Canadian Freelance Guild progress update

One month ago we launched our new association, the Canadian Freelance Guild.

Since that time we’ve been busy creating resources for our members and looking for new ways to help self-employed creators during this difficult time.

Here’s an update on what we’ve been up to.

The CFG Job Bank for members is now live! This compendium of opportunities for freelancers is pushed out a number of times each week by CFG members Rachel Sanders and Robyn Roste. The gigs and contract opportunities cover a wide range of communications services being sought by traditional and digital media outlets along with more corporate copywriting, copy editing, and technical writing. Over the past two weeks, the Job Bank has already posted 70 opportunities! There’s a lot of work out there, don’t miss out. Members can view and subscribe to the Job Bank right here.

• The CFG website also now features a calendar of upcoming events. On it you’ll be able to find details about upcoming webinars, including two May Day Meet-ups (Zoom tours of our new CFG website) with organizer Don Genova and tech guru George Butters on Friday May 1, and a Lunch and Learn about the ABCs of podcasting on Thursday May 7.

• Other resources that will be coming soon are print-your-own membership cards (until permanent cards can be manufactured), and a new application process for media cards offered to accredited journalist members. And we’ll soon have a full slate of CFG logos in various shapes and sizes along with a design guide for their use on members’ websites and blogs.

• And a final note, one of our new CFG members, videographer Steve Hawkins has put together an excellent short documentary showing the creation of a mural by local artists on a boarded-up shop in downtown Vancouver. It’s a great example of the volunteer spirit being shown during Covid-19, and it’s also a great way for Steve to showcase his talents. While Steve has long-term experience as an employee at various media outlets, he is just entering his freelance career.  View the video right here. It’s guaranteed to bring a happy tear to your eye.

Posted on April 29, 2020 at 9:40 pm by editor · 2 Comments · Tagged with: ,

WEBINAR: Podcasting ABCs

The traditional communication methods your clients use are rapidly changing. Being able to offer them podcasting options is just one more skill you should have in your arsenal. Thanks to today’s technology, the learning curve is less steep and making podcasts is more affordable than ever before.

Join veteran podcast producer Katie Jensen for this Lunch and Learn session called Podcasting ABCs on Thursday, May 7 from noon to 1 pm Eastern Time.

You will find out A) how it works B) how can you do it? C) how much does it cost to set up? and D) much, much more.

Katie Jensen is a freelance podcast producer based in Toronto. She’s made podcasts for CBC Podcasts, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, The Globe and Mail, Polaris Music Prize, St. Joseph Media, Canada Media Fund, The Atkinson Foundation, George Brown College, StarMetro, and Canadaland.

Katie is also the principal of Vocal Fry Studios, a podcast production studio creating original shows and originating Podcast Night School, Canada’s first podcast accelerator & pitch competition.

This one-hour webinar will be conducted using the Zoom platform. It is free for Canadian Freelance Guild members and costs just $20 for non-members.

Each participant will be entered into a draw for one of three prizes, consisting of an hour of free consultation with Katie… a priceless incentive! To register for this webinar click here.

Posted on April 26, 2020 at 1:30 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

How freelancers can respond to crisis in a proactive way

by Robyn Roste

Freelancing at the best of times is a careful balance of optimism, drive and risk.

So when a crisis, like a global pandemic and looming economic recession, hits, this balance is upended, thrusting freelancers into limbo where everything is uncertain, leaving us desperate for stability.

At the outset of any traumatic event, common emotions are shock, denial, anger, depression, fear, anxiety and feelings of hopelessness.

And it makes sense. We’re facing a threat, which is causing great stress to every aspect of our lives.

In any crisis situation we have to make choices, which will impact our future freelance business—although we may not be sure how.

Many of us have seen contracts cancelled, clients bail and projects put on indefinite hold. So how should we respond?

Do we close up shop and wait for the storm to pass? Do we slash rates and take anything that comes up, grateful for the work we do have? Or do we hold firm to our pricing and risk bringing nothing in?

