Dallas creatives launch local chapter of national freelancers union
Freelancers Union is a national non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, NY that promotes the interest of independent workers through advocacy, education, and by providing resources. The community aspect of Freelancers Union is SPARK, which are local monthly meetings hosted the first Wednesday of every month in over 20+ cities throughout the US for freelancers to connect with one another, pool resources, and help one another thrive in the community.
Dallas SPARK Leader Shawnee Leonard has been a member of Freelancers Union for a while now and with her involvement in the startup community (Dallas Entrepreneur Center, Techstars Startup Week Dallas, LAUNCH DFW), she figured now would be the perfect opportunity to get freelancers involved in the startup ecosystem. “Even with my current involvement in the startup community, I didn’t feel there was enough of a presence for people like me to connect with other like-minded folks because I’m not a part of the tech industry, blockchain, AR/VR, etc. There’s definitely some respectability politics involved when it comes to what is considered an “acceptable” startup & if you’re out of that realm, people will overlook you. I would like people who are outside the realms I listed to be more comfortable presenting themselves within the community.”
Dallas Freelancers Union SPARK hosted an interest meeting June 6th at Capital Factory + The DEC which consisted of a whiteboard session where attendees answered a set of questions regarding the current state of the local freelance community, what are the current needs/wants and where the leadership committee can help fill in the gaps. “Based on most of the feedback we’ve received (which was a lot), a good amount of the responses was revolved around the leadership committee helping cultivate and establish a freelancer community in the Dallas/Fort Worth area” states Leonard.
Dallas Freelancers Union SPARK’s leadership committee is solely made up of local freelancers:
Shawnee Leonard – SPARK Leader & Co-Organizer (Marketing Manager – Launch DFW, Editor in Chief – Moxie Brides Magazine)
Sarabeth Lewis– SPARK Leader & Co-Organizer (Copywriter, Lewis Commercial Writing)
Alexander Lewis – SPARK Marketing Lead (Copywriter, Lewis Commercial Writing)
Jeanette Smith – SPARK Community Lead (Writer, Editor, & Author – Jeanette The Writer)
The current plans for Dallas Freelancers Union SPARK are to develop local resources for local freelancers, collaborate with other community organizations, participate in next year’s Techstars Startup Week Dallas, and host additional social events/workshops outside the normal programming schedule that Freelancers Union provides to all SPARK groups across the US. The overall mission of this organization is to “…spread knowledge, stimulate change, challenge the status quo, and fostering an inclusive and supportive community.”
The organization is currently looking for sponsors, speakers, businesses that contract work out to freelancers, and more. You can get more information on their new website dallasfreelancersunionspark.com. They are also working on the logistics to launch a local #FreelanceIsntFree campaign for freelancers to bring awareness to the issue of non-payment from their clients. You can read more details about the legislation that New York passed as a result of this campaign on the Freelancers Union website. If you are interested in attending a workshop, the local chapter is hosting a Creative Content Marketing Strategies workshop with Content Marketer expert Lee Prescott August 1st from 6:30-8:30p at Capital Factory + The DEC. Register here to attend.
Dallas Freelancers Union SPARK hosts monthly workshops the first Wednesday of every month:
October 3rd – Freelancing Best Practices: Project Scoping & Setting Your Rates