The independent workforce — a freelance army of consultants and get-it-done solopreneurs from a variety of fields — has been growing in the wake of the pandemic, courtesy of layoffs and downsizing companies.
Now, with The Freelance Conference, independent-minded business owners have a chance to join others working solo. It’s a free virtual event, scheduled for Freelance Business Week, Sept. 14-18. There will be networking opportunities and panel discussions for freelancers in all industries nationwide, in addition to a national panel on diversity and inclusion in the freelance industry, according to a statement. Cities that have signed up include Austin, Miami and Buffalo, and Emily Leach, founder of The Freelance Conference and the FBW concept, will guide each host city.
Tampa-based independent communications consultants Kevin Bakewell and Paula MacDonald are helping bring the conference to the region. One core focus of the conference, MacDonald says, is to confirm and enhance freelancer’s place in the business world and Corporate America, which is only more pressing during the pandemic. According to the Freelancers Union, some 57 million Americans performed freelance work in 2019, representing 35% of the U.S. workforce — a number expected to grow in 2020.
“I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that freelance and independent practitioners are any less professional than in-house or agency partners because they work from home,” MacDonald says in the statement. “As we’ve learned with the coronavirus pandemic, working productively from home is not only possible, it is, in many cases, preferable.”
To register for the conference, go to 2020.freelancebusinessweek.com