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Legislative advocacy: The policies behind getting independents paid with Rafael Espinal

Did you know that 84% of independent business owners think that there should be more government resources and financial assistance to support them? The current government infrastructure makes it difficult for us not only to build but also to protect our business. 

In this episode, Rafael Espinal, president of the Freelancers Union, joins us to share how we can become fierce advocates for our businesses through legislative advocacy.

Today’s conversation is only the beginning. We will be partnering with the Freelancers Union to host a meetup at the South by Southwest event next year. We are so excited to join forces to help secure a better future for independent business owners.

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Rafael’s journey from independent creative to President of the Freelancers Union

Rafael was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he still lives today. He knew from a young age that he was creative and he dreamed of being a filmmaker. Along with that dream came the realization that he would probably have to do independent work to make it happen.

Rafael’s life took an unexpected path after he graduated from college and ended up running for political office. At age 26, he became a New York State Assembly Member, and he took a meeting with the Freelancers Union to discuss a bill that would expand the rights of independent workers. His work with the union resulted in passing the nation’s first Freelance Isn’t Free Act in the city of New York. 

The biggest challenges affecting independent business owners today

The Freelancers Union surveys its 500,000 members throughout all 50 states in America, and these are the biggest challenges that they report have to do with health insurance.

Health insurance is too expensive. Many people who want to freelance do not want to leave their 9-5 jobs because they would lose their benefits. Those who do freelance and buy health insurance from the marketplace report that it’s one of their biggest expenses.

The Freelancers Union offers a partnership with Galileo, a telehealth company that offers medical services through an app. If you’re a member of the union, you can get Galileo services for a reduced rate.

The next challenge that freelancers face is getting paid for their work. The Freelancers Union toolkit released the following data:

  • 70% of freelancers face nonpayment and the impact on their personal life can be devastating. 
  • Freelancers reported they took the following actions:
    • 44% relied on credit cards 
    • 25% borrowed money from family & friends 
    • 17% took a job outside of their field
    • 7% received government assistance
    • 7% sold a car or other item 
  • Nearly 28% of freelancers say they always use a contract. 

Without proper regulations in place, it’s easy for freelancers to be exploited. A big part of the problem is that the organizations that contract freelancers are not held accountable when they fail to pay.

The Freelancers Union is working to proliferate the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, which creates a 30-day payment standard, across the country in order to protect all independent business owners.

In five years since the law was passed in New York City, 3000 claims have been filed for independent businesses and $2.9 million has been recovered for freelancers. Check out the full five year report

The process of getting a Freelance Isn’t Free Act passed

As we mentioned in the intro, most freelancers don’t think the government offers them enough resources or financial assistance. Recent reports also show that there are 60 million Americans who are independent workers, and 64% of freelancers believe that the government does not do enough to improve access to the limited resources and assistance that is available to them. 

The Freelancers Union is trying to change these statistics by getting Freelance Isn’t Free laws passed all around the country. Here’s what the law ensures:

  1. Clients must pay freelancers within 30 days, or they will be fined.
  2. If the client still does not pay after being fined, they can be taken to small claims court.
  3. The freelancer can present a letter from the city or state acknowledging that the client has not been responsive, which will cause the judge to rule in the freelancer’s favor.
  4. After the judge rules in the freelancer’s favor, the client will owe damages.
  5. The client is responsible for attorney fees incurred through the process.

The purpose of the law is to make it clear to clients that the easiest thing to do is pay freelancers on time, otherwise, they will have to go through a time-consuming and expensive legal process.

How you can get involved with the Freelancers Union

The Freelancers Union is free to join, and they offer several beneficial resources on their website and through their newsletter. They also facilitate monthly meetups around the country to help freelancers build community. 

Along with joining the union, you can make a difference by voting in local elections and making your voice heard by your local officials.

How freelancers can protect themselves better

Only 28% of freelancers report using a contract to clearly outline their agreements with their clients. Failing to write the terms of work or terms of pay opens you up to being exploited by clients. 

Here’s how you can protect yourself:

  1. Create contracts for your work using templates from HoneyBook or the Freelancers Union
  2. Clearly scope out your work
  3. Include milestones for payment
  4. Ask for a deposit on the front end of the project 

Some companies will send you their own contract; however, it’s important for freelancers to remember that they can negotiate the contract and ask for revisions to it.

The biggest differentiator between businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Rafael believes that the biggest differentiator between businesses that succeed and the ones that fail is resilience and resourcefulness. Make sure clients can find you online and can easily access a portfolio of your best work.

