• Director Dispatches

#FreelanceNation looks forward to 2016

As Freelancers Union Founder and Executive Director, Sara Horowitz is an innovator for tomorrow's workforce. You can catch up with her on Twitter at @Sara_Horowitz.

In 2015, the way we work was a hot topic. It’s clear that we can no longer classify workers in the binary of employed or unemployed. Nearly 54 million Americans are now freelancing, so everyone – from major media outlets, to high-level politicians, to big business – is asking: How do we talk about this new way of working?

The world is ready to hear from us. 2016 is our year to put freelancing on the social agenda.

The days when business can function and laws can pass without considering the freelance workforce are long gone. It’s time to help our non-freelancing friends, family members, community leaders, and policymakers understand how we make a living, how we envision the future of freelancing, and its transformative impact on society.

Through the #FreelanceIsntFree campaign, we at Freelancers Union have learned the importance of reciprocity. In supporting one another, we all do better.

As the #FreelanceIsntFree campaign progressed, we’ve joined in solidarity with other organizations supportive of our cause. In working alongside partners and allies, we reinforce one another and build a culture in which everyone can thrive.

Not only have these partnerships helped us take the first legislation in the country to New York City Hall, but they’ve enriched our understanding of the workforce at large.

Engaging in reciprocity opens a window through which we can empathize with those outside of our immediate circle and discover solutions that we might not have previously considered.

So often we hear from freelancers who yearn for a sense of day-to-day community. As freelancers, we might not have ready-made socialization at an office water cooler, but I encourage you to open a window.

Unlike many traditional workers, we have the unique opportunity to be intentional about our communities. We get to choose to let new people in and choose how we give back, which in turn determines what we get.

Here at Freelancers Union, we’ve created a framework for members to begin to build their own communities. Presently, 18 cities across the United States host SPARK events where freelancers learn to better their business and make connections that lead to friendships, mentors, and new clients. Online, we created the Hives platform where freelancers can share knowledge and help one another solve problems. But these networks are only as good as the members who lead and participate in them and we’re grateful to have so many members committed to making the future of freelancing better for all.

Finally, the #FreelanceIsntFree Campaign would not exist without the members who have lead advocacy events, shared their nonpayment stories, and joined the campaign. In coming together, what was an extremely isolating event for freelancers – nonpayment – has become a cause around which this community can rally.

Being a freelancer isn’t always cut and dry. Most of the time you’re freelancing, other times you’re moonlighting, and occasionally you find yourself with a full-time job. Wherever you are in your freelance journey, your network lives here.

I challenge you to make 2016 the year Freelance Nation swarms together and becomes an empowered voice in the conversation surrounding the way we work today. It takes a community to achieve independence – join us in building one.

Please consider making a contribution to support our advocacy work as well as our free member resources and events. Your tax-deductible donation will be directed to Working Today, our nonprofit subsidiary.

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Sara Horowitz As the founder of Freelancers Union, Sara has been a voice for freelancers for over two decades.