Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Freelance Institute?

The Freelance Institute is a private (and paid) Slack workspace dedicated to helping freelancers learn and grow. Anyone can join and chat live with other freelancers from all over the world.

Who runs The Freelance Institute?

Matt Olpinski is our creator 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. 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.

How many members are in the community right now?

As of May 19, 2020 we have 67 total community members. The Freelance Insitute opened for the first time on January 1st, 2019 and has been slowly growing ever since.

How active is the community?

Our community is active (we've surpassed 10,000 messages), but since it's still young and growing, you won't see messages flying every few minutes. Since our channels are topical, some are naturally more active than others. Conversations tend to be less frequent, but they're packed with insight and value from experts. As our community grows, conversations will naturally happen more often! You can also view our chat page to see a live preview of our workspace.

Is this community right for me?

We think you'll love our community if you're: 1) newer to freelancing and have a lot of questions 2) aren't sure where to get the best freelancing advice and just want to talk to other freelancers 3) are an experienced freelancer with some questions, but you just want to chat with other people and make personal connections.

Our community is 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 and referrals. You also might not like our community if you need to see tons of conversations happening every day. Our conversations are high-quality, but our community is still young and growing.

If you're still on the fence, email our creator and community manager Matt Olpinski at join@thefreelanceinstitute.com and ask more questions!

How much does it cost to join?

You can choose between our $10 monthly plan or our $79 lifetime access plan. Monthly plans can be canceled at any time without needing to contact our support team. Lifetime plans come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.

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!

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 like having a conversation in real-time 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 starting a freelance business, we'd love to help you learn more. The community is perfect for anyone running their own business, freelancing, self-employed, or just interested!

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 in channels so in the rare event someone gives bad advice, others will jump in and share a different perspective. 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 responses, but our community is active and growing steadily. It's likely that someone will respond within a few minutes (especially Matt, our community manager), but it can sometimes take a few hours or even a day 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 a channel so anyone can respond quickly with feedback and guidance.

Can I send private 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 Slack, you can also send direct messages anyone else in the entire community. You can even do screen-shares and video calls!

Can I cancel my subscription?

Yes! You can cancel your subscription at any time or update your billing info in your own account! We're using Gumroad for subscriptions, which gives you total control over your email address, billing info, and subscription 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 support@thefreelanceinstitute.com 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 subscription 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 join@thefreelanceinstitute.com 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 message Matt (Admin) in the Slack 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.

Why Slack?

A live chatroom like Slack isn't good for building a knowledge-base. Thankfully, that's not our goal. We want to facilitate instant communication between freelancers all over the world so we can learn from each other and get our biggest questions answered quickly. Slack is perfect for that, but we are keeping an eye on the latest technologies as well. If there's a better platform in the future, we may switch to that instead!