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Episode 137: Freelancing in America with Rafael Espinal

In episode 137 we talk with Rafael Espinal, the Executive Director of Freelancers Union who is a huge supporter and advocate of freelancers and shares about navigating freelance life.

We cover information about just how important freelancers are to the U.S., potential threats that could impact freelancers negatively, how to navigate freelance life, and what we can do to make a difference!

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Guest Details

Connect with Freelancers Union
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Bio
Rafael is the new Executive Director of Freelancers Union. He has spent the first 6 months of his tenure focused on COVID19 relief for freelance workers. He played an instrumental role in ensuring the CARES Act included freelance workers for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Personally a foodie and advocate for food justice.

The Union represents 500K members across the country. With a mission to provide independent workers with a space to build community, advocacy and curated products that we believe benefit workers.

Takeaways

  • 57 million Americans reported to have freelanced sometime in 2019 alone. They contribute close to a trillion dollars to the country’s GDP.
  • The Freelancers Union want to be sure that the government is very aware of these numbers and plays an active role in supporting freelancers in various ways.
  • After the recession of 2008, there was a 12% increase in freelancers from 2008 up through 2019. Freelancers are uniquely prepared for a recession and things like a pandemic because they are used to dry periods in their work and hustling.
  • In the middle of the pandemic, 80% of freelancers reported to have lost income in the first 2-3 months and over 95% expected to continu8e to lose income throughout the year.
  • Freelancers Union knows its important to advocate at a federal level for freelancers. Unemployment insurance is one very important topic to them as well as advocate for a relief package from Congress on.
  • This organization was founded by a freelancer who believed that there should be an institution in place, helping to organize the freelance workforce, providing them with products and information that’s going to help make their freelance work easier. And also be a space in which a freelancers can begin communicating and building a larger community.
  • Check out Freelancers Union for different insurance products that freelancers needs to do their work, whether it be health insurance, accidental, life, disability, liability. We work with insurance companies that we believe offer the best product and at the best price point and you’ll find more resources on the site too.
  • Freelancers Union blog is updated with content that useful to freelancers that are in different stages of their career, whether you’re a beginner or you’re a seasoned veteran. They also offer guidance around filing taxes, offer guidance around legal issues.
  • Freelancers Union also created a space called Spark. It is our nationwide member meetup. And there are about 23 and 22 different cities across the country in which freelancers within those cities actually meet every month, offer workshops but it’s also a space to meet other member freelancers within your own city as well.
  • Freelancers Union created a freelance relief fund, and it’s hosted by our nonprofit working today, and a hundred percent of donations that come in go back into the hands of freelancers who have reported going through a tough financial situation because of the pandemic.

Resources Mentioned

Spark Events
Join Freelancers Union (free)

Looking to hire a freelancer?

Need some extra help with your blog? Learn how to find exceptional freelancers in episode #121 with Emily Perron.


Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself. Because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host. Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Food bloggers. Hey, if you have not yet joined the new, amazing Eat Blog Talk community, you have to go do it. You will find so much value inside, including connecting with other food bloggers in a much deeper way and having access to all kinds of exclusive value, such as bonus podcast episodes and mastermind groups, and a resources and service providers directory, and so much more. Go to Eatblogtalk.com for more information, and we cannot wait to see you inside. Okay, food bloggers, have you heard of Flodesk, the new big email marketing rage? This is an amazing new option for managing your email subscriber list. It is super easy to use and it comes with gorgeous, intuitive drag and drop templates. And Flodesk does not charge based on number of subscribers. So your monthly rate will stay the same from month to month. Everyone pays $38 a month or use my affiliate link to get 50% off and pay only $19 a month. You guys, this is a fraction of the price of other email service providers, and you’ll be blown away by the beautiful and intuitive templates waiting for you inside. Visit eatblogtalk.com/resources to grab your link. Flodesk, the stunning new option for email marketing.

