Category Archives: Success Stories

Turning A Hobby Into A Profession

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Amanda is a knitter from the US who uses SkillPages to showcase her skills in a new country.

Working With A Newborn

When I moved from the US to the UK, I found myself in a strange country with a newborn baby. So, in order to fill my numerous waking hours courtesy of our son, I took up crocheting and knitting.  These are interests that I’ve had since my college days but didn’t have enough time to hone at that stage of my life.  After a while it turned out I was rather good at them.  My favourite thing to knit is lace but I can do children’s clothing quite well also.

So, discovering I was good at something I enjoyed and that I could do it with a newborn attached to me, I joined SkillPages to offer out this talent to others.  I hoped there would be people out there who may have had the desire for such crafts but lacked the knowledge or skill to execute it themselves.  To my surprise and delight an old school friend found my SkillPages profile and commissioned a project from me!  That was about two years ago and I haven’t looked back since.

Doing What I Love

At the moment I have plenty work coming in with the holiday season coming up.  I really thought knitting was this thing that I was just going to do for myself and my family or perhaps for friends having babies.  Now, with SkillPages, it’s a great way for me to make a bit of money doing something I truly love.

It’s brilliant to have found this great community of talented people.  I recommend joining to anyone who has a skill that they feel confident about – there’s a place for everyone, and I’m pretty sure you can find your place here.

Amanda Needham, Knitter

A Great Boost To My Freelance Career

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Chris is a sound engineer that has developed new relationships and landed work on a feature film thanks to creating a profile on SkillPages.

Building up an On-line Presence

As a recent university graduate I’m trying to build my career as a freelance Sound Recordist and Radio Producer.  My main experience is in location recording and audio production for film, TV and radio. I joined SkillPages to help get my skills found.  Over the last few months I’ve been gradually updating my profile and have started to get opportunities emailed to me relating to my skills.  Just over a month ago I got a couple of very interesting projects proposed to me – I instantly replied.

After contacting the members directly through SkillPages I ended up collaborating with them on a few exciting projects.  The first project was as a sound technician for a community TV start-up. Then the very next week I collaborated with a team looking for a sound recordist for a 48 hour film competition.  And lastly I contacted a fledgling radio station and I’m now producing a mid-morning entertainment show for them!

Making those all Important Contacts

In fact, the meeting with the TV station has now turned into a long term relationship and has led to more recording and pre-production work.  And the director on the 48 hour film was so impressed with my work that he has now booked me for a feature length film.  This will be my first feature length film so it’s a huge opportunity to get.

Seeking out new projects and contacts is very important for freelancers in the early stages of their careers.  Taking on small collaborations is a useful step in getting yourself and your abilities in front of new producers and directors which is essential to winning those all important gigs further down the line.  These initial opportunities have led onto some great work and introduced me to new contacts and crews that can really help my career take off.

– Chris Kouzaris, Sound Engineer

Photos by Suki Mok Photography

Skill Highlight: Environmental Researcher

Editor’s note: This is a series highlighting just some of the fascinating skills on SkillPages. Cassidy Rankine is an environmental researcher using SkillPages to connect with scientists around the globe to help in his research.  We chatted with Cassidy to find out more about his skill, overturning Brazilian legislation and his advice for getting noticed on-line.

Cassidy Rankine - Environmental Researcher

Hi Cassidy, tell us a bit about yourself.

Although I’m based out of the University of Alberta in Canada, I work in Central and South America pioneering a new field in environmental monitoring.  We are using advanced sensor networks in order to better understand how the climate is changing tropical ecosystems in impoverished regions of Mesoamerica.

How and when did you get interested in environmental research?

Even from an early age I was curious about everything and how it worked, so it was a natural progression to take interest in grade school science classes.  Going into actual scientific research happened towards the end of my university biology degree after I spent a summer at a marine science center and found my love for biological field work.  So I stuck with it into a graduate degree and now I travel all over for amazing field work opportunities in the tropics!

Is this your full job or more of a hobby?