Important sections of the conversation:

  • [2:06] Rafael’s journey from politics to union president
  • [4:28] The biggest challenge facing freelancers today
  • [10:20] Passing the Freelance Isn’t Free Act
  • [16:18] How to get involved in advocacy
  • [19:26] Protecting yourself as a freelancer
  • [24:34] The biggest differentiator between businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Resources Mentioned

Connect with the guest

Episode Transcript

Akua Konadu
84% of independent business owners think that there should be more government resources and financial assistance to support them. It’s clear with the current government infrastructure that it makes it really difficult for us to not only build but also protect our business. So now more than ever, it is vital that we come together to advocate for policies that protect the rights of independent business owners. So how can we get started? How exactly can we better equip ourselves to protect our business? Well, that is where Rafael Espinal comes in. And he is the president of the Freelancers union, which is a nonprofit organization, serving as a support system for independence through advocacy, education and surfaces. Raphael will share with us how we can become fierce advocates for our business. And this conversation is just the beginning, we will be partnering with the Freelancers union and hosting a meetup at the South by Southwest event next year. And we are so excited to join forces to help secure a better future for independent business owners. Now let’s get into the episode. Hey, everyone, this is your host Akua konadu. And you’re listening to the independent business podcast, more people than ever are working for themselves and building profitable businesses in the process. So on this show, I get to sit down with some of the most influential authors, entrepreneurs and creators to break down the science of self made success so that you can achieve it too.

Akua Konadu
Hello, Rafael, how are we doing?

Rafael Espinal
I’m doing great. It’s great to be here. Yeah, well, we’re

Akua Konadu
happy to have you, you know, I’m really excited for this discussion. Because just even kicking it off here, you know, 84% of independent business owners feel that they’re the government does not provide enough financial resources or assistance to supporting them. So I’ve been looking forward to this episode, and just hearing more of your work with the Freelancers union, and just the impact that you guys are making in our community here for every single independent business owners to make some of these resources available. So I’m really, really excited to have you here. So thank you. And yeah, so we’re just gonna hop in right away. So can you just share with us your journey? And how did you get involved with the Freelancers union and essentially, like, become their executive director? Yeah,

Rafael Espinal
I mean, it’s a it’s a long journey. But it all started with me being born and raised and growing up in Brooklyn, lived here my entire life. And I growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a creative. I wanted to be a filmmaker. That was the big dream. And there was also an understanding that with that, most likely you’d be doing independent work. So as I went through high school and college with that goal in mind, the Freelancers union was actually founded in Brooklyn, and they were and they were really working behind the scenes through those years to build the organization. And I remember writing the New York City subway and seeing their posters plastered everywhere, they had this big sign that said, freelancers, union, independents unite, anyone who works in TV, graphic design, or just works independently, in general, come to our organization and be had got access to all these benefits, community and more. And I remember thinking like how important that was, especially for folks who worked independently, because I think we all can agree that independent work is siloed work, right? Everyone’s working independently is very fractured, you have to kind of create the opportunities to make connectivity. So I thought it was great that there was an audition doing this work. And when I graduated college, life took me a different path. I got involved in politics, and I ran for office at the age of 26. And I became a New York State Assembly Member. But in my time in government, everything kind of came full circle, because the union requested a meeting with my office to talk about a bill they were working on to expand the rights of independent workers when it comes to non payment. And I happen to have been the legislator that they approached with this with this with this bill language. And we work together to actually pass the nation’s first law called the freelances and free act in the city of New York, that granted independent workers the right to a contract and the right to a net net pay of 30 days.

Akua Konadu
Yes, and I’m excited to talk about that. And I think that is just so amazing. Just, first of all the amount of work that you’ve done, and from where you started to where you are now. And it’s kind of interesting of just even just little moments in our own journeys where like you saw a sign you’re like, Okay, this is what I need, and then how just things to transpire to where you are now it’s just it’s such an amazing journey. And so in your time with the Freelancers union, what do you think are the major challenges that are affecting independent business owners currently? Yeah, we

