Years ago while commuting to work, I remember being first introduced to The Freelancer’s Union through a series of clever subway posers that encouraged riders to “Re-examine, Rethink & Reinvent”, especially when it came to independent work. As someone who had always worked for big firms up until then, I thought the posters were witty and engaging, but I simply did not “get it”. That was then! Now having lived through self-employment and the highs (& lows) that comes with freelance work, it is clear that Sara Horowitz was ahead of her time.
According to Sara, when she founded The Freelancer’s Union (first called Working Today) in 1995 “freelancing was viewed as either a euphemism for being unemployed or for being a slacker dude hanging out at a cafe with a laptop.” But how times have changed! Today 1/3 of the workforce, (that’s 43 million workers) are considered “independent”, and this number is steadily growing, and does not even take into consideration the tens of millions who are employed full-time, but earn a wage vs. salary…meaning their benefits are not guaranteed.
Today, freelancing’s gone mainstream. Employers rely more and more on independent workers to sustain and grow their businesses. Freelancers exist in all kinds of professional: the media, entertainment, manufacturing, healthcare, finance, real estate, nonprofit and many more. They’re computer programmers, and nannies, opera singer and anesthesiologists. They’re all ages, freelancing for all kinds of reasons.
While our Government continues to turn a blind eye to this segment, Sara Horowitz & The Freelancer’s Union has been working tirelessly to serve the needs of independent workers, which includes providing community support, group-rate benefits & insurance, tools & resources, as well as acting as an advocate on their behalf, all in an effort to help them get ahead. “Our symbol, the beehive, reflects the ideal we hold for the freelancer’s world. A community of individuals where the well-being of all and the well-being of each are one.”
Reflecting that mission and her vast experience working with the freelance community, Sara has published a new book, entitled The Freelancer’s Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have The Career of Your Dreams-On Your Terms. All I have to say is that I wish I had this book ten years ago! Easy to read, yet insightful, the Freelancer’s Bible offers practical advice on every aspect of developing a freelance career. From finding work and marketing yourself, to managing clients and contracts…not to mention funding your retirement and taxes; this book covers every stage of development. For some freelancing is a choice, for others a necessity, in either case the trick is to stay connected and build on the experience of others to grow your business, and get through the inevitable highs & lows.
In the weeks ahead, we hope to highlight some of the key chapters and points, but in the meantime urge you to buy this book (& a new highlighter) to start 2013 off with a bang!