Freelancer Lifeline is a resource destination where FX members can find grant opportunities, loan information, digital events, creative tools, and more. We hope it serves as a source of comfort, inspiration, and support as we navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic together.

FX March Luncheon

March 31 @ 11:30 am 1:00 pm

How to Better Connect with People

About this event:

Please join The Freelance Exchange at Union on the Hill as we welcome Dr. Charlie Cartwright. Dr. Cartwright believes the common denominator in virtually every business challenge is people. Understanding how to connect with them in a meaningful way is essential for personal and professional success. During this presentation, Dr. Cartwright will provide the audience with a fresh approach to achieving this in a sustainable way.

Lunch options include:

• Chop Chop Salad: mixed greens, arugula, carrots, broccoli, radicchio, smoked edamame, chickpeas, smoked gouda, pepperoncini, cider oregano vinaigrette

• The Brussels Flatbread: garlic cream sauce, Brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, jalapeño, smoked bacon, aged cheddar

• Tacos: (3) soft corn tortillas, roasted tomato salsa, black beans, roasted corn on the cob, choice of: BRAISED SHORT RIB – pickled onion & cilantro, PULLED PORK – cilantro & onion, SHREDDED CHICKEN – lettuce, pico de gallo, cheddar & jack cheeses

• Mahi Mahi Sandwich: blackened, creole remoulade, boston lettuce, tomato, house fries

Members and nonmembers are welcome. Networking starts at 11:30 a.m. with the presentation at noon.

To participate in the in-person luncheon, you must RSVP by March 30.

In Person – Members: $25 / Guests: $35
Virtual – Members: FREE / Guests: $10

Be sure to register in advance on Eventbrite in order to gain access to the Zoom link.

Questions? Contact [email protected]

Disclaimer: You understand that by attending this in-person event hosted by The Freelance Exchange of Kansas City that you’re doing so voluntarily and that it could result in illness, personal injury, or death. If any such event does occur, you agree not to hold The Freelance Exchange liable and not sue the organization, its board members, members, or sponsors.

About the speaker:

Dr. Charlie Cartwright is the founder of The Company Culture Doctor, a consulting firm based in the Kansas City area whose sole purpose is to bring out the best in leaders and their teams. Dr. Charlie is also the creator of the “People Success Formula.” It is the result of a three-decades-long meta-analysis of what drives human behavior. His research clearly illuminated the path to unlocking human potential. “If you want to move mountains, first you must move people. Then those people will move the mountains.” – Dr. Charlie

Union on the Hill

2976 Gillham Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64108 United States
+ Google Map

FX is Now Celebrating 20 Years!

January 2023 marked 20 years for The Freelance Exchange of Kansas City.

Twenty years of helping advertising and marketing freelancers in the KC region and beyond. Twenty years of serving as KC’s premier, free, and easy-to-use resource to find freelance talent.

So, how did FX come to be?

Here’s the story as told by our Founder, Julie Cortés:

“It all started on a whim. I’d been very active and serving on the board of a large industry organization. When my term came to an end, I wondered what was next.

I looked around at the existing professional clubs in town and wondered why no one had anything specifically for freelancers … no discounted rates for membership or events, no programming directed at the self-employed, no nothing.

Even though I’d made these requests while active in the one organization, no one seemed to care. Yet, I knew there was a huge need for it.

So, I decided to do something about it.

I was familiar with an effort that local industry headhunter, Don Dye (may he rest in peace), had spearheaded previously, getting a small group of freelancers together for lunch on a regular basis. I also knew that, at that point in time, he’d had to hang up his hat in doing that when he went to take a full-time job.

Not wanting to step on toes, I called him up to see if I could resurrect the idea. “You have at it, kid!” he told me.

And so I did.

I opened up my Rolodex and industry club roster, and emailed roughly 50 freelancers, asking to get together. In January of 2003, we met at McCoy’s in Westport where about 20 people showed up.

Everyone seemed to love the idea of a community just for freelancers. Ideas were running rampant. “You should do monthly luncheons!” “You should have a freelance directory!” “You should have a ‘company’ holiday party!”

The energy was inspiring. Yet I knew I couldn’t do it alone.

I asked for volunteers and was able to quickly form a board of directors. We got to work and wrote bylaws, club policies, developed a brand, planned programs, and determined membership levels and pricing.

Within six months we were up and running as an official not-for-profit 501(c)6 industry organization and, just a couple months after that, we’d already surpassed 100 members!”

Things just took off from there. FX hosted its first Portfolio Showcase that next year, produced a printed and digital membership directory, and held plenty of monthly educational and social events. Throughout the years, it’s hosted award shows, participated in philanthropy efforts, and helped plan holiday parties with other local industry clubs.

The club was founded on a mission of offering continuing education and community for advertising/marketing freelancers, while also serving as a resource to make it easy for ad agencies and businesses alike to find freelance talent they needed.