Rafael Espinal
constantly put out a survey to our members, we have a membership of about 500,000 people across the country in all 50 states. The majority, of course, are in New York City and in California, and in states like Texas, and the growing population also in Illinois, and what we constantly hear from them is that, number one, health insurance is too expensive, and it’s the biggest hurdle for a current freelancer for anyone thinking of going into freelance, right we’ve been sold our entire lives this idea that we need health insurance and you need a nine to five job In order to get good quality health care that is paid for and that you don’t have to worry about. And unfortunately, that that becomes the biggest barrier for a lot of folks. And it’s a big and it’s the biggest, I think, expense that hurts their bottom line when it when it comes to just taking care of themselves and providing for their families. So, you know, that is why, you know, the organization that has put a lot of focus and energy in focusing on on that work. You know, I think one of the major accomplishments that the organization was able to do was create its own health insurance company, at some point called a freelance freelance insurance company and, and freelancers were able to get health insurance at half the cost. And if they went out on their own and bought it anywhere else, unfortunately, given the regulations and within with the Affordable Care Act and rules that came around that it no longer allowed us provide that, that that, that service, but we try to think of new novel ways of skirting around those regulations and figuring out how we can create strong partnerships to get freelancers the best deals, for example, just recently, we launched a partnership with this help with this telehealth company called Galileo. And you’re able to get telep 24/7, access to a doctor on your phone, discounted prescriptions, discounted vision and dental, that is only available if you remember the Freelancers union, because if you went out and try to buy it on your own, through Galileo, you would only get half the services, and you’re probably paying more of a cost. So that is what we do in the background, right? Like how do we strongly build these strong partnerships, that at the end of the day, isn’t isn’t a is gonna benefit the worker?

Akua Konadu
Absolutely. I think again, it just goes to talk about how the current infrastructure that has been created in society is not meant for independent business owners. I think of myself when I first started my business, I mean, when you’re, especially as a solopreneur, that is, the last thing on your mind, is health insurance, you’re just trying to get clients, you know, show up on, you know, with your marketing, bookkeeping, all of these different hats that you have to wear. And so then when you have to finally get health insurance, and you finally make it a priority, just to be able to attain, it is so difficult. And I’m one of the 62% of independent business owners who feel that the government also does not make it easy to attain the limited resources that are already available to us. And so I love that what you guys are doing is, I think it just reminds me, I think the heart of the Freelancers, human right, it’s freelancers being scrappy, of like, Okay, we’re gonna figure this out, we’re going to be innovative in any way that we can to be able to provide these resources to independent business business owners. And I love that. And so another question that I want to ask too, is, what do you think the biggest challenge is, with independent business owners getting paid, because I love that you guys had your freelancers toolkit, and I think I just really wanted to paint this picture of just how much it really affects business owners when, like potential clients, I mean, just clients in general miss payments. And so this is what I loved so much about what you guys shared, I think it was like 44%, if they don’t get paid end up having to use credit cards, some people end up having to borrow money from family and friends, some people 7% end up having to get government assistance. So you know, it’s so so key, being able to protect yourself and protect your business. And so I want to ask again, why do you feel like what are some of the challenges that are really impacting independent business owners from being paid? Yeah,

Rafael Espinal
I mean, I will start off by saying that, you know, the latest numbers show that there are over 60 million Americans who are independent workers, independent business owners, and that just creates an opportunity for 60 million Americans to be in a situation in which they won’t have enough money to pay their rent or pay their utilities costs and kind of further driving them into debt. For reasons you mentioned. Right having to tap into your credit card, having to get a small business loans to keep you afloat. So we we worked around around this issue, because we knew that given how fractured the workforce is and how everyone operates in silos, it just creates more opportunities for larger companies and for clients to be able to exploit you feel like they don’t have to pay you on time, because there aren’t these regulations in place that are going to penalize them enough to hold them accountable. So it really comes down to a few things, right? One, you’re you’re likely working with a company that has very complex internal finance systems and tools in place that doesn’t allow them to be able to process your invoices or lose your email or be able to get your paid on time. Right. But then you also have the the clients who don’t have I guess, the who also don’t feel the need to be able to pay you on time for a host of other reasons. But this is why the law was so important. It’s like how do we create a basic standard across the board to ensure that every independent business owner to every client relationship, there’s a standard of getting paid within 30 days, and there’s a standard to having a contract in place. And that’s what the law did in New York City. And since then, you know, we’ve been working to to get this law proliferator across the country that has been our focus over the past few years.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, and the impact due to the Freelancer ism free act is amazing. I mean, I read a report since in the past five years since it has gone into effect. 3000 claims have been filed by independent business owners and you guys have been able to recover $2.9 million for businesses, which is just absolutely fantastic. And so I wanted to ask you, what was that process like getting this bill passed? What did that whole journey look like?

