Women's Business Daily Interviews Torchlite Founder Susan Marshall

Dec 08, 2020 Torchlite

Emily Sprinkle gets to know Torchlite's founder Susan Marshall. You could say that Susan Marshall’s professional journey has been an exciting ride. She came up in tech just as the world was embracing interconnectivity like never before. People of Susan’s generation have the unique benefit of knowing both the analog and digital experience. A before and after, if you will. Susan was at Apple when Steve Jobs returned and the whole place was buzzing with renewed energy. Marketing was front and center in that world and Susan could see the democratization of the digital revolution taking root. She was product manager for the Pro Tools at Apple, which was coming into its own for consumer use. It still required high-level skills but you could see how this kind of software was going to become readily available to everyday consumers. It just seemed inevitable. That didn’t mean that the technology was simplifying, on the contrary, innovation became hyper-charged as creatives across the spectrum embraced technology into their lives. The users became the driving force of innovation. With that expanded access came predictable frustrations. Torchlite was born out of a need for integration of this powerful technology suddenly in demand in every market and every scale organization. It wasn’t just technology for the few, it was for everyone and it was crucial to staying afloat when the pandemic hit. There is no going back now.   How do you feel your previous jobs prepared you for launching Torchlite? Immensely. I worked with some pretty high-level executives and I got to see how the sausage gets made, up close. I experienced genuine leadership when there was no beaten path to the consumer experience. I saw problem-solving in real-time as the whole world watched. It was exhilarating. And eventually, it led me to create my own solutions to the issues I could see percolating in my industry. I wanted to be a part of something new and I wanted that personal interaction with my customers and talent. I may not speak to each Torchlite marketplace user, but I am watching and listening to their feedback. Because I know it is ultimately they who will dictate the future of my business. Why are you passionate about Torchlite? And what should people know about the company? We are a team of people dedicated to the freelance revolution. We all come to this place by varied paths in the corporate world, nonprofits, and big tech. Torchlite talent is committed to growing their own freelance businesses through ongoing training with the certifications to back it up. I get why my customers come to Torchlite and the talent we provide. It is because we are able to match and guide projects with transparency, identified deliverables, and realistic expectations. Torchlite customers know the value of cloud-based technology but not always the steps to take on the projects they need to get ahead. Torchlite Flexperts, certified, flexible experts, already know the technology and how to bring organizations into the system seamlessly. They have done thousands of projects and can see the pitfalls before they stop a project dead in its tracks. What sets Torchlite apart from other talent marketplaces? We stress communication and transparency. It isn’t an anonymous jobs board driven by algorithms. Torchlite is about making connections, finding the right people for the project. That is the hallmark of a Torchlite project. Our freelancers are frequently rehired by their customers creating trust and continuity with on-demand service when it is needed, and perhaps just as importantly, when it is not.   Has the COVID-19 climate impacted Torchlite? Have you had to pivot at all or do things differently? Fortunately, we were ready to go when COVID-19 hit. Our team was already working remotely so there was very little adjustment in terms of workflow. We had just launched our 3.0 platform in partnership with Salesforce to help SMBs utilize the new Essentials platform. Freshly minted Essentials Advisors, trained to help small – midsize businesses grow, were in the process of onboarding the Torchlite platform to join the marketplace when suddenly everyone was interested in cloud sales and services. We were able to meet customer demand in real-time as the world adjusted to life online. What’s the biggest challenge you’re currently tackling, and how are you working through it? Like many successful startups, we are growing fast. Right now we are working to meet enterprise demand for integration into the online marketplace. Complex industries like finance and health care are in desperate need of systems that will support consumer interface and a remote workforce. We have the talent that can make it happen. We only accept about 4% of the marketplace applicants into our platform and are always on the lookout for our unicorns with high-level certifications and excellent customer service skills. It is the perfect mix for our customers that are going to be the stewards of their data after the freelancer has gone. It’s no secret that most venture funding is given to male-owned businesses. What tips would you offer to other female entrepreneurs who are looking to raise funds? Keep your eye on the prize. Just because that is the way it was always done does not mean it is the way it will always be. We know our business better than anyone and it is our job to get that value across to raise capital. It is about knowing what funders want out of the deal, how that desire will benefit your business, and making it worth the investment. I’d even argue that many women instinctively read the needs of the people around them and excel at raising funds when challenged to do so. What does success mean to you? I’d like to say top banana but it is really about creating continuity. We are not aiming to be the biggest or most comprehensive. There are giant whales out there, dominating the market. We are about customization, even when we have done the tasks a million times. Each project is unique and our experts are trained to not only provide excellent skills but to know and understand what their customers need to be successful. How do you practice self-care? I am a bit of a gypsy. These days I have teenagers that keep me close to home in Indiana, but I get out to Colorado quite frequently to ski or hike the backcountry when I can. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given? We create our own value. Never let anyone else define you because they cannot possibly see the whole picture. I am very proud of what I have put out into the world as an entrepreneur and as a team player in my career. We have improved the Torchlite product year over year, adding real value, as we learned how best to utilize the Torchlite Marketplace for our talent and our customers. That confidence to move forward comes from me and my vision for what Torchlite can be. I knew what we were aiming for and I kept my focus on the value we bring to the table. What single word or saying do you identify most with? Why? Resiliency. I am humbled by the challenges of this life, without a doubt. It has not always been easy but I keep moving forward and rebounding into a better, more productive place. I am grateful for those challenges, as painful as some were, because they propelled me into action that required a catalyst. It is not the blow that I remember so much as the rebound. I am much tougher than my younger self might have imagined. What’s next for you and Torchlite? We will continue to grow our consultant base as the demand for professional freelancers explodes. So many talented people out in the workforce are discovering that they want to dictate how and when they work. We support them. Whether it was because they were moonlighting, laid off or they decided to go it alone, emboldened by the demand for their particular skills, they found a home with us. We have both utilized and benefited from the freelance model since Torchlite was founded in 2015. We see the value in supporting these entrepreneurial folks as they embark on this journey with us. It’s been a blast. This interview was originally published online by Women's Business Daily Editor-in-Chief Emily Sprinkle on December 4, 2020. Learn more about Torchlite at www.torchlite.com.

