Read What’s Hot Around the Web: December 2018

A roundup of independent contractor news and insights

We’ve curated some of the top topics circulating the web regarding the gig economy over the last month. In this installment, we cover pay-rate transparency, our responsibility as freelancers toward inclusivity, Uber’s role in shaping the new workforce, myths of the gig economy, policy-change ideas to benefit independent contractors, and the truth about work-life balance when you’re your own boss.

Money talks: Are payment NDA’s a concern in freelancer contracts?
Pay rates are a big topic of discussion among freelance writers and independent contractors in other industries. But what happens if your contract silences you against talking about what a client has shelled out? This Columbia Journalism Review article delves into the reasons why freelance-fee transparency is so important and why. Reasons include closing the gender wage gap and encouraging negotiation.

The case for inclusivity: Your responsibility as an independent contractor
Being an independent contractor comes with its own unique set of duties, like sending invoices, managing your workflow, and paying quarterly taxes. Those obligations are the ones that keep the wheels turning, but other responsibilities are more civic in nature. A Seattle Times article outlines “How to be a more inclusive freelancer.” Although likely written with the media in mind, the guidelines can apply to any industry.

Uber insight: What does this rideshare company tell us about the gig-work landscape?
One of the biggest drivers (pardon the pun) of the gig economy has been the formation of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Alex Rosenblat, ethnographer and researcher, has now ridden more than 5,000 miles with Uber to learn how the company has changed the way some folks earn income. This Mother Jones article features an interview with Rosenblat about her new book, Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting the Rules of Work.

Fixes for Freelancers: Ideas for Congress to help independent contractors
Etsy was founded in the mid-aughts, giving artisans a space to easily sell their wares to the masses. The e-commerce site has long been a springboard for makers to test their business savvy and later launch local brick-and-mortar stores or to turn a craft into a legitimate side hustle or extra money-maker. The platform has no-doubt been an early driver of the gig economy and has provided inspiration to countless individuals to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. That’s why CEO Josh Silverman is the perfect author for this CNN Business piece on what Congress can do to help indie artists and contractors. Silverman offers innovative ideas from implementing tax code changes to policy reforms that incorporate safeguards and benefits.

Doing the splits: What is flexibility in the gig economy? And is work-life balance real?
This honest SELF piece deep dives into the idea of finding that elusive unicorn we call work-life balance. When every moment is a potential time slot to earn income and you’re being pulled in different directions, how do you turn it off to get in quality family time or even tackle some necessary self-care? Plus, does being an independent contractor really offer you flexibility or is it all about being bendy for your clients. In addition to analyzing the phenomenon, author Amy Keller Laird offers insightful research and actionable tips. She also takes a go-easy-on-yourself approach to help you stop feeling guilty about not being able to draw clear lines between work and life.