Rafael Espinal
Yeah, so first and foremost, the reason that we see a lack of protection and and benefits for the freelance workforce, is because there has been a there isn’t really a unified voice advocating for this workforce. Right, the traditional employee has a traditional union that has been organizing them for 100 years. Right. And, you know, even even larger businesses have these big lobbying firms who are in the halls of government, you know, fighting for their causes, because freelance workers have relaxed that, that that that space of community and solidarity for a long time, it’s really allowed for government to keep up with it with the with the rapid changes has been happening within the Independent Business workforce, right. So what really, really started pushing things over the edge was when the when the Freelancers union, began working with their members and working with other independent business owners to to really think about, well, you know, what are the what are the needs of the community? And how do we shape legislation that’s going to benefit them and nonpayment was was that big issue. And they work with labor lawyers and other labor unions to get language to figure out, you know, how do we craft a bill, that’s going to ensure you get paid on time. And if you don’t get paid on time, that there’s a mechanism in place in which that client is going to get fined by the city or the state. And if they end, if they don’t pay after getting fined, that you’re able to go to small, small claims court as you normally would. But now that when you do go to small claims court, you actually have a letter acknowledging from the city or the state that you have gone through this whole process, trying to get paid, and the client has not been responsive. So when you go into court and are in front of a judge, you already have all of this information that’s going to guarantee the judge site in your favor. And on top of that, if you do have to go through the entire process, now the clients then have to owe you double damages. So that $2,000 invoice becomes a $4,000 invoice to that client. And they’re also responsible for any attorney fees you incurred through the process. It was really designed to protect the freelancer, but also make clear to the client that this is going to be a long and expensive process for them. And the easiest thing and the best thing they can do is ensure you get paid on time for the work you’ve completed.

Akua Konadu
Yes. And I think that is just so so key. And I love that you guys have this resource, because as independent business owners, right, we naturally don’t think that we always think that businesses are willing to pay, we always go into situations, hoping for the best as we should. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. And then you don’t know you need something until you need it. And so I think that’s just so so amazing that you guys have that in place. And you guys are working hard right now to get this expanded into other cities. So what does that look like as well with that journey? Yeah,

Rafael Espinal
I mean, I would, I would say the pandemic has really created an opportunity to open open the eyes of our society and legislators about the need to create protections for all workers. You know, I think we can all look back and and think about how concerned we all were when the government was announcing programs that would support brick and mortar store businesses, when they were announcing programs to ensure that the average daily that the traditional end worker had a paycheck every single week, if they were laid off at their jobs. No, we had to work as an organization to bring these issues to the federal government and say, Hey, there’s there’s over 16 million Americans who potentially are going to go weeks or months without a paycheck or without, without, without get an invoice paid. Unless Unless you unless you do something. So you know, I guess I use that as to as an example, because that really created a conversation on how do we start thinking about the future of work? You know, how are we going to prepare for the for, for for a workforce that for over a century has gone without these basic protections and resources? Now, when we approach legislators in California, in Illinois, in Texas, they’re more keen and more attuned to what’s happening. And we’re and because we’ve we have cities like New York City, and now the city of LA and now the city of Seattle have implemented these laws. It makes it a lot easier to start these conversations. And we’re seeing we’re seeing this law coming in. It’s coming into place in across the country, one of the cities that just mentioned Seattle, the city of LA, just as just as of last month, the state of Illinois signed a state freelances and free bill into place to This Week in the in the state of New York. Our governor is going to assign a statewide bill into place. And we also have a bill in Austin. But ultimately the idea is how do we get enough states and cities agreeing that this is the basic right that all independent business owners and freelancers need so that we can go to the The federal level and try to get a national bill passed that will cover freelancers across the entire country.

Akua Konadu
Oh my gosh, I love that. And that is just so powerful to see all of the work that you guys are doing. And you’re right, like the pandemic, I mean, how many I mean, millions of people started their own business due to the pandemic. And there are more people that lie ahead in the journey, who are going to start their business. And so again, this is just so key and making sure that people are getting paid, that their businesses are protected, and that they’re still able to support their themselves, their teams, their families. And so I absolutely, it’s just really inspiring. And it makes me excited about the future of entrepreneurship. And I think it just makes it clear, especially to the government that small businesses are here to stay, we work we’ve always been here. And to finally get that recognition. I think it’s so important to where slowly but surely, the infrastructure is being rebuilt to now include independent business owners, which I think is just it’s amazing. And I’m just so excited to hear more about the work that you guys are doing. And I think again, it just leads to the importance of legislative advocacy. I think as business owners, many of us wonder how can we get involved? What can I do? I’m just one person. And so how can independent business owners be more involved and be more aware of what’s happening in our in our government? Well,