Environmental research is my full-time job and my passion, but it is not a far stretch from my hobbies like skateboarding, snowboarding, camping and travel which are outdoors anyway.

How has SkillPages helped in your work?

I have used SkillPages to connect with some remote sensing scientists, a relatively small but quickly growing global community.  These connections allowed me to address a problem I otherwise could not have solved on my own.  Our goal is to make environmental data more accessible to the public and to researchers across vast distances and people need to utilize social networking technology more and more to bridge these distances.

What is your favourite part of the research?

The places I get to travel to, the people I work with and the positive outcomes of a successful project.  I spend 3-4 months of each year overseas working with researchers in Panama, Costa Rica, Brazil and Australia for field work, and even more places for scientific conferences. Having colleagues and co-workers who are also passionate about what they do makes everything you accomplish more rewarding as a team and never makes for a boring work week. Last year we overturned Brazilian legislation to cut down 16,000 ha of tropical dry forest using our team’s data.  It’s outcomes like this that make all the work we do worth it.

Cassidy Rankine - Environmental Researcher

What advice would you give to someone considering a similar path?

Take GIS courses – it’s by far the most useful skill to have in environmental research, either with an institution or on your own, there are great tutorials now for GIS software, but nothing beats the mentor ship of someone who has been doing this for years.  If you are in an undergraduate degree, then go for any field school courses or chances you can get, it’s so great to apply your textbook knowledge to the real world.  If not in university then get engaged with researchers.  Graduate students are always looking for assistance for field excursions and data collection, volunteer to get a good start and see if you like it.

Any tips on getting yourself and your research noticed on-line?

Videos of your work – very short clips to engage people in your research have been shown to be very effective.  Start a blog – anything to get your work out there is great.  We have an onslaught of pseudo-science in the media these days, misinformation is rampant and very few scientists use social media effectively.  Get networking, use tools such as SkillPages to connect with others who already have the on-line followers to promote your work.  If it’s outstanding research it will speak for itself, but not until someone notices it.

– Cassidy Rankine, Environmental Researcher

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Video Producers Of The Highest Calibre

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Rob used SkillPages to connect with music producers interested in his song.

Rob Moulder

Revival of a Song

Working as a therapist and life coach is my full time job but I also create a little dance music in my spare time.  A while back I created a song which I sent to a local radio show.  Their staff called me 2 weeks later, asking if I would like to be interviewed and have my music played, which I accepted.  However, since then the song was doing nothing but collecting dust.  I thought I’d try posting an opportunity on SkillPages to see if anyone would like to create a music video for it, thinking to myself I would rather have 50% of something than 100% of nothing.

I created the opportunity in the morning whilst eating my breakfast and then went into town and forgot about it.  5 hours later I returned home to discover I had 17 emails.  I soon realised that all of the emails were from music video producers competing to work with me.

High Calibre of Applicants

A quick overview of the choice of applicants – one had produced a recent award winning TV commercial for Mercedes Benz, several had their own music studios with years of experience and one even produced a music video for Mel C!  I’ve been spending some time viewing their work and have decided who to work with.  Now comes the exciting part of getting started.

From my personal experience, it would be difficult for me to find one reason not to recommend SkillPages!  I’m excited that I’ve discovered a site that works so well.  And the best thing is that these new contacts I gained were all for free!

Rob Moulder, Therapist & Songwriter

Unlocking The Door To Highly Talented Musicians

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Paolo is a music producer using SkillPages to find an array of talented musicians.

An Essential Resource

A composer friend of mine told me that SkillPages was an essential website for me and I have to say I agree with him.  I’ve been a member only a few weeks and I have already been contacted by a lot of people!

I’m a music producer and a professional DJ working in the music industry for over 20 years.  In that time I have created a recording studio at home where I produce my own material under the label Discomilk.  I now have 4 albums produced and my next project is a soulful, funk album. The project features many different instruments and production techniques, which meant I was on the look out for a variety of new people to collaborate with.

