• Advocacy

5 reasons to support the Freelance Isn't Free Act (even if you've never been stiffed)

Freelancers Union members have been at the helm of the Freelance Isn’t Free Act since day one. We’ve had hundreds of people volunteer their stories, their time, and their leadership to creating and campaigning for this legislation.

Sign the petition to pass the Freelance Isn't Free Act

While most independent workers get why this is much-needed legislation, we’ve heard from a few members who have never been stiffed and don’t really understand what the fuss is about.

If you’re part of that minority, this post is for you:

1. If you haven’t been stiffed, you’re one of the lucky ones

Our research reveals that 7 out of 10 freelancers get stiffed at some point in their careers. That means, if you’re one of the 30% that’s never had a problem – you’re one of the lucky ones.

Yes, there are many preventative measures freelancers can take to avoid getting stiffed, but sometimes you can have all your ducks in a row and still get screwed. You’ve been lucky so far – but luck can run out.

2. If you haven’t been stiffed, there’s still a moral imperative to support more vulnerable workers

Have you ever considered that you might be freelancing from a place of privilege? Status, gender, age, race and experience-level all play into a client’s calculation of how likely they are to be able to get away with not paying workers.

Assuming that anyone who has been stiffed got stiffed because they in some way failed in their business practices is blaming the victim – and that’s not cool.

3. Even if you haven’t been stiffed, this legislation creates standards that help the whole industry

OK, so you always use a contract and you haven’t been stiffed – that’s great. This legislation should just make your usual agreement and payment processes with clients that much easier.

It means no more cajoling reluctant clients into signing contracts with you; it means no more summoning all your muscle to encourage a recalcitrant client to pay on-time and in-full; it means that if a situation gets iffy, you can rest assured that the law is on your side.

4. Even if you haven’t been stiffed, this legislation increases your value

Wha-what? How? Well, even if this legislation never has any direct effect on you and your business, it still helps you indirectly. In passing a law protecting freelancers against nonpayment, the New York City government symbolically recognizes freelancers as a real and viable part of this workforce – not just a fringe movement.

Guess what that does for your business? It makes you more legitimate in the eyes of your clients. Symbols matter!

5. Even if you haven’t been stiffed, this legislation will weed out bad clients

So you’re super savvy and have managed to avoid signing contracts with clients that got your spidey senses tingling – and not in a good way – congratulations!

Now, imagine a world where you don’t have to be quite as hyper vigilant: You don’t spend your time fielding and pitching bad clients because those would-be stiffers know that it’s going to be that much harder to run a scam.

When it comes down to it, even if you haven’t been stiffed, you still put a lot of energy into protecting yourself from deadbeat clients. The Freelance Isn’t Free Act will take some of that weight off your shoulders, which should free you up to focus on what really matters: building your business.

Support the Freelance Isn't Free Act: Sign the petition to push it to a vote here!

Laura Murphy A new soul and media geek, Laura writes about community, poetry and pop culture.

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