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The Freelancers Union

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Okay, so you’re sitting at home day after day writing code or press releases, designing logos, or maybe running several social media sites at once for a variety of clients. You are in command and master of your own destiny, for sure – but heavy lies the crown when you’re all alone.

In New Bedford, the co-working facility Groundwork! came along to help relieve you of your burden with a bright wonderful space full of bright wonderful people.

But we’d never stop there – and haven’t. In addition to the scores of workshops, socials and special events Groundwork! has offered to members and often the public over the last year, we also feel a deep sense of going above and beyond with connecting you with all sorts of information you may find of use keeping yourself a going concern.

The Freelancers Union falls into that category. It’s another tool to put into your gig economy toolbox and have handy should it be needed.

The Freelancers Union calls New York home but is isn’t a Local; it’s nation-wide – and offers some real benefits – for free!

Here’s some background, from FreelancersUnion.org: At Freelancers Union, we strive to make freelancing better now and in the future through joint benefits, live member events, expert guides, and online networking opportunities.

Freelancers Union gives independent workers a powerful voice through political action, research, and thought leadership. We aim to ensure that independent contractors receive adequate rights, protections and professional benefits.”

One of the ways that Freelancers Union is ensuring that is a reality is by leading a campaign to pass local, municipal legislation for Freelancers – a Freelancing Isn’t Free Act for every city and town.

It just scored an important victory. It passed in New York City! You can read all about it in this New York Times story, which states, “The bill represents one of the earliest policy efforts to grapple directly with the growth in the so-called gig economy — a term that typically refers to the likes of temporary workers, contract workers, independent contractors and freelance workers.”

Now, it’s New Bedford’s turn.

Groundwork! Has reached out to New Bedford City Councilor-At-Large Ian Abreu, also Manager of Business Development & Public Policy at the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce, and asked him if he’d be interested in introducing a local version of the act here. He replied, “Absolutely! This is very progressive and I am happy to bring this issue to light.”

What should a local version of the Freelancing Isn’t Free Act contain? That’s up to us – and to help us reach some decisions, Groundwork! Has invited Abreu and area freelancers to a lunch-time discussion around the topic on Thursday, Dec. 1. You can RSVP here.

So, read up on the Freelance Isn’t Free Act via the links in this story and think about what would be helpful to you as a Freelancer on a local level. Then join us at noon on Thurs. Dec 1 – and remember: if the gig economy gets you down, don’t give it up. Groundwork! Is here to help.

The Groundwork! Serial?

 

If you’re free for lunch this coming Thursday, October 20 then make a date with Groundwork! and come to “Learn to Podcast Like a Pro.”

I’m pretty excited about this one – as are many other members here at New Bedford’s first co-working facility. All readers can be, too; the workshop is free and open to the public!

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“Learn to Podcast Like a Pro” will be led by one of our own –  Matt Medeiros, creator of the Matt Report. That podcast is one of the most popular in the WordPress industry. And, if Matt’s name looks familiar, it’s because he also holds a monthly WordPress meet-up here at Groundwork! and was the subject of this excellent profile conducted by Groundwork! co-founder Sarah Athanas.

Matt’s workshop comes hot on the heels of a new equipment acquisition here: A podcast microphone which will enable members to record their podcasts right from this space. From 1213 Purchase Street, New Bedford…to the World Wide Web. He’ll walk folks through the basics of recording a podcast for business or pleasure using the new mic.

So let’s take a step back here and, for those readers who may only have a vague idea of what exactly a podcast is, take a look at this popular new communication tool.

The proper definition of a podcast is as follows: A digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” That’s how the Matt Report works – and you can subscribe to it here.

Podcasts have been surging in popularity in recent years thanks to the ubiquitous iPod and other MP3 players, and the equivalent functions on your smartphone. No doubt the best known podcast is Serial, and like the Matt Report it follows the rules of podcasting. From their website:

“Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story – a true story – over the course of a season. Each season, we follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. We won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order.”

The best podcasts share information with the listener by telling them a story – and if you’ve got something to share with an audience then podcasting – and the “Learn to Podcast Like a Pro” lunch hour workshop – is for you.

Needless to say, we’re already talking about starting a Groundwork! podcast. Who knows? In the near future you may be listening to some of my blog posts in addition to reading them!

Maybe we should call it “The Groundwork! Serial”? “Groundwork! on the Go!”? “Work-Days of Our Lives…?” …

– If you’d like to attend the Thursday, Oct. 20 “Learn to Podcast Like a Pro” workshop, you can RSVP here. Feel free to bring your brown bag lunch and once again, it’s free and open to the public.

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