What’s up food bloggers! Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast made for you. Food bloggers, taking value for your businesses and your lives. Today, I will be having a chat with Rafael Espinal from a Freelancer’s union.org. And we are going to talk about freelancing in America. Rafael is the Executive Director of freelancers union. He has spent the first six months of his tenure focused on COVID-19 relief for freelance workers. He played an instrumental role in ensuring the Cares Act included freelance workers for pandemic, unemployment assistance. Personally, a foodie and advocate for food justice. The union represents 500,000 members across the country with a mission to provide independent workers with a space to build community, advocacy and curated products that we believe benefit workers. Rafael. I’m really excited to chat with you about this topic today, but first give us a fun fact about yourself.

Rafael Espinal:

Wow. Right, right. Straight to it. Thank you. Thanks for having me. It’s really a pleasure. Since the audience are food bloggers, I would say, one of my biggest passions is I like making, uh, pizza . And I I’ve, uh, uh, put the work in to become an expert in making Neapolitan style pizza, which I cook in my wood fire oven in my backyard.

Megan Porta:

Oh, you have a wood fire oven in your backyard? Oh, that is amazing. So what tips do you have for us? Like, are there just some things that we need to know about cooking that style of pizza?

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah. I would say you keep it simple. It’s literally just flour, a little bit of yeast and water. Um, and uh, you know, once you get to the prop proportions, right. And you know, not focus on adding too much to the pizza, I think it comes out perfectly.

Megan Porta:

Oh, so you truly are a foodie and I love, I love your pizza focus. Everyone loves pizza, right?

Rafael Espinal:

Exactly.

Megan Porta:

Great fun fact. Well, let’s dig into the topic and why you’re here today. Freelancing. Um, you are Executive Director of Freelancer’s Union and you were advocating for freelancers to get the support and the advocacy and also the resources they need. This is super relevant for food bloggers, which is who we’re talking to today because a lot of us are freelancers ourselves and we also hire and work alongside freelancers of many varieties. So I would love it if you started out our chat just by talking through what freelancing in America currently looks like.

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah. So the union actually has worked over the past few years to survey members across the country, but also dig through data the IRS, uh, occasionally puts out to look at what freelancing in America looks like. And what we found is that 57 million Americans have reported to have freelanced, uh, at some point through 2019. Uh, so it’s a, it’s a workforce that, that’s large in numbers. It can, it also contributes, uh, close to a trillion dollars to the country’s GDP. Uh, so it’s also very powerful when it comes to, uh, the economic input and output that it produces. So we think it’s important that as a union, that government is very aware of these numbers and plays a more active role in supporting, uh, freelance workers in all different industries. Uh, we’ve also found that, uh, folks turn to freelancing for, for many different reasons. One, of course is flexibility of being able to work, uh, when it fits into your schedule, which is why we see a lot of, uh, let’s say parents, uh, make that switch from the traditional workforce to, uh, to freelancing. Uh, we also find that, uh, there are folks who have a specific skills that, and they believe that they can make more money if they move away from traditional employee employment and create their own Rolodex of work. And then that way they’re able to control their finances and, and work as much as they want to walk while creating more income for themselves. Uh, and I would say another important reason people turn to freelancing is because they have an entrepreneurial spirit and they want to build something, uh that’s that’s of their own. So that’s what we found. I mean, there’s more to that information, but I’m looking forward to talking about it throughout this conversation.

Megan Porta:

So freelancers are a really important part of our current world, right? I mean, I did not realize those numbers. $1 trillion, that’s a huge number and 57 million Americans have freelanced. And that was just in 2019, correct?

Rafael Espinal:

2019 alone, freelanced at some point throughout the year.

Megan Porta:

Wow. And all of the reasons you listed, I think are exactly why it appeals to us. Most of us have that entrepreneurial spirit. We want to do our own thing and we’re lifted up by those creative projects that we come up with on our own. And the flexibility, especially now with the COVID, you know, situation, like flexibility is so important now more than ever, because parents are having to stay home with their kids. And that has never been the case for them before. So I think that being a freelancer right now, as we’re speaking is super relevant and I can see those numbers going up even more, don’t you think?