Here are three suggestions for how freelancers can respond to crisis in a proactive way.
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Posted on April 21, 2020 at 10:01 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , ,

2020 Dave Greber Freelance Writers Awards open for submissions

Freelancers, if you’ve written about social justice issues this year, it’s time to submit your work for the Dave Greber Freelance Writers Book and Magazine Awards.

The awards are now open for submissions and the competition closes on Friday June 26, 2020 at 5:00 P.M. PST.

The awards honour the memory of Dave Greber, a Calgary-based freelancer who wrote extensively about social justice issues during the final decade of his career. The awards were created in 2004, and are given each year to writers of social justice-related non-fiction.

The book award is worth $5,000 and the magazine award is set at $2,000. Work that has not yet been completed for publication is also eligible for submission. To submit your work, you must be a resident of Canada and spend 70% of your working time as a self-employed freelance writer.

For more details about the award requirements, see the Dave Greber Awards website.

And you can read Story Board’s interviews with some of the past Dave Greber Award winners right here.

Posted on April 18, 2020 at 2:07 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: ,

WEBINAR: Income Replacement and Taxes during Covid-19

A free CFG Lunch and Learn webinar is planned for members in good standing on Tuesday, April 14th at 12 noon ET.

A representative from the New School of Finance  will bring us up to date on government initiatives for income replacement as well as other protections for the self-employed and others affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There will also be information about filing your income tax for 2019 and we’re leaving ample time for a Q+A session.

If you’re a CFG member click here to register.

For more information about to cost and benefits of membership, check out this page on the Canadian Freelance Guild website.

Posted on April 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm by editor · 2 Comments · Tagged with: , , ,

Canadian Freelance Guild launches

We did it! On Wednesday, April 1st, we welcomed into the world a brand new association for freelancers.

On January 14th of this year, PWAC members voted to join the independent membership of the Canadian Media Guild Freelance Branch at a new home with a new name, the Canadian Freelance Guild.

Within a scant two and a half months of the vote, a dedicated transition team has merged the two membership databases, launched a new website and a new logo, developed bylaws, and is already offering timely professional development webinars as one of the main benefits of membership.

April 1st marked the day that all former PWAC members were asked to renew their yearly dues (at a new, lower rate of $150 per year) and we got the payment system working as well. Yes, a few glitches, but that was to be expected.

Both PWAC and CMG Freelance have a long-standing reputation of defending freelance rights and providing professional development and advice for our respective memberships. That will carry on as a basic tenet of the CFG.

There are plans in the works to offer a number of webinars to members in good standing over the coming weeks.

Need to learn how to get more from Zoom, the popular video meeting software? We’re offering Session III of our popular Zoom tutorial on April 6th. The first two sessions were booked solid in short order, so don’t wait. If you’re a member, click here to register!

And on April 14 at noon ET, a representative from the New School of Finance will tell us about government initiatives for income replacement and other protections for the self-employed and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be information about filing your income tax for 2019 and we’re leaving ample time for a Q+A session. If you’re a member, click here to register now.

A founding convention and election of officers for our new association will be held in October of 2020.

Together, we’re better.

Don Genova and Doreen Pendgracs
Transition Committee Co-Chairs
Canadian Freelance Guild

Posted on April 5, 2020 at 11:00 am by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: 

2020 Forum Freelance Fund training bursary open for applications

Applications are now open for the 2020 Forum Freelance Fund competition. The fund offers bursaries of up to $2500 to help Canadian freelancers pay for hostile environment training.

Bursaries must first be applied to course fees with the remainder to be used for travel costs.

This year’s application deadline is April 10, 2020. Winners of the bursaries will be notified by May 31 and will have until July 31 to choose a hostile environment training course from an approved provider. Courses must begin by February 29, 2021.

However, these dates will be extended if there are any course closures due to COVID-19.

The Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma runs the competition in association with the Rory Peck Trust, a U.K.-based organization devoted to promoting the safety of freelancers.

Information about the application requirements are available on the Canadian Journalism Forum on Violence and Trauma website.

Posted on March 31, 2020 at 3:33 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

The Born Freelancer on the COVID-19 Crisis

This series of posts by the Born Freelancer shares personal experiences and thoughts on issues relevant to freelancers. Have something to add to the conversation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.