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot Playbooks

Nov 02, 2020 Torchlite

Torchlite, the freelance marketplace for all your Salesforce needs, announces the release of a new series of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot playbooks designed to help the millions of small-to-mid-market businesses who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. The Torchlite Mission The new series of playbooks address the challenges faced by businesses hit hard by the public health crisis. “It’s Torchlite’s mission to support small-to-mid-market businesses. We provide trusted, certified consultants. As a result, our customers are able to access the tools they need to get ahead, especially in this challenging time,” said Susan Marshall, CEO and founder of Torchlite. “With the launch of these new playbooks, our goal is to help businesses implement and optimize their Salesforce solution with ease.” Packaged Services The playbooks are packaged services delivered by a Certified Freelance Consultant or freelancer who has a holistic understanding of Salesforce products. Companies who leverage Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Pardot can purchase one of the 12 different playbooks in the new series.  Certified Freelance Consultants The Torchlite Marketplace enables customers who purchase the Marketing Cloud and Pardot playbooks to collaborate, share documents, and provide feedback through their unique rating system. “I love the flexibility and customer-first mentality of the Torchlite model. Salesforce is a living, breathing thing that will require highly skilled expertise for our model. We like the ability to have access to the short-term project and problem-solving assistance through Torchlite’s network,” said Lindsey Dunn, Director, Lead Generation for Scrubs & Beyond. Torchlite is a certified Salesforce partner with a wide network of vetted professional freelancers ready to help businesses of any size unlock the power of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot. The Torchlite Marketplace accepts only the top 4% of applicants, ensuring businesses get the very best experts in their field. Pricing Prices for each playbook in the new Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot series vary. For more information on Torchlite and its services or to purchase a playbook, please visit www.torchlite.com.   About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite enables companies of any size to access and manage highly sought-after freelance talent from anywhere in the world. With Torchlite’s 3.0 platform, organizations can now take advantage of the growing freelance economy and create their own private marketplaces of experts who help customers take advantage of powerful technologies - on-demand.