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah, absolutely. And I would use the 2008 recession as an example. Uh, when the market crashed, uh, there was a 12% increase in the amount of freelancers from 2008 up until last year. Uh, and we saw a jump in the, in the earlier in 2010, when people decided to move away from traditional workforce and, and again, decided to take control of their own finances and create their own work.

Megan Porta:

So unemployment now, I don’t know the numbers or statistics on this, but you might in the time of COVID, I’m sure has gone up. Right? So how has that impacted how people have dove into freelancing?

Rafael Espinal:

Well, I would say that freelancers, um, are you, were uniquely prepared, uh, for a situation like this. One, because, uh, given the, the nature of the work, I believe freelancers are always preparing for months or the, in which there might be certain dry periods in the amount of work that they’re bringing in. Um, but of course, you know, the Covid is unique in itself because there is there’s there’s uncertainty on when, uh, there is going to be, um, uh, an increase in the amount of jobs that are available. Uh, you know, because of the shutdowns that have happened, has really, uh, created a, a lot of uncertainty when it comes to employment, you know, across the board. Uh, and we saw, you know, surveying our own members that, uh, in the, in the height of the pandemic, about 80% of freelancers have reported, uh, to have lost income in the first two or three months, uh, and, and ex, and over 95% expected to continue to lose income throughout the rest of the year. Uh, so we were, we became very concerned early on about, you know, while freelancers are, are, are, are resilient and prepared to take on any challenges when it comes to finding work and produce an income for themselves. The uncertainty of when, when the overall economy is going to come back and help produce the, the jobs is what concerned us. And we thought it was important early on to advocate on a federal level that any, any sort of relief package that comes on down the pipe includes freelance workers. Which is why we saw unemployment insurance as being one of those, one of the, one of those important, uh, benefits, uh, especially with, especially with the other loans that small businesses are receiving like the paycheck protection program and the, uh, uh, economic disaster loans. Uh, you know, we also ensure that independent contractors were able to qualify for those programs as well, because we understood that there was going to be the largest safety net, uh, that workers were going to have to depend on, uh, to get them through these months where no unemployment is that, is that at a hightest. Uh, so, you know, I would say that, you know, we, we will, we continue to stay focused on that. Congress gets back, Congress gets back to work from their mini vacation, uh, this week. Um, and we’re going to push them on, on ensuring that any, any relief that comes forward continues to include freelance workers. Uh, so that, so that when, so that, until we know that the economy is bouncing back, uh, you know, there was a safety net in place.

Megan Porta:

Because I feel like freelancers are a little bit underrated. Don’t you think? I feel like if, you work for, in a corporate setting, you’re kind of covered as far as like going through a pandemic like this. The government has your back, right? But when you’re a freelancer, it’s just like, you’re kind of out there. And we expect that as freelancers, we know this. So I loved your statistic about 95% of freelancers expected to lose income in 2020. We just kind of expect that tumultuous situation because that’s our life. We, were not used to being backed in any way. So I like that you are advocating for that and saying to Congress, hello, freelancers need protection too, because we have real, valid jobs. And we contribute a lot to society as well.

Rafael Espinal:

Absolutely. And freelancers are going to play a very instrumental role in the bounce back of our economy. You know, as we know, you know, bigger corporations and smaller businesses, depend on, on independent workers to come in and help them and help them get back up and we’ll help, we’ll help them come back up and running once the economy starts to bounce back. You know, I think the, the, the, the, the, uh, the fact that freelancers freelance workers are so fluid and, and, uh, and are available when needed, uh, it’s, it’s an add an added bonus, not a plus. And I think Congress should pay attention to the importance of supporting that workforce.

Megan Porta:

Hmm. I love that you backed that and yeah, you’re right. A lot of freelancers are, I think you used the word resilient, and we’re really adaptable as well. We can just take on multiple projects of any varieties. So I, I just love that you’re supporting this. So talk to us about potential threats to freelancers because you in your interview notes mentioned threats such as I don’t, I’m not familiar with these, but AB five and the ProAct. Can you talk to us a little bit about those?

