Working as a freelancer is great. The ability to work for yourself, on your own terms affords a certain level of both freedom and comfort.
However, it can often feel isolating.
After all, who else can you turn to when you’re working for yourself, by yourself? It’s not like you have a break-room or water cooler to turn to, and it isn’t as though there’s a robust human resources department down the hall just waiting to help you out.
If only there were a group of like-minded individuals who had banded together in order to give freelancer’s just like you a hand.
Well, maybe there is.
Introducing The Freelancers Union
You may be surprised to know that you aren’t alone. Like, at all. With over 350,000 like-minded individuals, The Freelancers Union just may be able to make your daily work closer to a “traditional job” in all of the good ways. Here are just some of the benefits to joining this growing union of freelancers just like you.
It’s Free. Like, Actually Free.
I know that just about everything on the Internet is advertised as being free, albeit usually at some hidden fee or shipping cost. However, membership to the Freelance Union is 100% free of charge. It’s “free” in the strictest sense of the word.
Unlike other unions, the Freelancers Union does not charge an annual membership fee. Now, there’s always a chance that an organization this large and growing will include dues at some point, but as of right now, it won’t cost you a cent.
That’s hard to beat, especially as many freelancers are operating on a shoestring budget. Instead, they rely on donations to cover costs, and have already snagged some big-name companies.
Open to Anyone
Traditional labor unions require a degree of skill or earned rank to join. It can take hundreds, or thousands of hours and several years to join. For the Freelancers Union, the only requirement is that you sign up. It’s open to anyone and everyone who currently works as a freelancer.
No matter what your skills, experience, or education level, you can sign up for free and reap the rewards. This can also lead to potential networking and other welcomed resources.
Friends with Benefits
Do you love working for yourself, but hate having to pay for insurance? You just might be able to score similar benefits through the union as one may find with a traditional employer.
There are several insurance plans that you may qualify for and the union has a fully functioning tool to help guide you. The union partners with local providers, giving great rates on coverage that you may be in the market for.
It doesn’t stop at the doctor’s office, however. Surprisingly, the Freelancers Union has several types of benefit plans, including:
- Health Insurance
- Dental Insurance
- Term Life Insurance
- And other traditional benefits types.
The loss of benefits is one of the biggest barriers preventing more people from quitting their jobs and working for themselves. In fact, with the rising costs of insurance; thousands of people find themselves stuck in jobs they can’t stand for fear of losing coverage.
These opportunities may just be the nudge that you need to take that leap of faith.
Possible the hardest part of being self-employed is figuring out how the heck to pay taxes. One of the biggest pains of freelancing is trying to figure out exactly how much tax you owe on your earnings. For this reason, many freelancers dread tax season more than others.
While they may not be able to help you find a CPA, they have the next best thing: free articles and resources. With a little light reading, you can learn how to properly complete your taxes, complete with deductions, how-to read 1099s, and how to snag an EIN.
Freelancers already have a hard time with looking professional. But once you’re able to join boring discussions about paying taxes at cocktail parties, you’ll finally look like a real career person.
Discounts That Matter
Big corporations like to flaunt their employee discount programs, but who cares about saving 15% on new candles? What if you could have discounts on services that help you grow your business?
Joining the union offers just that. All members have access to discounts on a variety of business services, some of which you may already use.
Whether you offer a service or operate an online store, their discounts are worth a look. Current discount partners include Geico, Moo.com, ASPCA, and more.
If you feel that a lack of funding is what’s holding you back from pursuing your big idea, this may be the missing piece of your puzzle. By saving big on the services that you need, you can start freelancing with the best of them.
Break Out in Hives
The first rule of business is discovering something that you can offer that no one else does. While this may be the edge that sends you to the top, it can also make you feel like a lone wolf against the world.
The Freelancers Union has organized specialty groups, called “Hives”, that groups similar freelancing agents together. Don’t worry; you aren’t volunteering for new competitors.
Some hives are geared towards first-year freelancing professionals, while other hives might be based on assisting immigrants in getting their footing here in the U.S. By basing hives on topics or key communities, you can help each other grow.
This is refreshing to see the union offer this rather than a traditional web forum. Simply find a support group, or start your own, and build your own team.
Be the Future
Have you noticed that there isn’t a ton of research on the freelance economy? Or that there’s not really a voice for what we do? The Freelancers Union has become that voice. They are actively participating in research to better define our economy, as well as push for fair payment for freelance work.
By joining and contributing to the union, you could help shape the face of the future of freelance work. If you find yourself looking for a cause to champion, this could be it.