Leave no one behind is one of our values here at Hectic, but why? If freelance is such an accessible type of work, what’s the importance of making sure no one gets left behind in the process? Wouldn’t it be on the individual to not get “left behind” if they are their own boss? Well, yes, and no.
Take a minute to Google “best books for freelancers” and check out photos of the authors. Comb through a freelance marketplace and consider how similar everyone looks. Clearly, valuing diverse thoughts, identities, and experiences in freelancing is not a priority.
What many fail to realize is that it can actually be a huge benefit. One study alone found that 20-35% of entrepreneurs have dyslexia despite the lack of such representation in freelance. We might even be ignoring talented freelancers simply because of how they look, where they come from, or who they are. On an episode of The Hectic Podcast, Anthony Sills talks about how many people of color freelance, but it’s common for their freelancing to be dismissed as a “little business” or not a viable career choice.
The reality is that we live in a world that is full of hurdles and barriers for people from marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds, even in freelance. Many people with marketable skills feel like they can’t get into freelancing for several reasons:
With all of these facts in mind, let’s take a deeper look at why Hectic values leaving no one behind in freelance.
So maybe we don’t mean “freelance is for everyone” in the most literal sense. Some people genuinely need and enjoy the structure and routine of a 9 to 5 job. What we do mean though is that there is an opportunity for accessibility in freelance that often does not exist in other fields. With the right support and guidance, anyone with a skill and a dream can freelance. We will shout this from the rooftops over and over again until anyone who needs to hear it does.
If freelance is for everyone, then it means that we must value and support everyone; it means valuing freelancers of different races, socioeconomic statuses, cultures, and genders. If we don’t support, encourage, and listen to freelancers from marginalized and underrepresented communities then freelancing will be no different than the homogenous workplaces that we all left. Which takes us to the next reason why Hectic is working to leave no one behind in freelance.
Many of us might have left our day jobs because we got tired of doing the same thing during each shift and hearing the same opinions and ideas day in and day out became nightmarish. We sought out freelance because there was freedom in it. Freedom to think for and be ourselves. Those are likely the same reasons why freelancers from marginalized and underrepresented communities took the leap as well, but for them, freelance means getting to have their voices and opinions be heard in a way that they might not have been in their traditional jobs (check out BlackFreelance for more on this topic).
We value leaving no one behind because diverse thought and experiences from freelancers is not only an asset, but a necessity.
One of the beautiful things about freelance is that your work can be helpful for a wide range of clients if you are intentional about understanding the needs of who you are serving. For my fellow freelancers from underrepresented communities, this means that our work can resonate with and support people who look and have experiences like us; people who often get overlooked when it comes to getting access to freelance and contract work.
Diversity in freelance expands who gets served, how they get served, and the quality of the services we provide. We value diversity in freelance because as Gabriela Dittrichova notes, it brings new perspectives to the work. The more we have diverse perspectives and backgrounds in freelance, the more clientele we can serve and serve well. On top of that, the more we value and support freelancers from diverse backgrounds, the more we can remind them that they deserve to succeed too, no matter what the world has told them or shown them in the past.
The workplace is changing. With that change comes the opportunity for us as freelancers to be more inclusive and supportive. We have the chance to forge a path for current and future freelancers from diverse backgrounds to feel heard, valued, and supported in the work that they do. We value leaving no one behind because we see the potential for equity and diversity in the freelance world.
If you’re wanting to live your best bossless life, you should get to do so while your background is valued and seen as an asset and not a burden or barrier. Your identities and experiences matter. They have the potential to influence your clients in ways that you might not even realize yet.
Without marginalized and underrepresented communities present, the table is lacking. The more room we make at the table for individuals from marginalized and underrepresented communities, the better off we are as a freelancing community. At the end of the day, we understand the challenges that come with being a freelancer and we want to make sure that everyone gets a seat at the table to experience solutions to those problems.
Freelance is a growing industry. As it grows, it is our responsibility to ensure that marginalized voices, experiences, and freelancers are not pushed to the side as they have been historically in professional contexts. Enriching the culture of freelance means embracing diverse thought and experience. The more we prioritize this value, the better off the freelance world will be in the long run. <tweet-link>We have the opportunity to shape how the freelance world treats and values freelancers from marginalized/underrepresented communities. We are all capable of making sure that we leave no one behind as we exist in the world of freelance.<tweet-link>