Rafael Espinal:

Definitely. Uh, it’s, it’s actually probably one of the biggest conversation within, within the freelance world, outside from, uh, the pandemic, uh, because, uh, the AB five law, which passed in California, uh, about, about a year ago, and it took into effect a few months ago, has really dried up, uh, any of the opportunities that freelance writers specifically, uh, were, were, were, uh, were made available to them, um, uh, because a law, which goes after misclassification, uh, required for writers, um, to be classified as, as employees of the businesses that we’re writing for. Uh, and if not, then they can only contribute 35 pieces of material, uh, to the publication a year. Uh, creating a lot, a lot of concern with within the industry, because as we know, writers, uh, um, writers work, you know, the nuggets of what I’m trying to say, the law, the way the law is written, if you are contributing to, to a, to a company whose sole purpose is to produce a certain type of content, and you’re the person creating that content, then you have to be classified as a worker of that business. So if you’re a writer and you’re, if you’re, if you’re writing stories for the New York Times, for example, uh, the New York Times would have to hire you as a, as a part time worker. Uh, but if you are writing uh contents for a, a food company that needs copy for their website, then they’re able to hire you as, as a freelancer. Um, and that’s created a lot of confusion within California about who would be, have to be cool, would have to classify as a worker who would have to be classified as a freelancer. Can you continue freelancing? The wage traditionally have been over the years, uh, and because of that, a lot of freelance writers have lost their work over the past few months, pre pandemic. Uh, an ex and I expect to continue losing work, uh, post pandemic. Uh, so the, the, the ProAct, which is the federal version of the AB 5 bill in California will encapture the entire country. Uh, so workers in every state, uh, freelance workers in every state, uh, would be limited to the type of work they can do and what industries they be able to work for. Um, and, and industries and companies will be limited to hiring freelancers to doing the traditional work they’ve been doing over the years. So we want to ensure that any federal law that moves forward, uh, has the, has exemptions and has the correct language to ensure that real professional freelancers that do it as a profession, uh, would be able to continue doing work they have been, but, but the law will be able to capture those companies that are misclassifying workers in order to dodge pro providing them all of the social safety nets that traditional workers receive.

Megan Porta:

Oh, yikes, that’s kind of scary. Do you anticipate the ProAct being passed, or what are your thoughts?

Rafael Espinal:

So, one of the big concerns is that the ProAct actually, uh, passed the House of Representatives, um, overwhelmingly. The Senate has not taken on the issue as of yet. And we think it’s as important now, more than ever for freelancers and all industries to get involved in this conversation, uh, to ensure that the Senate, uh, takes those issues into account and makes necessary changes to the bill, uh, before it’s passed into law. Uh, California, I would say, uh, uh, just most recently, just last week, uh, passed amendments to the bill, uh, to ensure that writers are, are, are exempted. And they don’t, and they’re not facing the challenge that they faced earlier, earlier in the year. Uh, so we want to ensure that any of those exemptions that California put in, put in recently, uh, is taking into account in the, in the federal level. So, uh, it, it has passed, has passed the House of Representatives. So there is momentum and it could potentially pass the Senate. And I think our job now is to ensure that the right changes are made. So no, professional freelancers aren’t, aren’t caught up and hurt at the end of the day.

Megan Porta:

Yeah. And this affects writers, you mentioned, but does it affect other freelancers as well?

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah, well, yeah, a lot of, a lot of different industries that affects writers, musicians, uh, healthcare workers, um, pretty much, um, pretty much every industry is affected. Uh, and, and it’s, it’s, it’s a law, it’s a law that was created with the intention of making sure that companies are not misclassifying workers. Uh, but the unintended consequences that freelancers are getting caught up in the mix.

Megan Porta:

So what can we do? Is there anything we can do to assist this issue along in the right way? Or, I mean, it’s just kind of hard to sit back and, and be like, okay, this is what’s happening. Is there something that we can do?

