Why I’m Starting a Freelancer Collective aka “Damn the Man, Save the Freelancers”

You may be asking yourself right now, “Lex, what the hell is a freelancers collective?” And if that’s the case, I’m really happy you did. So strap yourself in, this is going to be a read…

As I’m sure you know, one of the huge challenges of freelancing within most every industry is getting the word out that you’re even available for contract work. Sure word of mouth is great but all too often, many freelancers are left feeling more exhausted by self promotion than the work they book. So what happens next? Countless people resign ourselves to signing up to outsourcing websites that do allow us to book work but we have to fight tooth and nail against umpteen other freelancers for the very same gig. Nothing is ever certain and causes way too much anxiety and uncertainty. Sure, competition is healthy in the marketplace but it’s gotten to a point where it seems that part of the freelance lifestyle is that not only do we tire ourselves out to find work but we also have moments when we may lower our standards and rates when it comes to jobs, just to stay competitive. And if we do book the gig through a website that claims to enable freelancers to take control of the jobs they get, a chunk of our earned income is usually taken by the site.

But why should it be like that? Why must we give away a sizable amount of money that we’ve worked for to a website simply for being the middle man? Why must we continually feel like like I’m on the auction block as clients poke and prod me to lower my rates because they “have received a much lower offer?” Why must we be left feeling frustrated or as if our work is any less valuable because people try to drive our price down? And why must we look at other freelancers as the enemy instead of an amazing resource?

Well I’m not for that line of thinking anymore and I doubt many other people are either. Hence, this collective. The initial purpose of the collective is to allow freelancers from any industry (in the beginning we will do a soft launch where we limit the number of fields for research purposes but then we will expand to other fields as quickly as possible, particularly because obviously, I can’t advocate for every freelancer as I haven’t worked in every industry so I’d like to have more experienced people be more involved in the process of building their respective communities) the accessibility to more exposure for their services, a solid support system and access to educational tools to improve their skills or gain new ones.

Check out my intro to the idea:

Like the Freelancer’s Union we are all about collaboration, education and the community but I would hardly compare this collective to the Union nor would I want to. As a member of the Freelancer’s Union for about 3 years, my involvement with them was a huge reason for wanting to create a grassroots movement of my own. The FU is fantastic as advocates for freelancers, I can’t deny that, which is why this collective isn’t necessarily a ‘competitor’ to the Union, more like a little sibling. Once we’re more established, I’d love to partner up with them, but that’s looking a bit too far into the future at this moment. The FU boasts that over 240,000 freelancers have come together but let’s be realistic – the number of actual freelancers far exceeds that. I think the last study I read was somewhere near 50 million people are considered freelancers these days. That’s a far cry from those that have already come together. A lot of people aren’t aware of FU or that there are even options like that out there for you as a freelancer. The collective seeks to change that line of thinking within the community. As well change the line of thinking outside of the community which views freelancers in a negative light because we opt to not fit into the dream life that we were conditioned to aspire to.

Any donations through our GoFundMe campaign will be used to set the collective up in such a way that will allow us to execute our ideas easier. Perhaps I’m aiming high, but regardless, any donations will go directly into the collective for purposes of acquiring a domain, hosting, marketing, producing educational videos (because why hire some big company to do it when we can pump the money back into the community and hire freelancers?), aid us in hosting panels, conventions and other events in cities around the country to spread the word on the ever evolving state of what it is to freelance, how you can maximize your potential as a freelancer and to cease this divide between freelancers and the 9-5’ers and the division of freelancers among ourselves as well as incorporating and then ultimately becoming a non-profit.

So, this is a call for supporters of freelancers, solopreneurs, indiepreneurs, entrepreneurs or anyone that has ever had aspirations to work for themselves and are eager to join a new movement. Feel free to email me at aklew504@gmail.com and I’m more than happy to elaborate on any other questions you may have.


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