- This week is the annual European Freelancers Week (#EFWeek), the largest celebration of the role of freelancers in the European economy.
- Jeannine van der Linden, director of the European Coworking Assembly shares her insights on why communities are important for freelancers.
- Join the #EFWeek to learn more about freelancing, gain advice and support, and find freelancing communities near you.
This article has been supplied by the European Coworking Assembly.
The freelance sector has seen some major growth over the past almost two years. Freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr.com, and Freelance.com have also seen a growth in their quarterly revenue since the start of the pandemic. Growth from both sides of the equation impacts the future of work.
A survey done by Malt on freelancers in Europe shows an increase in the number of freelancers. An interesting statistic here is that this research shows there are now more male freelancers than there are female freelancers. Another thing that came to light is that almost all freelancers have a sufficient level of education and training to be seen as professionals in their field.
Why we need freelance communities
Since the number of new freelancers is on the rise, it is important that they become part of a community to help them grow, figure out pricing, and lead them in the right direction.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs speaks about how people fulfill basic needs before moving on to more advanced needs. Often these needs are displayed in a triangle and from the bottom the following sections: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation.
The most basic needs for humans start from the bottom with the more complex needs at the top.
Based on this, a sense of belonging is even more important than individual success. That is where freelance communities come into play. A freelance community can be a safe space for freelancers of the same trade or the same region to share ideas and connections. Not only that, but it creates an environment that is safe and offers support to one another.
What freelance communities have to offer
Being a freelancer who only recently joined the sector can be confusing. A way to combat this confusion and uncertainty is to be part of a freelance community, where advice and support is freely shared. A freelance community can also offer connections, collaboration, coworking, and a sense of belonging.
“A freelancer has to pursue the dynamics of the sector, such as coaching, training, and skills development themselves,” Jeannine says. She explains that because freelancers aren’t part of a fully employed team in a business, they don’t have the benefit of people scouting for growth opportunities for them.
“Pricing,” Jeannine says “is the one thing that all freelancers struggle with when they just start out. Most of the time new freelancers have the tendency to price their goods and services below market value.”
Having a support system to guide and offer advice on elements like pricing is exactly what freelancers need. Community also offers guidance and the chance to grow collectively. And, seeing as the new way of work is here to stay, scouting for the nearest freelance community might bring some extra luck.
Where to find freelance communities
Freelance communities, thanks to the rapid growth of technology, can be found anywhere. Technology allows for communication worldwide with various freelancers from all sectors.
However, if looking for an in-person connection, local coworking spaces may be the answer. According to research done by Deskmag 41% of people who make use of coworking spaces are freelancers. This shows that the likelihood to encounter a freelancer at a coworking space is quite high.
The freelancers who make use of coworking spaces most likely form part of a community where they gain support and advice. Approaching them might be the hardest task, but asking to be part of their community is the easy part.
A large freelance community in Europe
The annual European Freelancers Week (#EFWeek) is the largest celebration of the role of freelancers in the European economy. This week allows for attendees to take part in the celebration of the freelance sector and help build the European freelance community.
This week-long celebration spots multiple events where freelancers can either take part and host their own events, or attend events where they can receive industry insights. This year the main event kicked off on 18 October and will continue to 24 October.
This event is online again this year. It creates the opportunity for freelancers and coworking spaces all around the world to be part of the movement. This year the focus is on collective action for freelancers to have fair, basic civil rights. The motto: stand up, speak up, and show up.
Join the #EFWeek, one of the biggest celebrations of the freelance community, and host your own event where you get to share your ideas and tips. Or, you can simply attend the #EFWeek events listed on their website. Subscribe to their newsletter to stay in the loop.
This article has been supplied by the European Coworking Assembly. The ECA connects coworking with the ecosystem in which it finds itself: the growing entrepreneurial landscape that is Europe.
We are coworkers, coworking spaces, federations and alliances, and others dedicated to the values baked into the DNA of Coworking: Openness, Community, Collaboration, Accessibility, and Sustainability. Learn more at coworkingassembly.eu.