Around 2008, during the height of Credit Crisis, few freelance translators, copywriters, content editors including yours truly used to meet in Calcutta in cafes and tea-shops and we used to discuss about income, work-life balance, feast and famine cycle, how to get the next project, how to enforce better rates, how to market our services, how to deal with deadbeat clients and such staple topics of freelance life. In due course, many younger freelancers and students started joining the meet (what in Bengali we call “adda”). Without our knowledge, these meets in addition to bringing some colour to our social life also became some kind of de-facto mentoring sessions. Few corporate professionals also used to attend, asking – “How to be free from the cubicle prison?”.
Cut to 2015 – we all were some eight years older and admittedly valuing these meets more. We had our first formal meet of freelancers in the form of an informal but serious workshop – the first WORDCON which was joined online by freelancers from other parts of the world and happened in a modest Calcutta hotel. It was a fantastic experience. Some senior members proposed formalizing our meets and exchanges and Freelance Foundation was born as a non-profit entity registered in Calcutta on 14th of July – Bastille Day – the day French Revolution formally started.
In last 3 years, we continued our journey and articulated our Mission : Harmonizing Income,Leisure and Fame. This year, we thought of meeting freelancers of other cities in person with many of whom we have collaborated but have not met in person plus connecting the Millennial Generation. This made us undertake WORDCON INDIA TOUR 2018 – a Tale of Four cities with Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai completed and Calcutta meet happening on 8th September. We are organizing 2 more meets for freelancers – one in London on 26th Sept and another in Birmingham on 22nd Sept.
The Road Ahead
1. To help freelancers and aspirant ones grapple with the fundamental questions of freelance life, starting with income – how do I get projects ? How do I continue to get projects ? How do I prepare myself to achieve this ? How do I navigate in this flux and achieve the target – to have a tense but sustained career as a freelancer.
2. Most of our senior freelancers members in various domains will help them just like a Master craftsman guides an Apprentice – not for any fee but as a duty and to continue the craft tradition. The relationship is non-commercial, voluntary and inclusive. This spirit is the Foundation’s spiritual equity.
3. We conduct events – meets, sports tournament, musical events plus one annual International Summit for Freelances. These events and meets create cross-pollination of ideas, thoughts and practices. We conduct these through a model of Cashless Patronage where our patrons/sponsors (for example The Rise) provide us resources to deliver our message and that helps us to keep almost all our events completely free. All our senior members do this as an Acharya – one practices what one preaches. We would like to continue doing this in an organic and community driven manner.
We are looking for freelance acharyas (true teachers) world over to teach freelancers and the eco-system in which the freelancers operate, the Art, Science and Commerce of living and thriving in Freelance Life.
2. Wordsmith University – Freelance Business School
3. Blog : Freelancer’s Freelancer
4. Facebook : Wordcon Channel