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Press Release: Torchlite Promotes Robert Harris to Chief Operating Officer

Sep 18, 2020 Torchlite

INDIANAPOLIS (September 14, 2020) – Torchlite, the freelance marketplace for all your Salesforce needs, today announces it has promoted Robert Harris to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Previously, Harris served as the Vice President of Product and Customer Success for Torchlite. Harris brings more than 25 years of experience in technology, e-commerce, and organizational leadership.  In the new role, Harris will lead all operations, including product development and engineering, and help establish the company’s strategic vision while facilitating the execution of critical projects. He will also work closely with Torchlite CEO and Founder Susan Marshall and its leadership team to help grow, scale, and operate Torchlite’s platform and services effectively. “With the launch of our new Marketplace for Salesforce, we are helping businesses implement the tools they need and provide highly-trained freelancers with meaningful work during this difficult time,” said Marshall. “Robert’s leadership skills, passion and proven track record in consulting and e-commerce make him the perfect candidate to take our new Torchlite Marketplace to the next level and further scale our services.” Harris is a proven leader with more than 25 years of experience building teams, products, and solutions that deliver compelling value to customers. In his previous roles, he’s demonstrated how to effectively drive cross-functional, organization-wide impact and work collaboratively with key internal and external stakeholders. Prior to working with Torchlite, Harris served as the Founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at MVP Launch Partners and VP of Product and Engineering at Sigstr. He also served in numerous leadership roles at Loxa Beauty and its parent company Beauty Systems Group. “It has been an honor to be part of Torchlite’s journey by helping build the category-leading freelance marketplace for Salesforce and filling a much-needed gap in today’s business ecosystem,” said Harris. “With the accelerating growth of freelancers, per a recent Payoneer report, this is just the beginning for Torchlite. We look forward to continuing to support businesses nationwide by giving them access to the talent they need to run and grow their business.” Recently, Torchlite launched its new Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials, offering a new way for small businesses to access certified Salesforce Essentials Advisors on-demand with no long-term contracts, minimums or limits. The new Marketplace allows small businesses who adopt the world’s #1 CRM platform to access highly-certified freelancers who empower them to sell smarter, deliver faster support, and get started in minutes. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite enables companies of any size to access and manage highly sought-after freelance talent from anywhere in the world. With Torchlite’s 3.0 platform, organizations can now take advantage of the growing freelance economy and create their own private marketplaces of experts who help customers take advantage of powerful technologies - on-demand. For more information, visit torchlite.com.

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Just Announced: Torchlite Launches Salesforce Essentials Marketplace For Small Business

Jun 30, 2020 Torchlite

Torchlite Launches Certified Advisor Marketplace for Small Businesses with Salesforce The Essentials Marketplace matches businesses with Certified Salesforce Advisors to help service small businesses and grow leads with Salesforce Essentials. INDIANAPOLIS, June 30, 2020- Torchlite, the freelance marketplace for all your Salesforce needs, announced today the launch of the Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials, a new way for small businesses to access certified Salesforce Essentials Advisors on-demand with no long-term contracts, minimums or limits. Through the Torchlite Marketplace, Salesforce Essentials Advisors can now find work online and small businesses get access to the talent they need to run and grow their businesses. “The Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials provides flexibility and agility on any size project at affordable costs,” says Susan Marshall, CEO and Founder of Torchlite. “We are excited to partner with Salesforce to help small businesses during these unprecedented times.” With Salesforce Essentials, small businesses can easily adopt the world’s #1 CRM platform— designed to scale and grow with them. New social, chat and phone capabilities in Salesforce Essentials empower small businesses to communicate with customers on their preferred channels—and can be deployed in just minutes. “It’s our mission to support small businesses with the technology and tools they need to connect with customers, especially in this challenging time and we're proud to partner with Torchlite” said Meredith Schmidt, Executive Vice President and GM of Salesforce Essentials. “The new Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials is helping small businesses implement the tools they need, while at the same time helping trained freelancers find meaningful work.” In addition to matching Advisors with customers, the Torchlite Marketplace helps Advisors manage relationships with customers, find new work, and get paid. For those interested in becoming a Salesforce Essential Advisor, apply here. To get matched with a certified Salesforce Essentials Advisor, visit the client portal. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite enables companies of any size to access and manage highly sought-after freelance talent from anywhere in the world. With Torchlite’s 3.0 platform, organizations can now take advantage of the growing freelance economy and create their own private marketplaces of experts who help customers take advantage of powerful technologies - on-demand. For more information about Torchlite, visit www.torchlite.com.

