Marie is the Buffalo go-to for all things freelance. Ten years ago, Marie Rachelle Pazych started her freelancing career in marketing, writing, and social media. As she’s learned more about the industry and faced challenges herself, Marie has become an advocate for freelancers’ rights throughout New York State and across the nation. Her mission is to create and assist the local freelance community in her hometown of WNY, and she hopes to see a ripple effect as she seeks to educate and provide resources for freelancers, and more specifically, females in the industry. Women in the workplace face many challenges, and the freelancing industry isn’t any different. Marie points out that freelancers are the smallest of the small businesses, and those in the industry deserve to be heard.
Companies expect workers to have several skills for little pay when they can, alternatively, hire people who are experts in their skill sets for a more cost-effective term. In other words, why not hire freelancers who have extensive experience and talent in their field instead of hiring one worker who has little to no experience in a particular aspect of their job? She states that the viewpoint needs to change, and as a result, more freelancers will be hired. Not only will this help the freelancing community, but corporations and startups will actually be more successful in the long run.
Challenges Women Face in the Freelancing Industry
As a freelancer turned entrepreneur, Marie has extensive knowledge of the industry. The pros of the job quickly stand out: you can work when you want and set your own prices. Easy, right? Not so much. Freelancers face many problems, and female freelancers face a particular set of challenges:
1) The wage gap. Women are so used to earning less than men, but it’s important to remember your worth and charge what you deserve.
2) Stigmas. There are stigmas that make freelancing out to be an “easy” career choice - but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
3) Lack of understanding from outsiders. There is a general lack of understanding and education surrounding freelance work; freelancers are business owners who should be paid fairly.
4) Discrimination. Freelancing can be your first, second, or third career. It doesn’t matter what age or sex you are - anyone can freelance with the unique skillset they have, and discrimination shouldn’t hold anyone back.
5) Finding clients. It’s easier to take jobs offered to you than it is to wait for opportunities that will pay you fairly for your work. Know your worth!
6) Isolation. Many freelancers work from home or in a remote setting, which can be isolating, especially for freelancers who don’t have a sense of community within the industry.
7) Running a business. Freelancers are not only running their own businesses; they’re also working for their own businesses! This dedication deserves to be applauded and well-compensated.
Another significant issue in the freelancing industry is nonpayment. To combat this, Marie was involved in getting the “Freelance Isn’t Free” bill passed in New York State in 2022. This bill establishes and enhances the rights of freelancers in New York, which will protect freelancers from being financially jilted.
Freelancing Females began as a Facebook group out of Brooklyn, NY in 2017. As more and more women began using the platform to share their experiences, ask questions, and network, the organization began offering a paid membership option. Member-turned-new Director of Partnerships, Marie’s job is to partner with companies that are interested in paid partnerships, which will provide more opportunities for freelancers in terms of developing working relationships and referring businesses to one another. Some members have even teamed up to start their own companies! Now, Freelancing Females has a membership of over a quarter of a million women, making it more powerful than ever before.
Freelance Buffalo & Beyond: Convergence Coworking
Marie was inspired by Freelancing Females to bring a freelancing networking event to the Buffalo area. So, in 2019, she hosted the very first week-long Freelance Buffalo event, a conference she plans to host yearly as the Executive Director. The purpose of Freelance Buffalo & Beyond is to help freelancers make connections that will positively impact their businesses such as meeting one another, developing working relationships, and growing their businesses through connections across upstate New York!
Marie continues to make a difference in the Buffalo area with her newest business endeavor: Convergence Coworking. She purchased a building in the midst of the pandemic to develop it into Buffalo’s first coworking space for freelancers in the area to work alongside each other. Now, Convergence Coworking hosts Freelance Buffalo & Beyond!
3 Crucial Freelancing Tips
Her involvement in Buffalo’s local freelancing community has inspired Marie’s leadership in Freelancing Females as well as Freelance Buffalo & Beyond and Convergence Coworking. As a trusted freelance businesswoman, Marie shares three important tips for female freelancers:
1) Know your value. Women are used to earning less than men, so it’s important to consider value-based pricing. Earn the rate you’re worth! Research your skillset, take what you think you should earn, and double it.
2) Treat yourself as the business owner you are. You’re running a female-owned business, so you should be earning money to treat yourself as such.
3) Work with good people you’re passionate about. You may be tempted to pick up any job, but it’s more important to work with people who value your partnership and pay you for your worth. You’re a service provider (not an employee!) who deserves to be treated with respect.
Marie grew up near Ellicottville and is a true Buffalonian. She loves Buffalo and everything the city has to offer. Specifically, she sees this traditional city growing to be more progressive. She hopes to continue this trend with her up-and-coming coworking spaces and wants to see it spread to Rochester and other nearby cities! Marie seeks to help pave the way for more innovative business ideas in Buffalo, too. She states that we need to tell, teach, and prove to Buffalonians that these opportunities are worth it. Most importantly, she wants to help provide freelancing resources to her community that she didn’t receive.