That mission continues to this day as we continue to find innovative ways to inspire, motivate, and gather. In addition to our monthly luncheons and social meetups, we continue the tradition of the Portfolio Showcase and joint holiday party, while additionally offering a Freelance Bootcamp and other educational, networking, outreach, and promotional opportunities. 

We are forever grateful to the volunteers who’ve helped us achieve this big milestone, the sponsors and associate members who’ve helped fund our efforts, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of freelancers who’ve come through our doors throughout the years.

As we look back and reflect on the successes of FX throughout the last 20 years, we can’t help but be excited for what the next 20 have in store.

Not a member? Join today. Need a freelancer? Find freelance talent here.

Want to get involved? Attend an upcoming event or volunteer.

Stay up-to-date with all things FX. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or sign up for our email newsletter.

FX is Proud to Support the Freelancers Union

It was a pivotal moment in early January: literally freelancers supporting freelancers. The Freelance Exchange (FX) of Kansas City presented a significant donation to the Freelancers Union in New York City. With a large Publisher’s Clearinghouse-type check, our member-at-large, Jeremy Lips, hand-delivered this surprise in person. You may have seen the picture or video on social media.

What is the Freelancers Union?

Freelancers Union is the largest organization representing the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. workforce: independent workers. It offers a powerful support system and voice through policy advocacy, benefits, resources, and community. Its goal is to secure a better future for freelancers as a whole.

Since it was founded in 1995, the organization has:

  • provided high-quality, affordable, and portable health insurance
  • advocated for new healthcare models for the self-employed
  • fought for and won protections for freelance workers
  • enacted the Freelance Isn’t Free legislation, giving freelancers protections from nonpayment. 

How is FX Working with Freelancers Union?

In the spring of 2022, our founder and president, Julie Cortés, was invited to speak at and sit on a panel at a regional conference in western New York. Sitting alongside her on the panel was Freelancers Union’s president and executive director Rafael Espinal. Since meeting, the two have been Zooming regularly to discuss the different ways FX and the Union can work together. 

As it’s always been a dream to take FX national, this seemed like a good place to start. If you look around, you’ll see that other industry-related organizations such as Ad Club, AIGA, PRSA, BMA, Social Media Club, etc., all have a national presence … chapters in other cities as well as a national umbrella for club management and national benefits. There are no national professional organizations just for freelancers. Now celebrating our 20-year anniversary, and knowing we’ve got a successful business model, what better time than the present to see this dream come true? 

The second part of this partnership is to introduce and help pass the Freelance Isn’t Free (FIF) Law here in Kansas City, if not statewide in Missouri and Kansas as well. This groundbreaking law is designed to protect freelancers from nonpayment. How many of you have received late payments from clients … or no payments at all? Unfortunately, it happens all too often. This is exactly what the legislation aims to combat. 

This law would apply to both sole proprietors and those incorporated as either an independent LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp. Since its inception in 2017, FIF has passed already in New York City, Minneapolis, and Seattle. Los Angeles is currently under review. While a national law would be ideal, these baby steps will help move us toward that pie in the sky. Our goal is to bring it to the Midwest to help protect freelancers here, as well as to set an example and encourage those in other smaller to midsize cities to do the same. To learn more, visit the law’s plain language guide here.

Couldn’t We Do This on Our Own?

We could, but why reinvent the wheel? 

Freelancers Union has the national connections to help us reach our goal of taking FX national. While the concept ought to be easily replicated in other cities, the problem lies in finding the movers and shakers (the volunteers) in those other cities to run the organization. Between its national (free) membership and community events, Freelancers Union has those connections

Additionally, Freelancers Union has literally written the playbook and put together the toolkit to help introduce, advocate, and pass the Freelance Isn’t Free law. They’ve already been helping us in identifying and contacting the appropriate local representatives and have provided guidance with the language of the proposed Law for the Missouri state legislature. 

This donation was approved unanimously amongst The Freelance Exchange Board, as we feel it will help strengthen our bond with the Freelancers Union, show a vested interest, and help us continue to give back to the freelance community. 

We are excited for what the future holds and cannot wait to see our dreams come to fruition!

If you have any questions or want to get involved with any of these efforts, please contact us. If you’d like to make a donation as well to the Freelancers Union, you can do that here

Freelance Web Designers and Developers Enter Field from Other Professions

Isn’t it interesting how skills developed in one field ultimately redirect you into a vastly different career? Some of The Freelance Exchange’s web designers and developers are prime examples of this phenomenon.

For instance, Brian White started building up expertise to support his skate company. After teaching himself logo design, White screen printed shirts, hats, and other clothes in his garage to sell around town. He got into web design and development so he could sell his wares online.

“I learned the basics and built a new site for my company every six months,” he wrote in response to a questionnaire we sent to all of FX’s web design and development members. “This taught me the skills to … do outside business, and I started making websites for other companies.”