It seems to me we freelancers are in a unique position during this crisis.

Unique, in this case, being both good and bad.

We are psychologically better prepared than most to adapt to the rapidly-evolving circumstances being forced upon us. But we are also among the most easily compromised financially as freelancers are always the first to get “the chop”.

First, to our strengths.

Some generalizations. We are used to working at home. Often but not always alone. Usually with little or no direction. We continuously have to reinvent ourselves. We must be frugal. We know how to save! We must be strong enough to handle pressure, deadlines, rejection, disappointment.

We must also be sensitive enough to understand the hopes and fears of others. We are good at networking. We are good at planning and adapting to new circumstances.

The list goes on.

And so for many of us the initial hardships forcing others into minor meltdowns, such as working from home, are already part of our lifestyle. We are no strangers to the nature of the challenges that now face all of us – namely, adapting to enormous change that mutates daily.

Our troubles are more related to where we are on the employment “food chain”. We are usually the first to be let go and the easiest for employers and government to exclude from any mandated benefits. So we must be prepared to look out for ourselves as much as possible – while also helping those around us.
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Posted on March 24, 2020 at 2:54 pm by editor · 3 Comments · Tagged with: , , ,

The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A #43 — Tom Hawthorn

by Monte Stewart

Photo by Paige Lindsay

Award-winning journalist Tom Hawthorn has spent most of his career as a freelancer. He is well-known for contributing obituaries to The Globe and Mail, but also writes about living people for other media outlets.

During the 1990s, he served as a staff reporter with two daily newspapers. He has also authored a number of books, including The Year Canadians Lost Their Minds and Found Their Country, about Canada’s centennial year, and is currently working on a biographical history of The Ubyssey student newspaper.

When he is not freelancing, he works part-time at iconic independent bookstore Munro’s Books in Victoria, B.C.

In this Q&A, Hawthorn, explains why he cherishes awards shaped like tombstones and offers tips – along with a few caveats – to current and prospective freelancers.

How did you end up becoming a full-time freelancer?

I did four stints as a summer intern – at The Vancouver Sun in 1980 and ’84, and The Globe and Mail in arts in 1986 and sports in ’87. I spent the 1990s as a staff reporter and desker at The Province in Vancouver and The Times Colonist in Victoria. In between and ever after, I’ve freelanced, mostly to newspapers and magazines.

Having learned journalism at a student newspaper [The Ubyssey], I’ve always enjoyed generating my own story ideas. I also have to say I can freelance full-time in part because my partner, also a journalist, has a union job with solid benefits. This would be much harder as a solo effort.

Who do you write for?
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Posted on March 9, 2020 at 6:00 pm by editor · LEAVE A COMMENT · Tagged with: , , ,

The Unfulfilled Promise of Publishing with Partner Programs

by Liz Gallo

In August of 2018, I joined Medium’s Partner Program.

For the uninitiated, Medium is a publishing platform founded by Ev Williams who also co-founded Blogger and Twitter. They started their Partner Program in 2018 as a way for writers to earn money from their content.

Medium appeared to be not only an alternative to more traditional online publishing models but also a new way of being a published writer. No longer did I have to wait months just to have a submission rejected or search aimlessly through digital publications and blogs trying to decide where to submit my work. I could publish my work instantly and start earning money.

Even better, I would soon discover, there was a community of Medium writers reading, sharing, and publishing each other’s work. The platform also gives you access to stats on the performance of your articles. I could see the number of views, reads, and fans for each article. An avid poet, I saw my poems being read and making money. It was exciting.

In an interview via phone, Medium writer Roz Warren said when she first started publishing on the platform Medium “felt like the future.” A freelance writer with numerous publications under her belt, including The New York Times blog, she had hoped to replace the money earned via other freelance writing work with earnings from the platform. I’ll confess I had similar hopes — hopes of my writing becoming a lucrative side-hustle.
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Posted on March 3, 2020 at 7:00 pm by editor · One Comment · Tagged with: ,