Rafael Espinal
the first thing you can do is join the Freelancers, union, freelancers. is free to be part of our community. And what that opens up for you is all of the information and resources that our team curates to ensure that you’re armed with everything you need to ensure that to ensure that you your business and your career is a successful one. But two we also are doing are doing that work on the ground, approaching legislators trying to make the news to help inform people about what’s happening and what what can be done to improve the lives of the of independent business owners. So you know, we have a weekly newsletter that goes out with all this useful information. So I encourage everyone to join. And that is that is the easiest step you can take. And from there, you know, we do have monthly meetup groups around the country in which you’re able to connect with other like minded independent business owners, and potentially help you create your own community locally as well.

Akua Konadu
Absolutely. And then another thing that I want to add to that as well, because as independent business owners, there’s power in voting, right, like I we, I think that was highlighted heavily, obviously, in 2020. But just realizing too, that it’s so important to know what’s going on in your local government. I know for my personal experience, just with voting in general, I had all of these other, I always had create a list of values, right. And small business, like how government officials are supporting small businesses was not on that list for me every time I voted. Now, it’s different for me this year it is and also to from a local perspective, researching and getting to know the people in your local government, your local districts who are able to who are fighting the fight for small business owners, to help you make the best decision for you and your family. As you’re voting i That’s something that I’ve just learned in terms of like, at least getting started with advocacy that I found super helpful. And I’m really excited for the Freelancers here. Because I will definitely join

Rafael Espinal
as a former legislator that was voted into office by constituency. I mean, the my agenda was was sculpted by the people that that I represented, right. So if you’re in the office of your local council member or your local state senator, and you’re expressing your concerns and and your needs, and what what you believe this legislative could be doing to better your life, you know, you’ll have someone that can potentially be an ally, and help craft and push those laws that are important to you. So absolutely. Voting is the number one thing you definitely can do. And I will say that’s probably the easiest thing you can do before joining the union.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, no, there’s so many. But the things that I love is that it’s not that difficult, right? I think, again, we’re like, how can I get involved, there’s so many different things that I just don’t know. And it’s like, number one, there’s power and knowledge that like Knowledge is power. Literally, there’s power in your vote and joining places like the Freelancers union to really help guide you, and just give you that education that you need to make the best decisions for you. And so I absolutely love that. And so another question that I have is where How can also business owners improve to protect themselves? I mean, I learned in your toolkit that I think like 28% of independent business owners only, like have written contract, which I was so surprised by that, because when I first started my own business that was an that was drilled into me, but then I realized, like, not everybody has all of our experiences are so different of how we get started. So how can we better protect ourselves? Yeah,

Rafael Espinal
I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of word of mouth contracts, right? Or that people don’t, that failed to write, to write down the terms of the terms of the work the terms of pay, and that really opens you up to to allow for a client to take advantage of you right and exploit you. So a written contract is is the number one thing you can do in order to ensure that that you get paid and if you don’t get paid, that you can at least take go through the through the process of going to small claims court and having your case being heard by a judge and potentially getting getting you the money that for the work that you’ve come to lead it. So we encourage everyone you know, get get a contract on our website, I think honey book as well provides this sub contract template. And clearly scope out the your the work, but also milestones in which you think when which you should, in which you agree on to get paid to ensure that, at least at least as you go on to the journey of completing this work, that you’re getting money through the door, and not wait until the end of a project, which will make it much more likely that you’d have to wait more than 30 days to get to collect on that check or not get paid at all. So have that front end deposit, have have those milestones in between where you’ll get paid for the work, you’ve completed to those points. And then I think at the end of the day, you know, those two things will will will give you that that for that protection. And if and if you’re working with a client that denies you the right to a contract, I think you should think twice about working with with that client.

Akua Konadu
Yes, I was just about to ask you, because I’ve had, you know, I have worked with corporations as a business owner, and some of them, you know, they send you, which that’s why what I’m curious about to know your thoughts on this is they will send you their contract to sign where they may not want you to send your own. And so which I’ve noticed some corporations do that some don’t. And so how, if you’re a business owner, that find yourself in that type of situation, what advice would you have of how to advocate for yourself in that?

