Interview with Yasmine Morrison, founder of Sharehive

Find out how Yasmine Morrison was inspired to launch Sharehive, a curated marketplace and social club for talented, ambitious female freelancers, by her own freelancing experiences.

What’s your career background?

As cheesy as it may sound, I always wanted to make the world a better place.  Following business school, I landed my dream job at an NGO. It looked great on paper, however, the reality was very different.

I was in a big and bureaucratic organisation, and it got very frustrating very quickly. I didn’t last very long, and only a few months I decided to quit to set up my first business.

You’ve started businesses before. What were they, and what happened?

In 2012 I started my first businesses, called Garite. Initially, it was only an online shop for sustainable fashion, but with some luck and hard work, I managed to open up three physical stores in central London over the course of two years, while growing online sales through pure online players like ASOS in parallel.

As the business grew, felt like I was losing a bit of my ‘Why’, and in 2015 I decided to sell the business. It was a great experience and I learned a lot from it.

A business that taught me even more was Tibba. It was a barter app focusing on travelling experiences. Let’s say, you are a social media manager travelling to Bali. Why not trade social media management for yoga classes?

We were a small team with investment. Within only a few months, we were able to build an amazing community of people all over the world who loved the Tibba concept.

Unfortunately, we also made a lot of mistakes. In the end, we had a strong community, but an app that didn’t work. The team were down to only two people, as the rest had moved on to new projects – while still holding on to equity.

It got a bit messy to be fair and it, of course, it was very hard to close the business down. I don’t think I realised until recently how much of an impact it had on me. It’s tough when you pour your heart and soul (and all your time!) into a business and it doesn’t work out.

How did you come up with the idea for Sharehive?

When I first setting up Garite I decided to start freelancing (best decision ever!) and ever since then I have been freelancing.

Over time, I got more and more frustrated with the existing freelancing platforms. They charge ridiculously high transaction fees, they dont allow you to link to your own website and social media, and I felt like a product in this global e-commerce shop. Then there is also the loneliness of freelancing.

I felt many fellow female freelancers had the same struggles, and I wanted to do something about it. One by one, I started to collaborate with other female business owners and freelancers. I offered digital marketing expertise. In return, I got financial advice, website development and support from my growing network of women entrepreneurs.

Through fruitful partnerships with the incredible women around me, I was finding success and supporting the achievements of my female community.

That’s when it finally clicked. I realised that the collaborative network wasn’t just a means to an end, it was a thriving community that perpetuated growth. And by designing an online ecosystem, I could offer a space for women everywhere to participate in the same job searching, networking building, skill sharing, and contact swapping that had allowed me to thrive.

That’s how Sharehive was born.

How did you go from idea to actual business?

I knew what my problems as a freelancer were, but I really wanted to make sure I understood all the struggles of female freelancers. So I started speaking to my community.

I organised dinners, brunches that acted as focus groups, I also took people out for coffee and asked them everything about their freelancing life. I went through all my interviews and used Typeform to set up a very simple survey that I sent out to my community.

Once validated, I was ready to take the next step. That meant finding a developer and start building the platform. The first version was a very basic website, and in terms of branding, a disaster! However, I felt I needed to test idea to see if people actually liked it before I invested too much time or money into the project.

Luckily, people really liked it!

What’s Sharehive’s USP?

Sharehive is not trying to be global e-commerce platform for freelance services like Fiverr or Upwork. Sharehive is all about building relationships. We are a curated marketplace and social club for talented, ambitious female freelancers. Her are our three key points of difference:

  1. We think women should get paid for their work. That is why we scraped transaction fees, and promote only high paying jobs with clients that share our values.
  2. We want to promote, not limit, our members. That is why we have a completely open platform, where freelancers can showcase their entire portfolio and why we actively support and promote each member.
  3. Lastly, we believe in collaboration, not competition. That is why we encourage bartering and connect our members through events to share and learn new skills, and to build new relationships with fellow freelancers.

What’s the biggest problem most female freelancers struggle with?

The struggle of always finding new clients, getting paid and loneliness.

What’s your vision for Sharehive? What would you like it to look like in five years’ time?

Our vision is to give women the freedom to work on their own terms. In five years time, Sharehive will be THE global community for female freelancers and solopreneurs. We want to inspire more women to take the step, to live a free life while not letting go of their financial independence.

Why? Because with today’s technological advancements, there is no need to be stuck in the 9-5 grind (for most people that equals >12 hour work day) where time for what is really important, like family and building friendships, get lost.

Who inspires you?

Our biggest inspiration at the moment is Madonna, David Bowie, Princess Diana and Hedvig Lindahl (a Swedish football player).

And finally, what are your top three tips for female freelancers?

  1. Find your niche and package it. For example, let’s say your background is in hospitality why not focus on doing marketing for restaurant.
  2. Join communities, network, help other people. That is how you build relationships with long-term, returning clients.
  3. Know your worth, research ask other fellow freelancers what they charge and don’t forget to add time for invoicing and other admin. I hate to confess it to myself but I am really good at undercharging and I really don’t like sites like Fiverr where you are pushed to give the lowest prices.

You can find out more about Sharehive on their website.