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The Freelance Revolution: Working In A Post-COVID World

Apr 22, 2020 Susan Marshall

It Has To Be the Right Partnership At Torchlite, we're obviously fans of independent contractors and freelancers. Over the years, we've grown to love these problem solving, creative entrepreneurs and do everything we can to support their careers. In fact, we are a catalyst to matching professional freelancers with the brands that need their skills on demand. But you can’t just add anyone to your roster — it has to be the right partnership. So naturally, we are concerned about the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic and  consequences for freelancers and independent professionals. According to the New York Times at least 316 million people in the US, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, are being urged to stay home. Many of those people will be forced to reconsider how and where they work, some jumping into the independent contract business full time. We at Torchlite are here to help with that transition.   Implications For The Freelance Revolution PwC has helpfully published two interesting reports. The first is PwC’s 2020 CEO survey, published at the end of March, and involving chief executives from a variety of industries and geographies. The second is a survey of corporate CFO executives, also recently published.  This month, Forbes provided a summary of the CEO study main findings, followed by some interesting implications for the freelance revolution.  Worth a read, but here are the highlights. It's good news for our freelancers: Finance talent transformation is a key emphasis.  Half (50%) of CFOs describe their team as lacking the right skills mix to meet future business needs. Moreover, 60% believe that stable, long-term employment, is less likely in the future. Taken together, it’s fairly evident from the PwC and BCG reports that freelance and independent management consulting opportunity is likely to increase and broaden as a result of COVID 19. What might we expect: More companies are likely to access freelancers both for cost efficiency and to supplement critical skill sets. Without doubt, freelancing enables a more cost and time efficient approach to supplementing or adding critical technical skills. But, beyond cost efficiency, freelancing makes it possible to attract world-class talent that would be unavailable to most organizations on a full-time basis.  Perhaps the expert wouldn’t be interested in full-time work, or his or her full-time cost would blow up the staffing budget. But, she or he would be available on a project basis, or as a consulting advisor.   4IR offers interesting and important freelance work and lots of it.  Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum described the fourth industrial revolution this way: “The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.”  These are seen as critical investment areas, and no organization has the internal staff to independently realize the potential of 4IR. Remember, companies like Alphabet, Apple and Facebook - able to access tremendous resources - continues to depend on freelancers to fill out their teams. Freelancing, on a global scale, will grow significantly to meet the 4IR challenge. Freelancers are a critical resource to more industries. As BCG points out, freelancing is undeterred by industrial boundaries. Whether in agriculture, finance or education, most organizations lack the full set of skills and experiences they will need to take full advantage of future global and regional growth opportunities.  More areas of freelancing will grow in importance. The data sends a very clear message: freelancing will grow in a widening range of professional areas. We’ve already seen the rise of independent management consulting platforms, and the growth of new platforms in an ever growing set of professions. More companies are partnering with freelance platforms to build a more flexible, blended workforce. A Changed Economy As the danger of COVID 19 passes, and executives rework their businesses, reinventing in the context of broken supply chains, skill gaps, and digital transformational requirements, freelancing  has an exciting and attractive future. At Torchlite we have the tools and expertise to help freelancers and independent contractors thrive in our changed economy. For many companies, the work doesn’t stop even if the workers can’t be onsite. The expert freelancers who have the talents and skills that are in high demand can define where and how they work, compensation, and many other specifications around how they do their work. Join Torchlite’s network of freelancers today. Vive la Revolution!

