Announcing changes to The Professional Freelancer

A fresh new look for spring and exciting plans for the future

Illustration by Léo Hamelin

Everything’s the same, but different.

You may have noticed that today’s newsletter has had a make over. That’s because I’ve switched the email client I use to send it. I hit the limit on Mailchimp for sending free emails; there are now thousands of you who read this, which is humbling, inspiring and also kind of terrifying.

This all gave me pause to have a think about what I wanted to do with the newsletter going forward. On a practical level, Mailchimp charging me to send the email presented me with a big problem. Having to pay to send the newsletter puts undue pressure on me to make sure I’m covering those additional, significant costs. At the same time, reassessing the newsletter also prompted me to reflect on what this newsletter has achieved so far and where I want to take it next.

Since I started writing it nearly two years ago, I’ve had countless messages from people who’ve successfully negotiated up their rates, landed gigs I’ve posted, or just read something I wrote here that really resonated with them. Those messages mean the world to me and knowing that the work I do in people’s inboxes actually makes a difference to your professional lives blows my mind. It also tells me that there’s a great need for this work and it is, in effect, an act of public service journalism.

I want to keep doing of all this and more. I also want to keep going with the #FairPayForFreelancer campaign and push for bigger changes at the industry-level for better pay conditions for freelancers. But I need help and support if I’m going to get there.

So some very exciting changes are coming to The Professional Freelancer. The service I’m now using to send the email is called Substack, which is a platform for paid newsletters. Substack’s belief in independent, sustainable journalism chimes so beautifully with my own thinking about the future of the media that it felt like a no-brainer to make the switch.

In a few weeks time, I will be announcing a subscription option for The Professional Freelancer. But don’t worry, that’s not happening just yet and before you panic that I’m going to start charging for the newsletter, this is what I can promise you: The Friday newsletter as you know and love will stay exactly the same (except, of course, for the updated look of it) and will remain free, forever.

It’s probably helpful to think of the newsletter subscription more like a membership to FJ&Co, the platform I launched at the beginning of the year to support freelance journalists. Membership will support the bigger ambition of FJ&Co, which is to make freelance journalism a fair and sustainable career option for all of us.

Thank you to everyone who’s been on this journey with me so far and I hope you stay for the long haul.

P.S. I also wanted to draw your attention to another huge benefit of Substack: a proper archive! My old newsletters pretty much disappeared into the ether after I sent them. Now, they all live here in the beautiful archive.


Upcoming FJ&Co events

Future-Proofing Your Freelance Career: As more journalists turn to freelancing as a viable and more sustainable career option, how can we make sure our self-employed careers are as resilient as possible? In the next FJ&Co panel discussion, we're going to share what practicals steps freelancers can take to secure their self-employed careers for whatever the future holds. The panellists are: Kate Hutchinson, freelance culture journalist and broadcaster; Lauretta Ihonor, founder of career change platform The Ambition Plan, and award-winning freelancer and digital nomad, Lauren Razavi. The event will take place on April 17th, 7PM at the Ace Hotel. Tickets available here.


Dollyvision

Ralph’s always keeping watch over his big sis. Neither of them have opinions on the new-look newsletter, though.


Calls for pitches


The reading list

The #FairPayForFreelancers campaign (which now has over 1,000 signatures!) was mentioned in the Financial Times this week. How to work from home and stay healthy. Banish self-doubt and focus on staying present. FJ&Co alum Alex Holder on why she revealed her book advance. The rotten side of self-publishing. The tools digital journalists can use to save their work if a website shuts down (this is old but very relevant now).


Testimonials

Meena Thiru: Really love this newsletter. It's become a highlight of my week - thanks for doing this!