Freelancers are naturally independent people. That’s the very reason most of you work for yourselves.
It’s important, however, for freelancers to network with others of a similar mindset and lifestyle.
Freelance organizations offer benefits for those making their own way. These benefits include providing the most current information in the specific areas in which freelancers work and facilitating network opportunities that could benefit you down the road.
Here are 11 organizations and/or groups you should consider joining if you’re a freelancer.
1: Freelancer’s Union
Freelancers Union offers independent workers the ability to procure all sorts of more affordable insurance products. These include health, dental, life, and disability insurance to protect your personal well-being.
The group also offers liability insurance to cover you in the event any legal action is taken against you.
Retirement plans and travel medical insurance are also available.
These benefits offer a peace of mind that can sometimes be difficult to find by those who live the freelance lifestyle.
2: Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)
For those who use freelance journalism as their means of earning income, membership in the Society of Professional Journalists has some definite benefits.
Because of the organization’s strictly enforced code of ethics, membership adds a level of integrity to a freelancer’s reputation. This can be important to clients seeking people they can trust.
The group also offers access to discounts on a variety of goods and services. These include health insurance and identity protection, as well as reduced prices for rental cars and office supplies.
SPJ also encourages dialogue among its members to discuss current issues facing journalists and ways the organization can help.
3: National Writer’s Union
With regional chapters spanning the country from California to New York, the National Writers Union focuses on protecting freelance writers of all sorts from the problems most often associated with freelancing.
From representing workers in cases against non-paying clients to providing contract guidelines and offering seminars to better educate freelancers in the legal aspects of their businesses, the NWU provides its members with knowledge and resources to protect what they’ve worked so hard to build.
4: Editorial Freelance Association
Freelancers who make their living editing, writing, and researching can join the Editorial Freelance Association to make connections and gain access to other resources. Founded in 1971, the group has a wide range of services including job listings, various educational programs to enhance freelancers’ knowledge within their fields and health care discounts.
Visit their website here.
5: The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors
Making your living as a freelancer has its unique set of challenges, and The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors is here to help you face those challenges.
The NAIWE is geared specifically toward helping freelancers find success in their fields by providing training and business development tools, such as your very own business website.
You can know more by visiting the NAIWE website here.
6: American Society of Journalists and Authors
With membership available to freelance journalists and non-fiction writers, The American Society of Journalists and Authors focuses on networking, professional development, and advocacy. Among the group’s offerings are a magazine available online and in print, online member forums, and regular newsletters and emails that keep members informed of developments and news that affects the writing industry.
This interactive website can help independent writers and editors in multiple ways.
Just networking with other freelancers can be a huge morale boost.
FreelanceSuccess is also a leading location for outsource agents to find freelancers with the proper talent to provide exactly what is needed.
When you join, you have access to jobs that need bids. MediaBistro also offers a wide variety of courses to help you grow in your freelance career.
I recommend that you visit their website here.
9: Online News Association
News writers are a special breed. Ethics must be considered along with an unbiased approach.
A membership to this Association will give you a special look from those seeking news writing specialists.
10: UPOD Academy
If you want to climb the freelancing mountain, learning from the best is the best approach. UPOD Academy has the best of the best teaching you the intricate art of freelance.
11: Writer’s Digest
I saved the best for last. I have always loved Writer’s Digest. It is a great place to learn and find possible freelance clients.
With contests and seminars, you can find all you need to become a great freelancer.
As a freelancer, you have chosen to take a different path than traditional employees.
Membership in one or more of the freelance organizations available to you can help you achieve your goals in a variety of ways. You should make it a point to research these associations for yourself to determine which are right for you.
From education to insurance to professional development, the benefits offered by these groups can mean the difference between a successful freelance career and a mere hobby.
Do you belong to any of these organizations or groups?
Do you know of any other groups you would recommend?
Please post your comments or questions below.