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4 Statistics That Make the Case for an On-Demand Workforce

Jun 12, 2019 Emily Brungard

We live in a world that’s moving at hyperspeed. Customers want more, and they want it faster. Demands on your team are growing at an impossible rate. Technology is enabling us to do more, but it will only take you so far without the people who know how to use it. With all of these demands, you may not have had the chance to consider integrating everything (customers, your internal team, and technology) to make your job easier. But we’ve found the key to keeping up with these demands comes down to talent: having the right people at the right time. If you need more convincing, consider these statistics: 68% of HR pros have trouble attracting top full-time talent Highly skilled freelance experts have the leverage to do work on their terms. More and more freelancers, especially the ones with highly sought after talents, are leaving the 9-to-5 world for more flexible work lives. This is only confirmed by the fact that, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, more than two-thirds of HR managers have experienced difficulties attracting the best talent to their open full-time roles. By 2026, Fortune 2000 companies will have no employees outside of the C-suite In the next decade, could you be saying goodbye to your traditional org chart? Accenture predicts that by 2026, the most successful companies won’t employ people outside of the executive team. As this liquid workforce evolves, companies will double down on the value of having the people with the exact expertise they need, at just the right time. That means instead of hiring a full-time technical expert for a project that requires heavy lifting at first but then tapers off, companies can bring in an expert to implement their new tech or tool and then continue contracting on an hourly or project basis. What does that mean? More money in your marketing budget to drive results. 30% of headcount spend is put toward on-demand workers Enterprise companies are dedicating a third of their headcount budgets to contingent workers, independent contractors, and freelancers. When a project comes up that the company’s internal team doesn’t have the skills to complete, on-demand experts enable them to navigate roadblocks and continue moving the needle. In other words, they help companies get around the situations that would have stopped them in their tracks before. Nearly half of businesses can’t find the on-demand talent they need According to SAP Fieldglass, 45% of businesses are experiencing a shortage of on-demand experts. In other words, they can’t find the people they need to get everything done, and it’s affecting productivity and results. Non-employee talent makes up 40% of the global workforce today, and they’re not just filling administrative or support roles — they’re the people making strategic decisions that move these companies forward. Searching for the right people to fill gaps on your marketing or professional services team? Tap into Torchlite’s network of experts today.

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Hiring On-Demand Marketers: 7 Pros and Cons

