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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is The Freelance Institute?

The Freelance Institute is a private (and paid) community dedicated to helping freelancers learn, grow, connect, and thrive. Members can post questions and get answers directly from other experienced freelancers, meet new people in interest groups, stay connected, get access to valuable resources, events, and more. All freelancers and remote-workers are welcome to join and discuss freelancing directly with other freelancers from all over the world.

Who runs The Freelance Institute?

Matt Olpinski is our founder and community manager. He's been a freelance web designer and developer for over a decade and loves helping other freelancers learn how to find their own version of success by giving tailored, detailed answers to their questions. He created The Freelance Institute not only to help more people succeed at freelancing, but also to connect freelancers all over the world with each other. His wife Rachel is a freelance makeup artist and esthetician and also serves as a community manager! You can learn more about Matt here.

Do you offer free trials?

No, but you can join for FREE with limited access and preview the community without needing to log in! Monthly memberships are $12 and you can cancel anytime — no annual commitments. If you join our community and decide to leave within 30 days, you'll only be charged the initial $12 for the first month.

How many members are in the community right now?

As of March 2021 we have about 65 active community members. The Freelance Institute opened for the first time on January 1st, 2019 and has been slowly growing ever since. However, in January 2021, we moved from Slack to Circle. Unfortunately, most of the previous conversations weren't able to be transferred and we lost members during the transition so if you're wondering why the community seems small for being over 2 years old, that's a big reason why! Read more about why we transitioned here.

How active is the community?

Our community is very active and our conversations are extremely high-quality. But in January 2021 we transitioned from Slack to Circle and weren't able to transfer our content since the platforms are so different. Our members are adjusting to the new platform so if things don't seem active on the surface right now, that's why. As our community grows, conversations will happen even more frequently!

Is this community right for me?

We think you'll love our community if you're newer to freelancing and have a lot of questions or just want to meet and chat with other freelancers like yourself. If you're willing to contribute and learn from others, you'll love it here.

However, our community is probably not right for you if you don't plan to stay actively engaged, have nothing to contribute (questions, comments, links, etc), or if you're desperately seeking freelance jobs, referrals, and resources.

If you're still on the fence, email our founder and community manager Matt Olpinski at and ask more questions!

How much does it cost to join?

You can actually join for FREE with limited access. You can also choose from 3 membership options on our pricing page: $12 per month, $96 per year, or $192 for lifetime access. Monthly and annual plans can be canceled at any time without needing to contact our support team. Lifetime plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

Can I upgrade from a monthly plan to a lifetime plan?

Yes! Our plan options are powered by Gumroad, which puts you in control of your membership. If you want to switch, just cancel your monthly plan and purchase the lifetime plan instead. Previous payments will not count as a discount toward the lifetime plan. If you have more questions, email us at!

Why charge for access? This should be free!

We charge for community access to keep the members and conversations high-quality and avoid a biased vetting process. Our community is valuable, and we believe that when members pay, they will stay more actively engaged. This also helps us maintain our website and add more community features such as apps and integrations to deliver the best freelancing content to you!

However, you can join for free with limited access and "try before you buy".

What's the purpose of this community?

Our community was created to help freelancers make personal connections with like-minded people, learn faster, make better decisions, and avoid costly business mistakes. Blogs, newsletters, eBooks, and YouTube channels are all great ways to learn, but there's nothing quite as valuable as having conversations with other freelancers walking the same path as you!

I'm not an expert... is this still for me?

Absolutely. In fact, you are the reason why this community exists. You have no obligation to answer questions, but remember that you've had experiences that someone else hasn't. That makes you valuable even if you’re just starting out or feel like your floundering right now. You are awesome, you are welcomed, and you are encouraged to be bold and share your thoughts!

I'm not a freelancer... is this still for me?

While anyone is welcome to join, but you should have a vested interest in freelancing. Otherwise, this community might not be as valuable to you. If you're thinking about becoming a freelancer, we invite you to join so we can help you navigate the transition! The community is perfect for anyone running their own business, freelancing, self-employed, or just interested in freelancing!

How do I know I'll get good advice?

Our creator and community manager Matt Olpinski has personally been a successful freelancer for over a decade. Our community is filled with many hand-picked experts into the community. Questions are always publicly visible and searchable in our spaces and everything is moderated. We encourage everyone to join the conversations so you'll get answers from many sources, not just one. You can also follow-up with any additional questions you might have!

How long will it take to answer my questions?

We can't guarantee immediate responses, but our community is active and it's likely you'll get an answer within an hour or two — and definitely within the same day. However, please keep in mind that responses can take longer depending on what time zone you're in and when people are awake. Notifications and work schedules also factor into response time, but we do our best! We encourage you to ask your questions in public spaces (not private messages) so anyone can respond quickly with feedback and guidance.

Can I send direct messages?

Absolutely! Some questions (especially financial ones) are more personal. You might not want the whole community to know if you’re struggling with payments or invoices. With Circle, you can also send direct messages anyone else in the entire community.

Can I cancel my membership?

Yes! You can cancel your membership at any time or update your billing info in your own account! We're using Gumroad for membership, which gives you total control over your email address, billing info, and membership access. You can find the cancel button at the bottom of any email receipt from your purchase. If you have any questions, you can email Matt Olpinski at and he'll be happy to help!

Do you have an affiliate program?

Yes! We have a generous 30% affiliate program in place for both our recurring membership and lifetime membership options. You don't even have to be a member to become an affiliate! Visit our affiliate page (in the footer of this website) for more details or email Matt Olpinski at to start sharing our community with your audience!

How do I manage my account?

Since you're purchasing your subscription via Gumroad, that is also where you will manage your account. This includes things like VAT taxes, invoicing, payment reminders, and more. Just visit the Gumroad Help Center if you have more questions or direct message Matt Olpinski in the Circle community!

Is this tax deductible?

Yes! If you're freelancing even part-time, you can deduct your paid membership as a learning/educational expense and we'll be happy to provide any documentation you might need to that end.