Freelancing in the UK: They're Just Like Us
I just met with Helen James from FreelanceUK. FreelanceUK helps freelancers with one of their top needs: finding work. For 5 pounds (about $8) per month their members are able to market their portfolios online, an additional marketing avenue that has proven to help get work. Their members, just like ours, have frequently experienced great difficulty getting paid. One strategy they have tried is to encourage members to go to a particular debt collector. They've negotiated a discount for his services, and he only gets paid once he's collected. Maybe this is a future Freelancers Union idea. What do you think? Would you use that service? Any freelance debt collectors out there? Another big issue we have in common is the misclassification of freelancers. In the UK there’s a rule called IR35 that seeks taxes from freelancers if they should have been termed employees. Tomorrow, when I go the PCG ("the voice of freelancing") I will learn more about this and write more. One thing is clear to me already, though: while any government's goal is to collect tax revenue, elected officials and policymakers don't understand this new workforce, and consequently, individual freelancers wind up as dolphins caught in the tuna net. And that’s not okay from either side of the pond. Stay tuned for an introduction to The Cube, a London coworking space. Sara Horowitz is the founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union.