Unless you’re exceptionally lucky, as a freelancer, you will have had a problem with one or all of these at some point:
- Unreasonable clients
- Late payment
- No payment
- A demand for free samples
- A lack of adequately-paid work.
A quick search of the internet will tell you you’re not alone, and back in 2008, photographer Matt Dowling had the same realisation.
Freelancers are stronger together
At the time, Matt was owed £11,000 on an unpaid invoice; the kind of money no freelancer can afford to lose. Desperate to get the payment he was owed, he spent his last £300 on a lawyer to recover it—but lost.
His story was picked up by a newspaper and soon other freelancers got in touch with their own stories of payment woes. Matt realised that he wasn’t the only freelancer being exploited, and that freelancers needed a support network.
When he met Nina, a freelance model, he heard about her own challenges. Their shared experiences and the ’wish list’ of all the things that would have made things easier when they started out formed the basis of the Freelancer Club—something they envisaged as not just a jobs board, but a support hub for freelancers who needed help and guidance.
No free work
Today, the Freelancer Club is a leading creative network built on its promises to:
- Build a community who support one another
- Create a platform to showcase creativity
- Never promote unpaid work
- Provide business resources and honest advice
- Fight for the rights of freelancers
- Make freelancers feel valued
The club’s #NoFreeWork campaign fights against unpaid work in the industry. Its mission statement says:
‘Unpaid work is any scenario where a business exploits an individual for commercial gain by not paying for labour or services that have been provided by that individual.
Unpaid work can have a damaging effect on the relationship between freelancers and their clients. It creates an environment where freelancers suspect their clients of trying to take advantage of them, rather than a positive working relationship. Unpaid work not only devalues the individual but impacts the creative industry resulting in a lack of diversity, a diluted talent pool and a poorer economy.’
The petition, which companies and freelancers are encouraged to sign, states: ‘I will not post or apply to unpaid work.’
Why should you join the club?
The club allows you to showcase work, access jobs, test shoots and events, connect with others, receive discounts and benefits; and access legal documents and useful guides. A downloadable app allows you to use many of these features and receive notifications and in-mail on the go. There are three levels of membership:
Aspire: Free. This level allows you to showcase work on your freelance profile with 40 uploads, download some templates and guides, access event tickets, apply for test shoots and apply for entry-level jobs.
Starter: From £7.99 per month (£9.99 if billed monthly with a cancel anytime option). At this level, you can upload 80 items to your profile, apply for jobs under £250 level, in-mail members and download guides, templates and discounts.
Pro: From £11.66 /month (£19.99 p/m when billed monthly with a cancel anytime option). This levels allows you full access to all jobs, higher ranking on the freelancer directory, 120 uploads to your profile, the option to offer mentoring services, access to VIP events and free use of a photographic studio.