Welcome to the Freelancers Society

Welcome to the Co-operative Freelancers Society.

This is a concept that Antony McMullen, Pete Cohen at RMIT FORWARD are incubating. As the name suggests, it is geared towards supporting people who are freelancers, or more broadly are not in a traditional single-employer type scenario.

Why we think this is important
Freelancers have a particular set of needs. They are selling their craft, whatever that may be, and need to balance both delivering value to clients as well as running their own business. And freelancers often don’t have the safety nets and support structures that come with traditional employment. The future of work is likely to be more fluid and more networked, so we anticipate an increasing need and opportunity to support freelancers.

Our ethos
We believe in strength through community and collaboration. We see Co-operative Freelancers Society as a way to bring together people who will collectively guide the organisation to be what it needs to be, evolving over time as it needs to. Any initiative needs to be financially sustainable, and those who put in the time to keeping it running need to be able to justify their ongoing commitment. However the goal isn’t to generate surplus profits.

How we will do this?
Co-operative Freelancers Society is a network of members. Everyone will contribute with a modest membership fee to cover the expenses, and will all contribute time, energy and engagement to support each other and share information. These contributions should not be massive or onerous. But equally, this won’t be a free ride. It is a genuine network where everyone plays a role. And we collectively have the opportunity to make sure that the benefits outweigh the costs.

What are the benefits?

  • Support from other freelancers, through dialogue with people who have share similar experiences.
  • Recommendations on products and services from the community, as one challenge of running your own business is knowing what to use or buy.
  • Group buying power, by leveraging our strength in numbers we will get deals on a range of things such as insurance, software products etc which members can optionally take advantage of.

Your chance to be part of shaping something new
This is the start, and we want this to be something that is co-created by the people who it is intended to benefit.

What happens now?
We will be running in a pilot mode for three months until December 2023 during which time there will be no membership fee payable. We’ll use that time to refine the value proposition and build up engagement with the community. We will also explore different levels of membership fee to hone in on what feels like the right balance. Then we vote with our feet - either enough people see the value and get on board as paid members, or we cease the experiment, or potentially pivot it to try a different approach.