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah. I mean, the most important thing I would say that freelancers can do, is reach out to their US Senators and their state, uh, write them an email, give a, give a phone call to their office and express that you have concerns with the ProAct, the way it’s currently written, and that you will like to see changes into the bill to ensure that professional freelancers are not caught up uh, uh, in any of the unintended consequences of the bill. Uh, and that California has, has been a prime example of what can happen on a federal on, on a, on a national level of the, if the right exemptions are not written into the bill. Uh, we, as the Union, uh, have to put up information on our website, you can go onto our blog. Uh, One to find who, who your US Senator is, but also, uh, find, uh, I guess the concerns that have been brought up by our freelancers in California as well.

Megan Porta:

I mean, we always think that if we reach out to our Senators that it’s not going to make an impact, but for sure it will, right. I mean, if enough people do it, they’re going to see it over and over and hear us. And I think there’s nothing to lose from doing that. And it can give us peace of mind as well, that we’ve contributed a little bit to the cause. So I like that you recommended that. And also just making sure, like you mentioned Rafael to reference what happened in California so that they have kind of have a frame of reference, like it’s already happened there. So, we don’t want this to continue. I would love it. If you talked to us a little bit more about your website, Freelancers Union. I was on there this morning, looking through it, and there are so many great resources and it’s such a well put together website. So I would love it if you just talked us through, like, what ways do you provide support for freelancers and how do you advocate and how can we utilize your services?

Rafael Espinal:

Sure. So let me just start by saying that Freelancer’s Union has been around for 25 years. This year is our 25th anniversary. And it’s an organization that was founded by a freelancer who believed that there should be an institution in place, uh, organizing freelance, the freelance workforce, uh, providing them with, with products and, and information that’s going to help make their freelance work easier. And also be a space in which a freelancers can, can begin communicating and building a larger community. You know, as we know, because we’re independent workers, it’s much harder. It’s much tougher to build that comraderie, uh, that office space camaraderie that traditional workers have. By the union creating this space, it’s been a, it’s been a driver for, you know, productive conversations about, uh, uh, information that’s been conducive to, to individuals businesses. Uh, so I implore you to go on our website, freelancers.org, uh, what you’ll find there is many different insurance products that freelancers needs to do their work, whether one, whether it be health insurance, uh, two, it can be other types like, like accidental, uh, life, disability, liability. And, uh, we will, we do is work with insurance companies that we believe offer the best product and at the best price points, uh, for, for freelance workers. Uh, to what you also find is resources. Uh, for example, one that I just mentioned earlier is our blog. Our blog, uh, is, is updated with content that we believe is is going to be useful to freelancers that are in different stages of their career, whether you’re a beginner or you’re a seasoned veteran, uh, there’s information there that will help you, uh, do your work, uh, you know, a lot better. Uh, we also offer guidance around filing taxes, uh, offer guidance around legal issues. You might have, for example, a client’s not keeping up their end of their contract. And we also, uh, offer a space called, called our spark. It’s called our spark program. And what spark is, is our nationwide member meetup. And there, there about 23 and 22 different cities across the country in which freelancers within those cities actually meet every, every, every month at the beginning of the month. And we are able as a Union to funnel information that and workshops and, uh, that we believe is it helpful to individual freelancer, but it’s also a space for you to meet freelancers within your own city as well, who are members of the union. So, you know, I would say that across the board, the information we have, uh, really helps address a lot of the issues that freelancers in all different stages of their career, uh, will find valuable. Um, and, and of course the, the, the, the, the, one of the most important points is when you become a member, uh, we begin unifying, uh, the freelance voice across the country and, and, and allow for the unions to be, become a stronger advocate for your issues on local state and federal issues. Like, like the AB five and the ProAct.

Rafael Espinal:

I love the quote you just said, we began unifying the freelance voice across the country. I think, uh, yeah, we all feel that, that’s such a powerful line. And I just have one quick question for you about, um, being, um, becoming a member of freelancer’s union. Is it free?

Rafael Espinal

Yes, it’s free. One hundred percent.

