A fascinating account about working as a content writer for AOL by Oliver Miller. I recommend it…
The most depressing aspect of the whole affair was reading the responses to this letter. Yes, my fellow co-workers ??? all of them hard workers, all of them fairly poor, all of them now fired with no unemployment (AOL paid us as ???independent contractors,??? meaning that no money was provided for unemployment) ??? these people were sending out polite email responses to an automated form letter that had fired them. ???I have so many great memories of working for AOL,??? they said. ???It was a privilege to work with so many talented people.??? There were no replies to these responses ??? essentially, my co-workers were saying ???thank you??? to an uncaring robot. They may as well have been trying to have a conversation with the coffee maker in AOL headquarters. And many of these people had been working at AOL for years, sometimes more than a decade.
Money Book Holy Trinity of Savings Calculator
Hugh Chou, whose site offers a number of financial calculators he's created (he describes himself as a "General purpose academic computer geek") has created a simple calculator for freelancers, to help them figure out their monthly income and expenses, and figure out if they're living beyond (or inside) their means. Looks like a nice, simple, useful online app.
FreelanceFolder, a site that offers, according to its description "a community for freelancers, entrepreneurs, work-at-home business owners, and web-workers" has published a listing of 29 freelancing blogs. I haven't checked out most of these — on first glance, I saw none of the major sites, such as Mediabistro — but if you're looking for a blog or a community that might suit, it's certainly a place to start.
29 Must-Read Freelancing Blogs from the Freelancing Community
A young woman talks about living a freelance life in the Twin Cities Daily Planet:
As a freelancer ??? and that means for me not just writing but teaching and acting as well ??? I pretty much take any job that comes along my way. Cover a community meeting or protest? Sure. Write about foreclosures or health care? No problem. Act as a person with mental illness for crisis intervention training for nurses or cops? I can do that. Teach four-year-olds how to dance? I can do that, too.
The Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) has posted its latest update
on common editorial rates for various types of freelance work. It has posted a chart showing the type of work, estimated pace (in other words, how much you’re expected to product per hour) and the rate. Some examples: $30-$40/hour for basic copyediting, $35-$65/hour for indexing, and $50-$100/hour (or 5 cents-$2/word) for writing.
You can find the chart here
A colleague sent me a link to Ebyline yesterday, and it looks like it may be an interesting resource for both freelancers and publishers looking for freelancers. From a first look, Ebyline appears to be more than a supplier of would-be journalists for content farms; instead, it asks freelancers who want to join the service to provide some proof that they're professionals:
How do I work with Ebyline???
Ebyline is looking for experienced, professional journalists who can contribute quality work to our partners. As we review applications from freelancers, we take the following qualifications into consideration:
- Examples of paid freelancing work produced within the last 12 months
- Examples of previous/current full-time editorial/reporting work
- Deep knowledge in a specific topic/beat
- Journalism/Communication Education
- Referrals from News Organizations/Editors
Ebyline calls itself a "virtual newsroom." Everything is done through the service: the assignment is made, the publisher is corresponded with, the finished story is submitted and improved, and payment is made. I couldn't immediately find information about how Ebyline finances itself, but according to an article from TechCrunch
, it takes "an 8 percent cut from each transaction."??
It sounds like it could be possibly a good resource for freelancers. I'm going to add it to my list of useful sites; if anybody has actually tried Ebyline, or has heard anything positive or negative, I'd be interested in knowing about it.
The Freelancer’s Union called me today to ask me to call my state senator about the Freelancer Payment Protection Act, whose purpose is “To grant the Department of Labor greater oversight over employment contracts involving independent contractors, to afford them the same compensation guarantees as traditional employees.”
As is stated in the bill, freelancers currently have to way of going after employers who refuse to pay besides Small Claims Court, which can be a frustrating, time consuming, and often useless exercise. This bill would allow freelancers to file complaints with the Department of Labor, and for that department to act on their behalf.
It’s a very worthy cause — especially if you’re a freelancer. If you’re a New Yorker, you might want to contact your state senator to see if s/he supports the bill. If you’re not, you may want to see if there’s anything similar brewing in your own state legislature.