Nov 21, 2018 Emily Brungard

In today's competitive, evolving marketplace, an agile methodology could mean the difference between becoming a booming business or closing your doors. With more than 41.8 million independent workers in America, hiring freelancers is one of the most effective solutions to securing top talent without going over budget — and there are plenty to choose from. Yet, like everything in business and in life, there are pros and cons to hiring freelancers. By taking the time to do your homework, you’ll save time, money, and headaches. Read on for seven pros and cons of hiring independent contractors. Pro: The Cost When you factor in the cost of recruiting, salary, benefits and company perks, and desk space taken up in the office, hiring a full-time employee can become pretty costly. The average employee hiring process costs $4,129 and takes 42 days. Who needs to spend that much extra time and money? Companies save, on average, between 20 and 30 percent annually by hiring an independent contractor. Going along with cost, the risk associated with hiring freelancers is lower, because you only need to hire and pay freelancers when there's work to be done. Because you work with them on a project-by-project basis, the worry of digging yourself into a payroll hole during downtimes is lessened. Con: Less Face-to-Face Interaction Given that most freelance work is done remotely, you shouldn’t expect to see your freelancer every day. Clear communication is essential in any working relationship, but it’s especially paramount when working with freelancers. Your freelancer isn’t in the office every day so they’re not privy to water cooler convos or even major announcements unless you share the news with them. You are their primary source of information on all things related to your business and your marketing initiatives. Don’t assume they have any insight into changes, progress, setbacks, or glitches, and always err on the side of over-communicating to prevent misunderstandings. See 8 ways to work better with your freelancers. Pro: Marketplaces Make Hiring Easier Than Ever Marketplaces like Torchlite facilitate long-term relationships between full-time freelance experts and marketers so that you can unlock the value of your marketing technology, get more done and compete in a digital world. We only connect you with the best freelancers (check out our vetting process here) — so you can rest easy knowing that the marketers you’re trusting with work will follow through. Marketplaces like Torchlite give you a full view of the experts you can access at any time, and facilitate the onboarding process. Con: Less Consistency With a freelancer, you have a specialist — but the tradeoff is that they may not have the historical knowledge that a full-time employee would have. Your independent contractor has the know-how to get the tasks you assign done, but they won’t be as familiar with your organization’s marketing strategies, what has been tried, and what direction to take things in the future. However, freelancers offer unmatched flexibility and can come on to a project whenever the need arises. Pro: You’re Not Limited to Local Talent Companies look to freelancers to find talent outside their current location. Expansion or an understanding of new markets can be made without onboarding a full-time employee. This allows you to bring new perspectives to your team. Con: You’re Not the Only Client An independent contractor’s job is to make clients happy and provide business results. The reality is that a freelancer is likely working on making several clients happy at a time. However, it’s also in the best interest of an independent contractor to get results for their client in order to build up clientele as well as reputation. This means that the freelancer’s time isn’t dedicated solely to you — they’re juggling many different requests, one-time projects, and strategies. A freelancer might also choose to perform the work outside of normal business hours, making immediate contact difficult without prior planning. Pro: Access to Specialized Talent Freelancers tend to focus on just one or two things that they’ve gained complete mastery of over the years. If you want to hire a content marketer, then you’ll get someone who specializes in content marketing and little else. This is far better than forcing someone from business development to make an attempt at content marketing because you simply can’t afford to hire another full-time employee. As a third party, a freelancer will be able to work on your campaign from a point of view that you may not have previously considered. Hiring isn’t something that should be done lightly, no matter if you’re searching for a full-time employee or a freelancer to complete a one-off project. It’s not always easy to find top talent, which is why Torchlite exists. We make it easier to connect with the top four percent of specialists to get more work done without breaking your budget. Connect with an expert today.

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Press Release: Torchlite Raises $3M to Expand Marketplace of Certified Digital Marketing Experts

Oct 02, 2018 Torchlite

INDIANAPOLIS (October 2, 2018) -- Torchlite, the platform for finding and managing on-demand digital marketing talent, announced today it attracted $3 million in funding to expand its tech-enabled network of digital marketing freelancers. The funding round includes funding from existing investors, including Scott McCorkle, a technology investor and advisor, and new investor Salesforce Ventures. “Torchlite was created to enable every company to unlock the value of its marketing technology by making it simple to manage highly sought after certified freelance digital marketing experts.” said Susan Marshall, Torchlite’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to welcome Salesforce Ventures as an investor.” Torchlite’s platform provides large organizations with a private marketplace of pre-approved, on-demand experts, from technical architects to content creators and writers - assembled to meet the needs of the enterprise. By accessing their own network of specialists, businesses can extend their marketing teams, fill critical gaps and transform their digital marketing. “Torchlite’s on-demand freelance approach empowers us to swiftly flex to meet the demands in our marketplace,” said Carole Casto, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at Cummins Inc. "The ability to access a pre-approved roster of creative experts provides tremendous value as we plan and execute our digital marketing strategy.” According to Forrester Consulting, 66% of business leaders say that the primary barrier to long term success is talent, and only 3% of marketers feel that they are getting the full value of their marketing technology*. “As digital marketing becomes increasingly specialized, many companies are turning to on-demand, independent consultants to fill gaps on their teams,” Marshall said. Edelman Research reports that over half of the workforce is expected to be freelance in the next ten years, and 57% of companies are using freelancers regularly. Since its launch in late 2015, Torchlite has raised a total of $5.5M, doubled revenue from 2016 to 2017, demonstrating a massive need in the market for certified experts and a more effective way to manage those resources to build complex digital marketing campaigns. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite provides businesses with access to a private marketplace of certified, on-demand digital marketing experts. Torchlite helps enterprise companies fill in critical gaps and transform their digital marketing. With Torchlite's platform, organizations can easily manage highly sought after freelance experts with a variety of skill sets, from writers to designers to digital strategists and more. Check us out at torchlite.com. Salesforce Ventures Salesforce is the fastest growing top five enterprise software company and the #1 CRM provider globally. Salesforce Ventures—the company’s corporate investment group—invests in the next generation of enterprise technology that extends the power of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform, helping companies connect with their customers in entirely new ways. Portfolio companies receive funding as well as access to the world’s largest cloud ecosystem and the guidance of Salesforce’s innovators and executives. With Salesforce Ventures, portfolio companies can also leverage Salesforce's expertise in corporate philanthropy by joining Pledge 1% to make giving back part of their business model. Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 275 enterprise cloud startups in 17 different countries since 2009. For more information, please visit www.salesforce.com/ventures. *Source: A commissioned study, conducted by Forrester Consulting July, 2017. ** Source: Freelancing in America Survey, 2017

