By Riley Kaminer
Imagine a world where anytime, anywhere, and with just a click of a button you’re able to connect with like minded professionals with the purpose of growth in your personal and professional lives.
That’s the vision for Miami-based Furlough: a place where entrepreneurs, startup founders, eCommerce brands, and marketing professionals can connect & collaborate.
At the helm is Joseph Casanova. The native Miamian and Christopher Columbus High School grad launched Furlough during the pandemic after having worked in the international hospitality industry.
The origins of the community can be traced back to Casanova’s need to find marketing interns who were looking for more experience. Casanova eventually turned to Twitch to create educational and collaborative sessions on a daily basis, supported by WhatsApp and Facebook groups.
Since then, Furlough has expanded to 15,000 community members around the world, plus 27 full-time employees. And their growth has been rapid: They had a half dozen employees last December but plan to grow the team to more than 40 full-time employees by the end of 2023. They are currently recruiting for around half a dozen additional positions.
Furlough provides mentorship, educational sessions and content, collaboration opportunities, and new business opportunities for members of the community – all for free. The idea is that Furlough is a one-stop-shop for freelancers to hone their craft and get feedback on their work, while also networking along the way.
Casanova explained that Furlough is still primarily a passion project for now. “We’re delaying monetizing Furlough as much as possible,” Casanova told Refresh Miami, noting a concern that his community will feel as though Furlough simply sees their members as vehicles for profit making.
That said, the organization has launched a franchising model that enables global freelancers to promote themselves under the Furlough brand. They also have an ecommerce store where users can buy merchandise and get free educational downloads.
Discord is the main platform through which Furlough members can connect. The Furlough team signaled that, as a space for modern digital collaboration, they’re constantly on the lookout for ways to integrate new tech solutions to create value for members. The organization has also set up a decentralized autonomous organization, Phi DAO, which (once out of stealth mode) will enable members to make decisions and govern the direction of the Furlough ecosystem.
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