At Industrious, we’re always on the lookout for partners that mirror our focus on community and connection. 

Pollen provides professional development memberships that help independent professionals connect with experts in their field, upskill with educational resources, and solve real-world problems. Naturally, we had to team up.

Once a month in 2024, we host coworking days and Mastermind sessions in New York for Pollen and Industrious members alike. In these sessions, members of both communities have the opportunity to tackle their biggest business challenges and create solutions together. It’s a can’t-miss opportunity to network, solve problems, discover new ideas — and it starts with a complimentary breakfast and winds down with a trademark Industrious happy hour to boot.

We talked with Hillary Bush, Founder & CEO, about Pollen’s origins, what it takes to build an authentic and tightly-knit community of ‘independents,’ and what’s next for Pollen members this year.

Interview with Hillary Bush, Founder & CEO of Pollen

What is Pollen and how was your organization founded?

Pollen is a professional development membership for independent consultants. We help independents build successful and durable businesses through educational sprints, access to experts in residence, a vetted community and a toolkit of practical resources. 

I started the business after my own experience of building an independent business. Having gone out on my own providing product, growth, and SEO consulting for companies like Adobe, Outlier, Outschool and more, I experienced first-hand the challenges and isolation that comes with starting a growing a solo business. The companies I worked for in the past had world class investors, accelerators, and ecosystems available to support. But when you go independent, you’re often relegated to noisy Slack groups, snake oil, and get-rich-quick schemes for your professional development.

Working for yourself is the new goal for many of us — to have the ability to capture more of the value from your efforts, and to define the way work fits into your life, not the other way around. Over 50% of Americans freelanced in 2023, and that number continues to grow.

Independence is the future of work and Pollen serves as the essential community and information infrastructure for this new wave of entrepreneurship.

How do you curate your community of ‘independents’ and entrepreneurs? How does your vetting process work?

All members of the Pollen community are committed to building an independent career and are able to do so because they’re really good at what they do. Members have a minimum of 7 years of total work experience and they come from the core business functions — product, marketing, operations, content, finance, legal, HR and more. The benefit of this is you get advice from a diverse range of perspectives and can build your own modular teams and referral relationships.

Prospective members apply to Pollen and are vetted based on a series of questions to ensure we build a tight-knit community of people that are committed to supporting and learning from each other.

All of us are a part of noisy communities that are filled with nothing but spam or self-promotion. At Pollen, we take a vastly different approach that focuses on authenticity. As such, we don’t allow for any self promotion and make sure members are committed to our core values of generosity, genuine connections, no-ego, maintaining a safe space and giving more than you receive.

You can join today at!

Any success stories or examples you can share of the kinds of experiences and connections made through Pollen?

Pollen has countless success stories among its members, speaking to the profound impact we’re making on their entrepreneurial journeys. Oftentimes members are initially seeking solutions to specific business challenges but often find additional rich value in the long-term strategic growth and resilience that Pollen provides.

For instance, through our proprietary tools and exclusive software discounts, members access significant cost savings and strategic advantages. For example, we’ve partnered with Matchstick legal to offer members a custom contract builder, saving people over $5,000 in legal fees. Additionally, a pricing database compiled from more than 3,000 data points brings people transparency and confidence to negotiation. One member 3x’d her rate for a project through the combination of pricing data and advice from our pricing Expert-in-Residence, Austin Church.

Pollen really helps people build quality relationships that are so essential to independent businesses. Within the first week of membership, each member is personally introduced to at least three other members, fostering immediate and valuable connections. This has led to 82% of members making impactful business connections within just six weeks of joining.

Members like Evan H. share that they’ve, “already gotten a 300% return on my membership through work referrals, and I learn something new every week through the game-changing experts and peers.” Lex adds, “Pollen is like all your favorite team members from your last job got together to support you as you started to grow your own company.”

Members also love our sprints that are designed to compress what might typically take six months of progress into just two weeks, offering a highly focused burst of growth that is both impactful and time-efficient. We run sprints on things like Brand Strategy, Sales Strategy, Annual Planning, Entrepreneurial Mindset and more. Ninety-five percent of sprint participants apply what they’ve learned directly to their business and feel dramatically more confident in their abilities following a sprint.

Christine M. describes this really well; “Each sprint, from brand strategy to annual planning, leaves me feeling more prepared and confident in building the next phases of my business. I’ve made an insane amount of progress with Pollen’s support, while also prioritizing my personal goals — one of the main reasons I made this jump.” 

Why did you decide to partner with Industrious?

One thing that is core to the DNA or Pollen and Industrious is our commitment to community and connection. We love working with Industrious because of the level of intention they bring to their spaces and how aligned it is with how we build community amongst our members.

Plus, the Industrious spaces are gorgeous and facilitate wonderful experiences and connections. Pollen has a rich community of independents in New York City and we enjoy getting together for our coworking days in beautiful Industrious spaces.

What can members of the Industrious community look forward to as part of this collaboration?

During our coworking days and events, we welcome Industrious members to connect with our community of vetted independents, participate in our mastermind “hot seat” sessions and expert programming to tackle real business challenges. 

Do you have a favorite activation, event, or Mastermind session you’ve done at Pollen? 

We love working with Industrious, dating back to our cross-country tour to engage independents in LA, Chicago, Miami and New York City. One of my favorites was our event in New York City, where we got Pollen members, friends and family, Industrious members and more together for an incredible panel about transitioning into independence and the role that community places in that journey.

What’s next for Pollen this year? Where can we follow along for news and updates?

Our focus for this year continues to be about providing opportunities for our members to build their businesses through sprints, practical resources, and ultimately getting them the right information at the right time. We’re multiple sprints each month, producing new innovative content, expanding access to more Experts-in-Residence and more.
You can follow us on social media on X and LinkedIn, or join our newsletter where we share previews of the wonderful things happening within Pollen.