform and the wider market,” he says. “Even just being a finalist shows clients a freelancer’s achievements. We want to make sure that it’s not just us that sees them at their best, but the wider market and eventually opening up leads to further work.”
What do award-winning freelancers have in common?
While every award-winning freelancer has a unique portfolio, there are two criteria that successful freelancers have in common, year on year, says Mathew. “One, is the quality of their work and the second is the ability to work well with different clients and their staff. Freelancers are judged by their work, and that work is their currency.”
Mathew said this year the award process had a total of just over 22,000 votes registered. Marking the biggest year yet. YunoJuno registered 5000 peer-nominated votes in the first three days of voting.
A community-driven voting process
The nominations are peer-nominated and anyone registered on the platform can be nominated, so the process is very much community-driven. Yuno Juno tallies up the nominations and whittles down the votes to the top ten freelancers per category. These people then become the finalists. YunoJuno then sends out notices to the entire community and beyond for the final voting.
This year YunoJuno introduced a new category for the 2022 edition of the Freelancer Awards: Freelance Impact of the Year which celebrates those freelancers whose initiatives have driven the freelancer life forward in the past twelve months.
Harriet Stockwell, a joint winner of the 2022 Freelance Impact Award, responded to the news of her win, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. To win this award has been brilliant, but to win it together with my partner Britney Beeby is just golden.”
Stockwell co-launched ‘That Freelance Life’ podcast, which she said has been “a labour of love to give back to the community that has given so much to us.”
She added, “To then be recognised by the very community that got us off our chairs and into freelance is just incredible. YunoJuno has been the foundation of our freelance careers and has not stopped supporting us throughout.”
The duo has attracted some big-name brands as clients and winning this award will only boost their attractiveness to new clients.
The following campaign is a prime example:
What can winning an award do for your freelance career?
While most Brits will find it cringe-worthy to talk themselves up to win an award, people are under the illusion that people do not get outside help when it comes to applying for grants or awards, but getting outside help is sometimes exactly what you need.
“You have to consider going through the award application and nomination process as a marketing tool for your business,” says Rachel Hayward, Fonder of Ask the Chameleon, a bid writing and consultancy services business.
Hayward has won a few awards herself and is a driving force in helping others to put their best foot forward to win contracts, grants and awards.
Winning an award that is judged by your peers or awarded by the Queen can be hugely motivational for any entrepreneur. Hayward says winning an award could very well bring in more trade, maybe not immediately, but it usually does.
“In those first days after winning an award, it gives a freelancer or entrepreneur a chance to sit back and look at how far they’ve come. It also helps them see how far they want to go,” says Hayward.
Freelancer Awards by YunoJuno – 2022 Winners:
● Client Services Freelancer of the Year: Nina Stephenson-Camps
● Creative Freelancer of the Year: Stephen Timms
● Data Freelancer of the Year:Michael Cooper
● Film and Motion Freelancer of the Year: Nicholas Martin
● Marketing Freelancer of the Year: Nadine Campbell
● QA/Testing Freelancer of the Year: Larry Goddard
● Research Freelancer of the Year: Ken Kuyoh
● Studio Manager Freelancer of the Year: Oliver Challis
- Client of the Year: PepsiCo
For the first time in the event’s history, YunoJuno partnered with one of the UK’s leading mental health charities, the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), which advocates for a mentally healthy society for all, in bringing the Freelancer Awards to life. All proceeds from ticket sales are being donated to the MHF.
For inside IR35 roles, YunoJuno freelancers have a choice to use their own umbrella company or go through YunoJuno’s umbrella company partner, Giant. YunoJuno does also have outside IR35 roles promoted on its platform.