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How to Join the Guilded Media Workers' Cooperative

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Welcome back to our look at cooperative media-making. So far we've looked at a creator-owned subscription platform and how to split streaming revenue on a YouTube video.

Billing, gear, website, social media, taxes, and health: it's all on you. Freelancing can be a tough gig and it can often leave you feeling like you are on your own, but there is support available!

In this article, we'll take a look at how and why you might join Guilded, a worker cooperative for media makers that provides access to services that are usually difficult to get as an independent contractor. Let's get into it!

How to Join Guilded

To start things off, Guilded is for residents of the United States. If you're from outside the States you can use this article as a jumping point to learn about the types of resources out there for freelancers.

Joining the Guilded Co-op is a simple process. You'll just need to fill out the request form and the team will send you all the information you'll need to start the process to become a full member. Co-ops are owned by their members and collectively run, and Guilded is no different. In the intake process you should expect a rundown on how everything works and a bit of a discussion with a moderator, so that you can ask any questions and to see if your goals and expectations are a good match.

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The Services

When you join Guilded you get access to a few services.

Supplementary Health Benefits

Guilded health benefits cover preventative health, vision, dental, coaches and therapists. They are not a substitutes for traditional health insurance; this means you can pair Guilded's supplementary health coverage with separate insurance options.

Guilded insurance gives access to Direct Primary Care Clinics (DPCs). DPCs provide primary care, reduced prescription prices, and lab work. They are outside of the health insurance models of PPO, HMO and POS, and charge monthly fees, and typically do not charge co-pays for in-person or tele-health care.
If you sign up for Direct Primary Care Clinic access through the co-op, Guilded pays your monthly subscription fee to your nearest DPC.
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Tax Preparation

Guilded can give you attentive, hands on support for all things tax preparation. This will help you get the most from your tax returns, and keep good records.

Get Paid Better: Help With Contracts and Invoicing 

Chasing clients to pay up is something every freelancer dreads, and it happens far too often! It's a waste of your time, and it messes up the cash flow for your business. And, if you've ever had a client stall by threatening to sue, you know how stressful it can be to handle non-payment.
The idea here is to provide co-op members with stability and a guarantee of payment. If you haven't violated your contract and your client won't pay up, Guilded will pay you the exact amount of your invoice and then seek payment on your behalf. You get back to making awesome media, they handle your problem client.
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Membership Dues and Service Fees

Guilded offers a lot to the independent contractor. So, how does it work?

Guilded has free membership for freelancers who have contracts equal or more than $750 processed through the co-op, a pretty modest and reachable amount. They do charge a fee per invoice; every contract processed with Guilded has a 6.5% service charge added, which you can pass on to the customer.

This is a pretty interesting model. Remember that, as a cooperative, Guilded is owned by the members. That means there is no profit-margin added to the fees: 100% of the fees go directly back into running the service, and any surplus is shared by the members.

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Joining any co-op can has costs and benefits, so make sure that you feel like it's a good fit. That said, Guilded has a smart setup and provides the excellent service of protecting and advocating for the self-employed media worker.

Thanks for following along, and make sure to check out more articles and tutorials for media freelancers here on Envato Tuts+.

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