AB 5 in California is going to impact many freelancers, so I decided to throw this article together to offer some tips and advice. In my opinion, there are a few things some freelancers should consider doing if they are panicking over AB 5. I won’t spend too much time covering the specifics of AB 5 in California, but I will cover a few things. Then, I will get on with the advice.
AB 5 California: What Is It
In short, AB 5 is a new law taking effect in California in January 2020. The bill is designed to make it harder for “gig companies” like Uber to classify its workers as independents. AB 5 in California is pretty broad and covers an array of independent contractors across many industries.
Who Does It Affect
Companies based in California; Freelancers/independent contractors in California; Companies outside of California but relies on independent contractors based in California may be affected. More specifically, writers, ride-sharing drivers, truck drivers and photographers are a handful of workers that are highly likely going to be affected by AB 5.
People Who Are Panicking And People Who Are Cheering Over AB 5
Writers, photographers, truckers, Uber and other ride-share drivers, food delivery drivers that get work via DoorDash and grocery shoppers who use sites like InstaCart are a handful of people who are likely panicking over the AB 5 bill in California.
There are probably many people in the previously mentioned categories that are cheering for AB 5. In fact, you don’t have to look too hard to find a bunch of supporters, especially among Uber drivers in California.
AB 5 California: 3 Pros
. Employers have to abide by minimum wage laws
. Employers have to offer benefits in accordance to California laws
. Workers are allowed to unionize
AB 5 California: 3 Cons
. Workers potentially (almost a guarantee) lose flexibility to work when they want
. AB 5 is too broad (in my opinion)
. Freelancers could end up making far less if classed as an employee (many freelancers make far more than minimum wage in CA)
Remember, the pros and cons mentioned above is not an extensive list. I chose what I believe are the key pros and cons.
What Freelancers Should Be Doing
Many freelancers in California are bound to be affected by AB 5. California-based writers, musicians, artists, Uber drivers and so on; Should be planning ahead. At the time of this writing (and as previously mentioned), the law kicks in in January 2020. Here’s a few things I think they should be doing:
. Launch A Rideshare App/Service
Think about it, if AB 5 actually goes into effect in January and doesn’t get overturned, then Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies will likely raise their rates for customers. Wouldn’t it be great to offer a much cheaper price than the big names? Well, if you launch an app and meet any state and local requirements (such as licensing, insurance, etc. . .), then you could end up profiting thanks to your own ride-sharing app/service.
Do you drive for Uber, Lyft or other ride-sharing businesses? Maybe you’ve toyed with the idea. With AB 5, California-based ride-sharing drivers like yourself should consider launching your own ride-sharing service/app. Heck, consider it even if you’re not based in California.
. Start A Writing Business
When it comes to AB 5, California based writers of all sorts should look into launching a writing business. This would involve venturing out on your own and getting your own clients instead of relying on writing platforms, news platforms and so forth. SEO writers, those who write general articles on certain writing platforms/websites and even news writers should look into starting their own writing business/website.
Let’s say you’re a journalist, then the current sites you write for may not allow you to publish more than 35 articles in a year. If they do allow you to do this, then they need to class you as an employee. I assume the same goes for writers who write content for writing agencies/platforms.
If you’re a writer of any kind, then launch your own website. Load it up with samples of your articles (if you wish) and start accepting orders. Ok, so there’s a bit more work to getting a writing business started, but it is relatively easy to do. Getting clients can be challenging, but if you keep grinding then eventually you might have a steady flow of good paying clients.
. Create A News Website
As previously mentioned, journalists are expected to be affected by AB 5. California news writers might want to start their own news website or blog. Yes, it will take a bit of time to generate traffic and it will be a ton of work involved because you’ll have to constantly publish news articles day in, day out. But, at least there’s a chance to generate a good amount of revenue and you won’t have to rely on writing for news sites that may decide they don’t want you to publish more than 35 articles in a year.
There’s a number of ways to generate revenue with a news website. Once your traffic grows to a significant amount, then by all means experiment with the various ways to make money with a news website.
. Learn Affiliate Marketing
If you’re any kind of independent contractor in California and you’re concerned that AB 5 is going to affect you, then now may be the time to learn affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is all about promoting products, services, etc. . .; And collecting a commission when your efforts result in a sale. As of now, it doesn’t look like AB 5 in California will affect many affiliate marketers based in the state.
In fact, I believe (not 100% sure though) that “marketing professionals” were listed as one of the few occupations that have been given an exemption. Other job categories that have been exempt include real estate professionals, doctors and lawyers to name a few.
As an affiliate marketer, you have hundreds of thousands of stuff you can potentially promote.
. Master Social Media Ads (start an advertising agency)
Before AB 5 in California goes into effect, maybe you should pick up a few courses about mastering social media ads. Start toying around with a little bit of funds (but only if you can absolutely afford to lose money) as you learn the art of creating social media ads. When you become confident enough that you can generate results, then launch your own social media marketing/advertising agency.
Getting clients at first might be extremely hard. However, the more work you put into your agency and the more you reach out to potential clients, the betters your chances of succeeding will be.
If you’re based in California and you’re a freelancer, then consider doing the above. Even if you’re not based in Cali, maybe you should think about doing them too. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you all the best.