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Retaining Top Freelance Talent: It’s Like Dating

Jul 18, 2018 Emily Brungard

When you find top freelance talent, you don't want to lose them. It's hard enough to find a full-time employee, let alone an amazing freelancer who understands your industry and your specific business. In that way, it’s a little like dating—you have to learn someone’s preferences, talents and expectations in order to click. And for freelancers, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Deloitte Insights’ research suggests that employee retention and engagement are the number two concern in the minds of business leaders, second only to the challenge of building global leadership. This statistic isn’t just relevant to full-time employees—it’s a trend that has made its way into the 1099 workforce. Workers are more like free agents than ever before. So how do you keep them engaged? Allow Ramp Up Time Hiring a freelancer helps you save on recruiting costs by getting to work sooner, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need ramp up time. If you truly want the best quality work from your on-demand help, give them a chance to learn your preferences and learn about your brand. If you routinely switch freelancers after just one project, they may not have the chance to ramp up properly. After your first project, be sure to set a meeting to provide feedback, review expectations and see how you can work better together. It can be as simple as spending five minutes at the end of an engagement discussing what went right and what went wrong, but more frequent feedback is even better. Set Expectations Early Consider offering your freelancers a fixed monthly retainer if you like their work and plan to keep sending projects their way. Include a set amount of work in the monthly retainer, and get their rates for any work that falls outside of it, so they can bill you the extra as needed. Don’t fall into the trap of making your relationship with freelancers purely transactional. If you want to get to work with them again in the future, make sure to treat your freelancer like they’re a true extension of your internal team. Communicate Frequently Treat them like they’re a part of your team, even if they’re not in the office next to you every day. Don’t just rely on written text. Schedule a video or voice call to convey more details. While it might seem like it takes too much time, doing this up front can actually improve clarity, prevent misunderstandings, and save time later on. This also helps you establish a closer connection. Don’t limit interactions with freelancers to just your own. Connect them to more team members to help them learn about your projects and business. Understand You’re Not Their Only Client Because you’re likely not your freelancer’s only client, you have an opportunity. When was the last time you asked for their advice? With a diverse portfolio of work, it’s likely that the freelancer(s) you work with can provide a unique perspective on the content you’re putting out. In the same vein, remember that the freelancers you work with could be working with several clients at the same time, including you. One of the advantages of freelancing is flexibility, so if a client frequently shoots over urgent last-minute projects or expects the freelancer to be available 24/7 (unless specific times of availability were agreed upon), chances are that freelancer will look for work elsewhere. Pay on Time The best freelancers are in very high demand. They can pick and choose their clients. In fact, freelancers might decide to stop working with you entirely if you don’t treat them well. More than 70 percent of freelancers have trouble getting paid at some point in their careers, and 29 percent of freelance invoices are paid late. It’s not difficult to get ahead of this problem: be transparent with your freelancers about how your company’s fiscal year runs, how long it typically takes to process invoices and how it pays its contract workers. The keys to successful freelance relationships are a lot like what it takes to be successful in any other relationship: transparency and communication are key. By setting expectations early and reviewing those expectations often, you set yourself and your freelancer up for success.  Implementing these tips may nurture what could ultimately become mission-critical relationships for you and your company. It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Are you a freelancer looking for your next gig? Sign up and join Torchlite today.  

