I started a thread in another group about how freelancers market themselves and this turned into a payment issue. So I thought I'd address the concern directly. This issue is bigger than just freelancers getting paid.
I am passionate about our industry and many issues strike a cord with me, this being one of them. Everyone seems to have their own rules for payment regardless of the law and no one wants to speak up about it for fear of loosing their revenue streams.
This is a very political debate and it's difficult not to come across without sounding like the Judean People's Front or the People's Front of Judea. (Life of Brian fans will know what I'm talking about) Sitting around talking about stuff and not actually acting on the issues.
Get comfy, I feel a long blog coming on! (Can I say "long blog coming on" ?)
Anyway, let me tell you a story...it's relevant. Quite a few years ago a company I was contracting at decided to create an 'A' list of freelancers. These freelancers would be offered all the contract jobs before any others, they'd get paid on 2 weeks and in return they would have to reduce their daily rate.
More work less pay . . . less pay, more work! Decision time for them.
A lot of them asked my opinion. I said if you DON'T accept the reduced rate the 'A' list or just 'list' will still be in place and they will still call you when the work comes up. The only factor is that everyone needs to make the same decision.
What happened? They all accepted the offer and reduced their rate. The two week payment deal lasted about two weeks and went back to 30 days (or longer) and they all ended up exactly where they were but at a lower rate. Freelancers on the 'B' list got just as much work due to 'A' list staff being unavailable but they recieved normal rates.
They all thought of themselves and not the bigger picture (as I advised) where strength in numbers would have won for them.
I'm not a union man but I do believe that strength in numbers counts for something. (Maybe I am !)
As an example; all venues charge payment up front. If one major venue changed their payment policy then the break in the chain would undermine the whole venue payment procedure. That'll never happen, they know better.
While we remain in competition with each other we are also suppliers to each other and industrial friends, so surely we can do something together about this. Parts of our industry adhere to this method already so why can't we all adopt it.
Another step forward and possibly into the s***. Our industry has many confederations, institutions and associations. They all have high membership fees and volunteer directors.
"Volunteer Directors!" . . . what's in it for them?
A bit of you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours I think!
I know some of these people and some are my friends so I'm not going any further but whatever they are trying to do for the industry is either not good enough or it hasn't reached the front line yet.
So if that's not working, what will.
I am going on a bit but there is a point to all this. This next bit is not a plug for a event junction.
In 2001 I started a website, primarily a directory for 'events' freelancers but in the development I decided not to limit it and opened it up to any business that had an events offering. It had over 2000 international members and the idea was to eventually create a 'class' or an 'alliance' of business's that adhered to a code of conduct, that agreed to standards. It costed me too much in effort and finances to keep it going and for little return. It ended for what I think are two main reasons.
1) It was pre - Facebook, LinkedIn, social networking etc and I don't think we were ready for that type of online self-promotion.
2) People are wary for things that are free. What's the catch? they ask. When I explained what its all about, "great" they say "that's just what I/we need". . . and then they do nothing about it.
Some peoples talk is not always the line they walk.
So I backed Event Junction from it's conception onwards. It has the same offering and much more. Networking, directory, jobs, groups, blogs etc. Just what the present day social, political & marketing person needs.
I say all of this because maybe EJ could be a platform to start such a network. A alliance of members to strike an agreement and set their own new terms of business.
This all sounds a bit 'Martin Luther King' having a dream but, everything has to start somewhere. The more people that join this principal, the stronger it gets and the more it will become 'standard practice'.
So make a start, get yourself registered in there,list your business in the directory and use that portal for your events communications. Start a group, raise the issues, rally the people and move forward from there.
As it grows, I know they want to start hosting face2face networking events, some for fun and some for issues. None of that left handed hand shakes and winking, just straight talking with like minded passionate professional who want to lead a change.
So don't sit around waiting for 'one day' to happen.
I'm marching around my lounge with big fists in the air . . . I'm looking for my hammer and sickle !
But seriously . . .everyone feels the same way but no one does anything about it. I'm ready to help take the next step but this can really be actioned by industry desion makers and people in a position to enforce these demands. These people must do more than just talk about it because if you only talk about it, it just comes across as moaning.