Megan Porta:

Okay. And it sounds like you guys have done so much of the legwork as far as like figuring out health insurance and taxes and all of those things that kind of stress, stress us out, honestly, that we don’t always want to spend time figuring out because it’s kind of a vague world, like, who am I? I don’t really work for anyone. So how do I even get started? I’ve heard so many people say, what do you have for health insurance? I have no idea where to start. So you guys have taken care of a lot of that for us. And it looks like it’s just re I mean, there’s so much in your website. I’m looking through there right now, and it’s such a great resource. You mentioned the spark location, the spark meetings, how great. I don’t see my city in here. Is there any way to request a city?

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah, absolutely. Uh, so the best, the best way to get a city on the list is, uh, uh, if someone in the city, uh, uh, volunteers to be a spark leader. Um, we want you to become a leader, if you have the time, Megan, uh, but if there’s anyone out there listening, you know, from your city, uh, we encourage you to send us an email, a request to be a spark leader, and our union would work with you closely and giving you the content, uh, to host the meeting, uh, at the beginning of every month.

Megan Porta:

Cool. And I see this quote on here that I just love to you have it at the bottom of your spark page. And it’s, it looks like it’s from Matt Nelson and I love it. He says, I finally have work friends. And like, I feel like we all could really relate to that because we work alone and we have these lonely jobs being an entrepreneur, and a freelancer is exciting in so many ways, but I mean, the truth is we are really lonely. So having work friends, I think that will appeal to so many people listening. And then his quote says, “after years of working solo from home, I finally have a community.” Uh, we all want that. So, great stuff here on the website. If you guys go to freelancersunion.org, check it out. It is really so valuable. Okay. Rafael, is there anything else, as far as like digging into your website, that food bloggers listening might find really valuable that we haven’t talked about?

Rafael Espinal:

Um, you know, I there’s, there’s a lot there from, from financial tools or how to manage your taxes to, uh, learning how to deal with client non-payments. Uh, so really I employ everyone just to, just to go on and look at, uh, you know, what, what will work best for them, but I think we try to cover a lot of those issues. And if you feel we can expand on that role is open to figure out how we can be most helpful. Uh, but I would say, you know, if you’re someone with the means, uh, one of the, one of the important, uh, efforts we took on recently, uh, was, is raising money for members who are going through tough financial times. Uh, we created a, a free, a freelance relief fund, and it’s actually hosted by our, by our nonprofit working today, and a hundred percent of donations that come in, uh, go back into the hands of freelancers, uh, who have reported going through a tough financial situation because of the pandemic.

Megan Porta:

I’m glad you pointed that out. Um, I noticed just browsing through here that you do webinars. So like you call them freelance happy hours. I think that’s such a great idea. Such a great way to talk about a topic, but also get people together online, and now is the perfect time to get people together online. Right. So that’s an another cool thing inside of here. So what advice do you have for food bloggers and other people listening who are in that world of freelancing? Do you have a couple bits of advice for us because you obviously are immersed in this world in some capacity?

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah. I mean, I think, I think we all, we all know that because of the pandemic, the amount of work is limited because of how high unemployment is. Uh, there are people who are looking for different opportunities. So I think this is now the time to best position yourself, you know, uh, uh, start focusing on upskilling, uh, diversifying, uh, the publications you’re writing for. Or the issue you’re, you’re covering that way. You can continue growing, uh, your, your, your own offerings and you continue being resilient.

Megan Porta:

We both mentioned the word resilient a couple of times, because freelancers are just known for being that way, but hopefully we can get through this trying time without letting it sink us and staying above water a little bit. Is there anything that we’ve missed talking about? I feel like we went through our notes really fast, but I feel like you’re also a wealth of information. So let me know if there’s something else that you would like to cover on this topic.

Rafael Espinal:

Um, you know, we, we, uh, if you’re, if you’re in New York specifically, but we’re doing this on a national level, um, or we’re working on getting this on a national level, we actually have a freelancer’s hub that’s sponsored by, by the city of New York. And it’s a, it’s one originally started as a physical space, free coworking space for freelancers. Um, and within that space, we host, uh, webinars and training programs, uh, to provide, you know, freelancers with, with, with programs and information, uh, that that would help them, uh, expand on, on their work. So a lot of that programming has, has been expanded online. Uh, so we, we do give free programming through Instagram, through zoom, through all the other tele, telecommunication, uh, platforms. Uh, so I encourage you even if you don’t live in the city, because we have gone virtual, uh, to look at all of those different programs that we offer and, and, and, uh, see the, the topic that works for you. It covers everything from wellness activities to help you deal with the stress of our current situation and beyond, uh, to possibly, you know, upskilling on your own profession. Uh, so, and also, we also hold legal clinics quarterly, uh, through the freelancers hub, uh, which gives you direct access to a lawyer, uh, to help you navigate any sort of legal issues you’re encountering.