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Press Release: Torchlite Officially Launches First-Ever Marketplace of On-Demand Digital Marketing Experts Powered by Collaborative Technology

Mar 22, 2016 Torchlite

INDIANAPOLIS (March 22, 2016) – First-of-its-kind platform provides end-to-end analysis of social media, website and email performance, while enabling businesses to tap a marketplace of on-demand digital marketing experts to plan and execute online campaigns. Effective digital marketing requires two key elements: technology and the highly-trained experts who know how to use it. With the launch of its new platform, Torchlite today becomes the first company to combine both elements—tech and talent—to enable businesses to plan, execute and analyze digital marketing campaigns from a simple, unified dashboard. Torchlite founder Susan Marshall, a veteran marketer who previously held positions with Apple, Adobe and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, wants to help businesses overcome the increasing complexity of digital marketing by adding people back into the tech stack. “Digital marketing has grown into a complex process that, for many businesses, has resulted overlapping workflows, mismanaged talent, and a mishmash of tools that are disjointed and often redundant,” said Torchlite founder and CEO Susan Marshall. “Torchlite simplifies digital marketing by bringing tools, analytics and a marketplace of highly vetted experts together in a productivity platform that’s clean and approachable.” Results from a 2015 study by Econsultancy reveal that digital marketing has indeed become too complex for many organizations to use effectively. Among the top reasons preventing companies from investing in digital marketing, 24 percent of respondents cited a “lack of understanding about digital,” and 35 percent reported a “lack of staff to make the most of any digital investment.” Torchlite finds itself squarely at the center of three converging trends: the growing need for specialized digital marketing talent, burgeoning demand for software solutions that balance product capability with usability, and the shift toward a gig-based economy. With its new platform, Torchlite is the only company that enables businesses to tap a marketplace of highly trained digital marketing specialists, provides a project manager who coordinates campaigns, and gives access to a proprietary platform where business owners have complete visibility to track their marketing goals. Marketing leaders, agency partners and other stakeholders responsible for driving new customers and increased sales through digital marketing benefit from Torchlite’s collaborative platform in several ways: Unified Channel Data: Save time and gain insight by collecting intelligence from every digital channel, including Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, MailChimp and more, and viewing it within a single platform. On-Demand Talent: At any time, businesses can tap Torchlite’s vast network of vetted marketing specialists (called “Torchliters”) to plan and execute digital campaigns. Complete Visibility: A simplified dashboard provides a real-time view of campaign progress, while offering in-depth analysis and insights on customer engagement within each individual channel. Simple Collaboration: Workflow features simplify approvals and asset sharing, while encouraging discussion and rapid feedback. Streamlined Productivity: Task scheduling, checklists, calendars and notifications enable teams to spend less time managing and more time producing. “The proliferation of increasingly more specialized marketing technologies hasn’t just made it challenging for businesses to select the right tools, it’s also has made it exponentially more difficult to select the right people who can use those tools effectively,” said Jay Baer, marketing consultant and bestselling author. “By solving for both of these challenges, Torchlite has secured a unique and enviable position in an otherwise crowded marketplace.” About Torchlite Torchlite is a SaaS marketplace of highly vetted experts who are supported by a productivity platform. By seamlessly connecting digital marketing experts and business owners through our application, we make building effective digital marketing campaigns easy – driving leads, online traffic, customers and revenue. For more information, visit torchlite.com.

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