A Great Response

I was looking for specific musicians, singers and re-mixers so I posted an opportunity on SkillPages detailing the type of skills I needed.  This meant that I didn’t even have to search, they notified people with skills suitable to what I needed.  The response was great – I could hardly find the time to answer all the replies I got!  There really is a large number of highly skilled people waiting to be engaged.  I am already in the process of negotiating agreements with some great musicians that I found on SkillPages.

As well as producing the album I have other ongoing productions so it’s great to have many valuable collaborators to constantly refer to for my professional requirements.  And it isn’t just good for finding musicians – the next step is to connect with a music video director, a digital animator and a graphic designer for LP and CD covers.  SkillPages is just the right place to find all the professionals I need.

Paolo Guglielmino, DJ & Music Producer

Finding Skilled People The Easy Way

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Tess is an entertainer and performer using SkillPages to help improve her show.

I have been performing in theatre and circus my whole life.  At the moment I am a freelance performer, balloon artist and teacher based in Bristol.  It keeps me very busy as I have a few shows which are collaborations with other artists.  Freelancing is great, I get to work all over the world, meet wonderful people and literally play all day every day. (Except when I have to do my taxes and other admin of course).

Recently I needed work done on a prop for one of my shows and wondered where to find the right person.  I needed it painted in a very particular way and with my busy schedule I needed a quick, easy solution.  I found SkillPages and knew straight away it was the right place to be looking.  The array of skilled people to search is fantastic.  After no time at all I had found a wonderful artist.  I checked out his work and it suited the skill level I wanted for the project.  I contacted John directly.  We met up and he showed me some sketches and then he had it ready in a few days.  He did a beautiful job on the piece and we took it on our tour to the Balkans.

I also love that I can showcase my skills for everyone to search and find on SkillPages.  So now when people are looking for entertainers they can contact me directly.  In short, I think SkillPages is a great idea!

– Tess Cartwright, Performer

“SkillPages Is Full Of Talented People”

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Gus is a film director using SkillPages to find the various skills he needs depending on what type of film he’s shooting.

Never Knowing What Skill I Need Next

Film making is a truly collaborative process.  So many different skills are required depending on the type of film you’re shooting, both behind and in front of the camera.  My latest film is a surreal darts comedy called Double Top.  It prominently features one character who sketches throughout, offering a parallel commentary on the action and the characters.  As the sketches were going to be an integral part of the film I was keen to get a skilled illustrator involved at the very early stages of pre-production.

A friend recommended SkillPages, I signed up and posted an opportunity.  Pretty soon I started to get replies from potential applicants.  Many of them included links to their portfolios and examples of their work.  This was just what I needed to narrow down a shortlist of artists who had styles that fitted my vision.

Finding The Perfect Candidate

After some emailing back and forth with a few potential applicants, to get a feel for their personalities, I invited a select few to rehearsals.  I asked them to create ‘live’ sketches of the actors as we worked on scenes.  Before long I found the perfect candidate – Zoe Delautre, a French artist living in London.  Zoe really got the spirit of what I was trying to do and became a regular participant at rehearsals, producing scores of sketches and working through various ideas and styles.  Some of these drawings appear onscreen in the film, while others became an invaluable part of the development process.  I was very impressed with Zoe’s ability to interpret my requests and the work she produced was exceptional, showcasing a variety of styles and a deep understanding of the collaborative and creative process.

Filming went extremely well and Double Top is now in post-production.  I hope to start submitting it to festivals this autumn.  I’m really grateful that SkillPages was able to connect me to a brilliantly talented artist for such a key role.  I will definitely be coming back to SkillPages again when recruiting for future projects.  You never know what type of skills you’re going to need next and SkillPages is full of talented people.

– Gus Alvarez, Film Director

Finding Essential Skills To Keep My Business Going

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Miriam is using SkillPages to source skilled workers for her hand made clothes line.