Megan Porta:

Oh, that’s a great feature, the legal clinics. That’s another topic that we don’t always like to talk about or dive into, because it’s, you know, it’s not always the creative flow that we get into. It’s like the other opposite end of the spectrum, but what do you like, what is included in those clinics? So you have access to a lawyer. What can you, just like ask any question you have or how does it work?

Rafael Espinal:

So free, free access, just one on one conversation with, with the lawyer that is knowledgeable on freelancer issues. And it’s mostly catered to writers and others in the creative and media industries. So, um, uh, you know, I encourage everyone to look at, you know, what, what, what, uh, what issues they help cover. I mean, it’s everything from contracts, uh, to any issues you might have with your taxes, uh, you know, information on how to tighten your own contract you’re probably already using, uh, with clients. So it really covers issues across the board that I would say, uh, writers and bloggers are.

Megan Porta:

Is that for New York residents only,

Rafael Espinal:

Well, that program is currently for New York residents only, but, uh, we are as a Union are, understand how important it has been to our members and how popular it is. So we’re working to expand it nationally, hopefully by early next year, we’ll be able to do that.

Megan Porta:

Cool. Well, I think everyone should go reach out to their Senators and just talk about this. This is an issue that is going to affect all of us if certain legislation is passed. So, um, it’s very important to do that, and I just really appreciate you taking the time to be here today. Rafael, thank you so much.

Rafael Espinal:

It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Megan Porta:

Yes. So we will put together a show notes, just kind of going through everything that we’ve talked about today, we’ll include the links to freelancers union. And if anyone wants to go check those out, you can find those at eatblogtalk.com/freelancersunion. Before we go, Rafael, I like to ask my guests if they have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration for food bloggers or entrepreneurs.

Rafael Espinal:

Yeah. Um, I w I would take it back to one of my, one of my favorite quotes, and I think I’ve used it on my entire life. Uh, and, and it comes from an SAS and a poet, a writer named Henry David Thoreau. And it’s simply that, “simplify, simplify, simplify.” And I think that we get caught up in complicating things that, uh, if we’re able to take a step back and look at how we simplify, whether it be our business model, uh, what we’re offering, that we’re able to really kind of focus on, on perfecting what, what we offer and create at the end of the day, creating a better product. Um, I think we see great companies, big, large corporations, like Apple, for example, that are experts at this. And I think that that advice can definitely be a valuable tool to a freelancer.

Megan Porta:

I, yeah, we tend to think that the more complicated we make things that the better that is, but I love that you said Apple, because as you were talking, I was thinking of Apple, how simple their messaging and everything, their advertising, everything is so simple. But it’s one of the most effective companies when it comes to marketing. Right? So it’s like, if they can do it in such a powerful way, then we should probably be doing it to. Love it. And Henry David Thoreau, I don’t think I’ve had anyone quote him yet on this podcast. So I love that you brought his name. That’s great. Well, Rafael, we’ve talked about this a little bit, but I always like to reiterate, where can my listeners find you online?

Rafael Espinal:

Well, you can find the union online at freelancersunion.org, and we also have a Twitter and Instagram, Facebook account, which is simply Freelancers Union. And you’d be like to follow me directly uh, I’m at RLEspinaljr now across all those different platforms.

Megan Porta:

So tell me again. Okay. So on Instagram freelanceru. Okay. I found you freelancersu. You okay. And just the letter U. Got it. Cool. Well, thanks again for being here, Rafael, and thank you for listening today Food bloggers. I will see you next time.

We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head, to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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