The road to becoming a freelance web designer and developer began for Sarah Humphrey when she worked as an urban planning consultant.

Her company needed someone to create websites that supported its projects. She embraced the opportunity because it played to her strengths of writing and organizing information, and because it combined creativity with technical skills.

It was certainly not lost on her that she was also mastering high-demand skills.

But LuLu Cao might win the prize for the most unconventional path into freelance web design and development. With a master’s degree in philosophy from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Cao has taught college-level courses in her field.

The pivot to a full-stack developer seems like less of a leap when Cao explains her interest in philosophy, a passion she would pursue full time were it not for the real-world concerns of finance and employment. Philosophy, Cao wrote, cultivates critical thinking and challenges beliefs.

“It’s the most useful discipline in developing one’s knowledge and wisdom,” she wrote.

That sure sounds like a good underpinning for work as a freelance web designer and developer.

The field of web design and development has certainly changed through the years.

Our respondents noted a lot more drag-and-drop functions, the proliferation of do-it-yourself options, the emergence of mobile apps, and the explosion of e-commerce.

But don’t be fooled, they said.

The work is not easy and freelance web designers and developers are not interchangeable.

Doing the work right takes skill and patience, Humphrey wrote. She advised web freelancers to use all the free and low-cost tools available online to learn new skills.

One of the most common misperceptions of the field, White wrote, is that the work is easy and anyone can do it. “There are things in this field that literally take five-plus years to learn.”

As Humphrey and Cao demonstrate, web work is not just a guy thing. That is a misguided belief that Cao would like to put to rest.

“I know many excellent female programmers who have expressed tremendous enthusiasm and shown great talents in coding, learning to code, and solving coding challenges,” she wrote.

Yet as technical as the skills are, succeeding as a freelance web designer and developer still requires old-school concepts of customer service and perseverance.

Think small steps and be consistent, White advised, and don’t think success will come overnight. Earning five-star reviews and referrals are the way to go.

“When people are ‘behind’ you, they will drop your name to others and the work will roll in,” he wrote. “This is the best way to build a business and takes time.”

Humphrey also noted that, while it’s important to stay up on the technological changes in the field, it’s just as important to keep the client’s needs in mind.

Remember, she wrote, “clients usually need one good solution for their digital marketing needs — they are more interested in making sure it achieves their marketing objectives than knowing it is the absolute newest way of doing something.”

The FX of KC is for Freelancers, Contractors, Consultants and whatever else you call yourself. There’s a place for you here! Want to learn more about FX of KC

Volunteer to Level Up Your Business and Find Freelance Success

Would you believe? One of the secrets to finding freelance success is to get involved.

Get involved with organizations (like The Freelance Exchange!) … but don’t just join. Get the most out of your membership by becoming an active member. Go to events, participate in conversations in person and online, and yes, volunteer on committees and serve on boards.

That’s the pro tip. That’s the secret sauce.

That’s how so many of our FX members have found freelance success. By volunteering.


Because people like to work with (and refer!) those whom they know, like and trust.

So, you need to become that person!

People will send you work and referrals when they know:

  • WHO you are
  • that you’ll do good work
  • you’re reliable

And a great way to do that is by giving back to the community.

In doing so, you can create a name for yourself and your business. You can establish and improve your professional reputation. And you can be rewarded greatly with new business and find freelance success.

Not only will you get warm fuzzies when you volunteer, you’ll also get to have your voice heard AND be able to make a difference for our organization and members.

Think of it as Part of Your Marketing Strategy

You probably post on social media. Maybe you have a website. You might send emails. What else can you do to improve your company’s reputation?

Obviously, there are tons of opportunities for self-promotion. And, if you’re self-employed, you may very well be seeking out free or inexpensive options to do so.

Newsflash! Volunteering fits that bill.

Just think … you could join a committee and help out with simple tasks. You could serve on the board as a Chair or Director, helping lead special projects or events. OR, you could even share your leadership skills on the Exec Board, helping guide the ship.

Each and every time you volunteer—in whatever capacity—you get the chance to:

  • rub elbows with movers and shakers
  • take ownership of the organization
  • and be rewarded for your hard work

This is one very easy way to put your company on the map. And find freelance success with free PR!

Just by donating a bit of time here and there, you get plenty of opportunities to share about it!

You’ll now have an added reason to share something on social media. You can add that impressive bullet point on your bio or résumé. You could add it to your website and/or FX portfolio page. You might be listed on a leadership page. You might win a Volunteer of the Month award and get added recognition. You could even get a special name tag. Plus, as a bonus, you’ll make new friends!

There are endless benefits to volunteering. You just have to put yourself out there. Level up your business by volunteering, and reap the rewards with more referrals and more business.

Interested in serving on a committee or on the board for FX? Check out our current needs and openings, and throw your name in the hat today!