Gig-Work Girls: Tips and Tricks for Freelancing Females
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More women than ever are choosing to work for themselves. But what’s the catch?
Freelance jobs can be appealing for a lot of reasons–they allow for flexible hours, the freedom to pursue multiple career paths, and the option for part-time work. If you can do it, moving into gig-based work can be an amazing opportunity.
But for women in the workplace, there’s a lot more to it than that. There’s the snarky coworker who’s always making comments about the number of calories in your salad. There are the meetings where you’re the only woman in the room, you say something, and everyone continues as if you hadn’t said anything. In more cases than we like to admit, there’s unchecked harassment, the wage gap, long hours, and, of course, mansplaining. And we all read that article about how offices are too cold.
It’s no surprise that, in the age of the gig economy, more women than ever are choosing to work for themselves. But just as being a part of the corporate workforce comes with its own unique set of challenges for women and female-identifying individuals, so does freelancing– so we compiled this list of the most common issues faced by female gig-workers, and their most practical solutions.
Don’t be shy about setting your rates.
There is still a wage gap between genders, and this is especially true in freelancing professions, where pay rate is significantly more variable and negotiation skills fall on the worker and not the company that they’re representing.
Don’t let yourself get pigeon-holed.
Yes, you are a female freelancer. No, that does not mean that your only interests are in event-planning and design. If that’s where your interests are, great–but if they’re not, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t read a data set or be a financial consultant. You and only you know what your skill set is–practice your pitch, call out the nonsense, and do your best work.
Plan ahead financially.
Are you planning to have a child in the future? Is your birth control covered by your insurance? What about therapy and medical specialists? As a freelancer, you might not have access to insurance, paid maternity leave, or a wealth of other expensive resources typically covered by employers. Don’t get caught off guard. And if you do, make sure you’re banking with Oxygen, so that you can apply for access to instant credit*.
Despite the fact that more women freelance than men, freelancing is a male-dominated world, and clients tend to think men are better at their jobs than their female counterparts. Networking provides facetime with potential clients, and when you do a good job with someone, they’ll spread the word and become your strongest advocate. And while gender-bias is a global phenomenon that is going to take a lot of work to get through, getting your name out via word-of-mouth and meaningful connections is definitely a leg up in the field.