Hello Chicagoland EFA,

At our May 26 meeting, several members met and discussed red-flag clients, or how to tell if a client will be a problem. Personal horror stories were shared, as well as a few strategies to avoid problem clients in the future.

Also announced at the meeting: Beginning in September, we will hold in-person meetings quarterly with virtual meetings held monthly in between.

For our June virtual meeting, Jen Singer will share the latest news on the PRO Act. Singer is a writer, speaker, and cofounder of Fight for Freelancers USA. The meeting will be held June 23 and will start at 5:30 p.m. Registration is both required and limited (register here), and the meeting is open to EFA members only.

We hope to see you there!


Kandy Hopkins, Amy Spungen, and Tamaal Rodgers
EFA Chicagoland Chapter Co-coordinators


Freelancing can be a dark and lonely road—but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Join our Slack chat group (email us for an invite link), which is open to both EFA members and nonmembers alike. Channels include chat, marketing, and job opportunities.


  • High-Speed Internet Help. The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, a Federal Communications Commission program, will cover $50 of monthly internet bills and offer a one-time $100 subsidy for laptops, desktop computers, and tablets to those who qualify. Read more here.
  • What Search Engines Want. Better SEO can not only help your clients, but also your own marketing. With 53% of website traffic coming from organic searches, understanding how search engines rank content has only gotten more important. The Freelance Creative’s Marcie Geffner walks us through a few SEO trends to keep in mind.
  • Better at Excel. Does Microsoft Excel intimidate you? Learn how to use it better with a series of four hour-long courses offered by Roosevelt University, to be held online at 2 p.m. June 8–17. Take ’em all or just sign up for the ones you need: Introduction (June 8), Formulas & Functions (June 10), Tables, Charts & Pivots (June 15), and Data Management, Validation & Macros (June 17).


EFA Board of Governors Elections

Voting is now open for the board of governors elections, which runs through June 14. We are electing one co-executive, one treasurer, and seven members at large. The EFA will email voting instructions on June 1; if you don’t see the email, please check your spam folder. Read the candidate statements here. Results will be announced June 16 at the 2021 EFA virtual annual meeting.

Freelance Income ‘Stable’ in 2020

According to a new report from Fiverr, freelance income remained stable in 2020, with freelancers earning $234 billion (that’s 1.1% of total GDP). Chicago was also named in the top 25 of the most “freelance friendly” cities in the United States, but Miami overtook us to become the third largest market for skilled independents.

Social Media Support Program

The Illinois SBDC at the Chicagoland Chamber announced a new Social Media Support Program for African American-owned small businesses. The program provides selected businesses with a social media manager (20 hours per week for one month) to “become more visible, target customers, and have a stronger digital presence.” To qualify, you must be 100% African American-owned, have fewer than five employees, earn less than $75k in annual revenue (with proof of that revenue), be in business at least one year, have a business website and a FEIN #, be located in Cook County, and be a for-profit business. You also must be a client of the Illinois SBDC (become a client here) and provide a four-week social media plan. Apply online.


Have chapter news, suggestions, or interesting articles, books, apps, or tools you’d like to share? Let us know.


Selected events are listed below. For many more, see the omnicalendar of media- and publishing-related conferences, webinars, and other events of interest to self-employed editorial freelancers, such as classes on marketing, SE taxes, and professional development.

Editorial Freelancers Association events are shown in boldface below.


2 – ACES :: #ACESchat: Diversity Style Guide, 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. ET [Twitter]

2 – Freelancers Union :: Chicago SPARK: Growing Client Bases, 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. CT [online; free]

5 – EFA Northern California :: Comics, Illustration, and Applied Cartooning with Jon Chad, 10:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m. PT [online; free]

5–9 – Society for Technical Communication :: Technical Communication Summit [online; $950–$1,250 nonmember; student, senior, and need-based rates available]

7–18 – Association of University Presses :: Annual Meeting [online]

9 – Shasta-Cascade SBDC :: 25 Low to No Cost Digital Marketing Tools and Resources, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. CT [online; free]

10-12 – National Federation of Press Women :: Annual Conference [online; $125–$250 NFPW member, $195–$325 nonmember]

12–13 – Editors Canada :: Annual Conference: Editors Transform [online]

14 – EFA :: Proofreading and Copyediting with The Chicago Manual of Style (self-paced course) [online; $64 EFA members, $80 nonmembers]

15 – Q2 2021 Estimated Taxes due

15–July 17 – EFA :: Copyediting: Intermediate [online; EFA members $160, nonmembers $200]

16 – ACES :: #ACESchat: Taking Your Editor Website to the Next Level, 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. ET [Twitter]

16 – EFA :: 2021 Annual Meeting, 6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m. ET [online]

17 – ACES :: Microaggressions in Editing: Understanding Bias and Undoing Harm, 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. ET [online; free ACES members, $30 for nonmembers]

23 – EFA Chicagoland :: PRO Act Update with Jen Singer, 5:30 p.m.–7:00 p.m. CT [online; free, registration required]

23–29 – The American Library Association :: Annual Conference & Exhibition [online; $500–$605 nonmembers]

25 – City of Austin Small Business Division :: Marketing Essentials, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. CT [online; free]

Note: Inclusion of non-EFA events does not denote endorsement by the EFA or the Chicagoland Chapter. Submission of an event does not guarantee its publication on the calendar. Events are collected from many sources; any errors or omissions are purely accidental.