Rafael Espinal
Yeah, I mean, from from my experience, that contract that you receive from the larger corporation is not written in stone, I think that you have the right to, to come back to them with your own revisions and your own concerns of how do we think the contract should be renegotiated? So I would go down that route first. But again, you know, the reality is that that there isn’t much recourse for a freelancer if if a client does not want to budge on how their how their contract is structured, right. Which is why laws like the freelancers and free Act were created to ensure that they’re that freelancers have more bargaining power when they’re working with a client, especially larger corporations that have all the tools and resources to be able to push back against you as a solopreneur.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I think that’s one thing I that just popped into my mind is, as business owners that, you know, you have to be your own biggest advocate. And so it is okay to say this does not fit me and what I’m looking at, you know, in my needs as a business owner, and again, you have every right to negotiate. And if a company is not willing to do that, that is already a red flag, and I already tell you how this project could potentially go. So absolutely just walk away if you if you’re able to, but if not, again, standing up for yourself being direct being bold, because at the end of the day, this project affects you heavily, right. And I always tell myself, if this causes me, if this literally disrupts my piece, I won’t do it. If I have any inclination, because again, like it’s already a lot being an independent business owner. And so if somebody’s wanting to shortchange you or not see your worth or, you know, take advantage of you. I have every right to stand up for myself and say, No, so I hope if you’re a business owner, like you don’t have to take what exactly what’s offered to you right away, you have every right to negotiate, you have every right to say no, I think this XYZ and so I love that you just shared that just to give us a at least some tools that we can use to better advocate for ourselves in that process. And so another question I wanted to ask as you know, as the freelance isn’t free act is as you guys are working hard to get this distribute into other states. What other things could we do? Like, for example, if it’s not in Illinois yet or in other states, as you mentioned, what can business owners also do in that meantime? What other ways can we protect ourselves?

Rafael Espinal
Well, yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s everything we spoke about earlier, right? It’s just making sure you have that contract in place, making sure you’re advocating for yourself and ensuring that you have a net pay that you can live with. But you know, you should you should be reaching out to your local legislator and and, and educating them on on this law that exists in other parts of the country, so that they can play a role in ensuring that your local municipality or your local state government has a freelancing freedom place.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, absolutely. And so I feel I have loved this conversation. I think it was so many great, impactful tools that you have shared and I hope if you’re listening, that you will join the Freelancers union, because again, like they have the resources that you need to be successful as a business owner. And so a question that we’d love to close out each episode with is what do you think is the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail?

Rafael Espinal
You know, it’s a tough question. I think at the end of the day, it comes down to how resilient you are and how resource resourceful you are as an individual. You know, I hear from freelancers in all levels of their career. And there are those that struggle finding one client and there are those that are swimming in clients. I think that the best thing you can do is just keep a positive mindset. I think that the best thing you can do as an independent worker is put your best foot forward. Right? Make sure you have a strong portfolio, make sure that when when, when a client, Google’s your name, that they’re able to find a website that shows all of the amazing projects you have done. I hear from a lot of folks on different points of their career, about how either they’re struggling to find one client or whether they’re swimming and or others who are just swimming in clients. And I think that the differentiation that I see is that those who are swimming in clients have have the best portfolio and have their best foot forward and those who are struggling to find that first client, or you can tell that they’re still struggling to figure out their own identity and how and where they plan on taking their own freelance career.

Akua Konadu
Yeah, I think that’s so so important resiliency, right, as a business owner is so so key and mindset, right, you have to truly be your own biggest cheerleader, because at times, you know, it’s hard. There’s just the journey of entrepreneurship, it has so many ups and downs. And so really being able to cheer yourself on when nobody is there, right? Even when you’re doing the mundane tasks, things that you don’t necessarily enjoy. And again, putting your best foot forward. I’m talking about your work, being proud of the work that you’re doing to be able to attain those clients, I think is just so, so important. And Raphael, this has been wonderful. And where can people connect with you? Obviously, the Freelancers union. Anything else you want to add where people can connect with you? I’m

Rafael Espinal
on Instagram. I’m on Twitter, RL SB now, and also, you can just email me directly at Rs Bernel at freelancers,

Akua Konadu
Awesome. Well, thank you. Thank you so much, Raphael. For this, this has been so helpful. And I hope if you were listening, you feel empowered and equipped as a business owner to be able to just get more involved in legislative advocacy and really be able to help join the fight to protect your business to protect each other as a community moving forward. So thank you so much for listening. And until next time, that ends our episode of The Independent Business Podcast. Everything we’ve discussed today can be found at [email protected]. Head to our website to access for show notes, relevant links and all the resources that you need to level up. And if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to subscribe to the podcast to make sure you never miss our future content. Drop us a review and leave our guests some love on social and thank you again for listening.

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