Starting A New Business

I started my own business last year selling a line of clothes and accessories for girls.  Originally I had secured a seamstress to make bags, skirts & shorts from denim, for me to sell on-line and at various events.  She was brilliant and it was all going well until the end of the year when she decided she did not want to continue with the work.

Straight away I started looking for someone new.  I went through a string of people who were just not reliable.  It was getting to the point that I may not find a suitable replacement and possibly have to give up on my new business.

Never Give Up

At this point I heard about SkillPages and decided to give it a try.  As a first time user I found it easy to compose a new opportunity, notifying seamstresses about my requirement.  I first got a response from someone living in Scotland who was interested. Whilst I was in discussions concerning postage, I received another e-mail from a lady living more local which suited a lot better for my business.  We exchanged a few e-mails and decided to meet up.  After a very successful meeting I found someone to make bags for me!

Neither of us could believe our luck at finding each other.  To think, she was so close to me all this time and all we needed was a way to connect.

I would not hesitate to use SkillPages again – it was brilliant.  If anything I wish I had joined sooner.  Anyone looking for work related to their skills, or in need of skilled people should give it a try.  It worked for me, when I had almost given up hope.

Miriam Ward, Retailer

It’s Never Too Late To Chase Your Dreams

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  Valentina is following her dream of a more creative life with the help of SkillPages.

My name is Valentina Squitieri, I’m Italian but currently living in Bristol to train as an aerial circus performer.  Before this life, I came from a physics background, having done a Masters in Physics with Astrophysics.  That was a very intense, fascinating experience that I will never forget, but in truth I found myself craving a more creative and physical career.

This new life as a performer is fantastic, non-stop training in the physical, emotional, and creative spheres.  It’s helping me find the self-confidence I never had.  I believe it’s never too late to chase after long lost dreams, and this is exactly what SkillPages is allowing me to do.

Exploring Other Skills

I am predominantly using SkillPages to look for performing opportunities to further enhance my training, but have also included myself as a beginner in other skill categories – such as modelling and illustrating.  I’ve only been a member for a few weeks but I’ve found several really interesting opportunities and already been on one fashion shoot, with several more on the horizon.

My first experience was fantastic, I met some really interesting people and I can’t wait to do more.  I love that I am now exploring other hobbies I’ve always been passionate about but never had much time or courage for.

My advice: don’t get in your own way with preconceptions of what you can and can’t do – you never know until you try!  And why not use SkillPages to do it 🙂

– Valentina Squitieri, Performer/Model/Illustrator


Rekindling An Old Skill

Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting member stories on SkillPages.  James Creagh used SkillPages to find a new band after a 10 year break.

Crimson Clocks from left to right: Colin Cooke (bass), Jo Luckett (violin and oboe), Linzi Cooke (vocals), Steve Joliffe (drums) and James Creagh (guitar and backing vocals)

Years ago I moved from London to Birmingham, and with the move I lost the band I played with. As a computer programmer, playing guitar and finding a new band was never a necessity. Now, 10 years later, I decided it was time to get back into it, with the hopes of joining a new band.

After redundancy, job searching led me to SkillPages – a place where you can find new opportunities related to any of your skills.  Since registering I’ve received many email alerts about people looking for guitarists and musicians.  Out of those I noticed a local band looking for a guitarist that sounded like a good fit for me so I got in touch straight away.

Following some initial correspondence they invited me to audition along with 2 other guitarists. The audition went great and it was brilliant to be back playing.  I was delighted to get a call the next day asking me to join the band!

The band, Crimson Clocks, started rehearsing every weekend and after a few months we had lined up 2 gigs, one at a local festival.

We had our first gig at The Roadhouse – a local rock venue.  There were five bands in total and it was a ‘Steampunk’ evening.  After a few initial glitches it went well and we picked up some new fans.  The 2nd gig was a week later.  This time we stormed it!  The sound was nice and clear and we had quite a few compliments afterwards.

The next step in our plan for world domination is to put together a demo recording of about 5 songs to get more gigs.

It feels great to be part of a band again!

– James Creagh, Guitarist