To urgently find a new platform to track, assign, and manage hundreds of freelancers
Apartment Therapy had been using a competing freelancer management platform to help their managers assign and track projects across their significant and varied talent network.
“We were using a similar platform for a few years. At the end of 2020, we were given a notice from that platform that they were going out of business – and they gave us maybe three weeks’ notice. So we had to scramble to find a replacement.”
With the existing platform deeply integrated into their management process, Apartment Therapy needed to urgently figure out a solution that would let them transition their workflows and freelancer database to a new platform.
As a contingency plan, they reverted to spreadsheeting to ensure the basics of their talent management could be taken care of while they searched for a solution.
“We sort of went back to the Stone Age with our management – and we had everybody doing spreadsheet invoices and tracking in the gap period.”
As their challenge became more urgent, Apartment Therapy searched online for platforms that were similar to their existing one – and it was here that they came across Shortlist.
After reaching out to a couple of similar platforms, they decided that Shortlist would be the best fit for their needs, and for their growth moving forward.
“We were instantly grabbed by the demo because it seemed very intuitive and very similar to how we were doing our work before.”
Finding a solution
A platform with more features and more flexibility that could be implemented and adopted quickly by managers and freelancers.
Apartment Therapy found that Shortlist offered more features and customization opportunities than the system they were currently using. Shortlist also had existing customers with similar use cases that were managing large talent networks.
This gave Apartment Therapy an increased sense of security when they were considering their options.
“With our previous platform, we were in a relationship that wasn’t truly meeting all of our needs. We’d been in it for so long that we didn’t know how to break it up because we were just stuck.”
A feeling of similarity was a feature that was essential to Apartment Therapy before they switched providers, given the urgency of their circumstances and the number of freelancers they needed to get set up on the new system.
“We didn’t want there to be a huge learning curve, especially because the change was going to be so abrupt. And while it was very similar to our last platform, it had a bunch of extra features that we had always been wanting.”
The Shortlist team partnered with Apartment Therapy to navigate their situation, learn how their teams operated, understand the features they needed, and provide solutions to get the new system up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“The team was very hands-on and very responsive. We felt like we were in good hands.”
From implementation to getting their teams and freelancers using Shortlist, Apartment Therapy was fully operational on the new platform within four weeks.
Once people saw that Shortlist was so easy to use and had the familiarity of the previous platform, they were immediately on board.
Apartment Therapy instantly found the Shortlist platform intuitive and easy to use, with workflows that instantly made sense and were customizable to fit their needs.
“The user experience is tops for me. It has a really minimal learning curve. And it’s very headache-free, I’ve got to say!”
The previous platform exported all the existing freelance data for Apartment Therapy, enabling them to create a new list of around 400 current contractors that Shortlist then imported onto the new platform.
As freelancers were assigned to new projects, they were able to create profiles in the new system, check their information, and update any necessary tax and contract details – making the switching process incredibly smooth for everyone involved.
“It worked really well because everybody we wanted to work with was just there waiting. The way Shortlist was able to bulk import everything was just brilliant.”
Rapid implementation and adoption of the new platform, enabling editors and managers to work more efficiently
Apartment Therapy plans their content months in advance. They produce dozens of pieces of content every day across multiple different verticals – with each piece of content needing to be assigned, tracked, completed, and paid.
It was critical that the transition to a new platform was as seamless as possible.
“Our editors were able to resume their normal style of work instantly. People were working faster, and things were getting done better. It was pretty immediate.”
The benefits of moving to Shortlist were noticeable straight away, and Apartment Therapy found that it was even more user-friendly than the platform they were working with before.
They were able to customize things to fit the specific needs of their teams – in particular, their onboarding workflow, which they weren’t able to do with their previous provider.
“In the last platform, we kind of had to MacGyver it a little bit to make it work for our business. All of those flexibility options are built into Shortlist – and they are able to do so much to customize it on their end that we don’t have to worry about any MacGyvering.”
Apartment Therapy found the overall user experience with Shortlist to be cleaner, smoother, and less glitchy than the previous platform. There was also a lot they could do in terms of adjustments and integrations that made their workflows and communication more efficient.
From the external side, onboarding became more streamlined, with self-populating form fields that reduced manual typing and minimized errors, especially when it came to freelancers inputting their own payment details.
“There are integrations that we’re really excited to use, like Asana, which we didn’t have before, and Slack, which we didn’t have before. Connecting all of these tools that we use religiously is great.”
Creating projects and tasks, and inviting freelancers to each task is now seamless, making it easier and faster for Apartment Therapy to plan and complete the content for their two sites.
Where they were frequently held up with glitches in the previous platform, requiring time-consuming emails and support enquiries from their freelancers, the new platform runs smoothly.
If any problems do crop up, Apartment Therapy has direct access to a dedicated account manager at Shortlist that can resolve things quickly, freeing up valuable time.
“Our editors are spending a lot less time troubleshooting, and a lot more time actually in the platform assigning work.”