What are you trying to achieve with Howbox?
Today there are about 5 million self-employed people in the UK, over a million agency workers, countless freelancers, contractors, and gig workers in every walk of life, and plenty more setting up businesses and side hustles.
We want to help these independent workers take more control of their working lives.
And we want to do it by introducing you to tools, tips, and tactics, rights, campaigns and ways to organise, helping you learn from others’ experiences, and discover social enterprises and unions that can help, as well as products and services too.
For now we’re focusing on temps and freelancers, but in time we plan to have more information for other independent workers too. We’re focused on England and Wales for now.
We’re all about:
Helping each other – If you’ve got a problem as an independent worker, someone else has probably solved it before. Howbox is a place to share the knowhow. We want to grow a community of independent workers who help each other out. Working independently doesn’t mean you’re working alone.
Boldness – Whether you’re a campaigner, a startup, or a freelancer trying to hustle, succeeding as the ‘little guy’ takes boldness, determination, and resilience. We enjoy learning from those success stories.
Clarity and practicality – Whether we’re showing you a new product or service, explaining the law, or showing you how to negotiate on rights or money, we do our best to keep everything clear and practical.
Savviness – If you’re working, you have rights. We want everyone to know what they are and be savvy and confident about using them. You wouldn’t let a shop take advantage of you as a consumer; you shouldn’t let a company take advantage of you as an independent worker. We want to see a cultural shift towards work rights being as well understood as consumer rights.
Power – Power matters. Big companies sometimes take advantage of independent workers because they have more power in the relationship. But independent workers often have more power than they think, legally, collectively, and over the reputation of the big companies they work with. Howbox will explain how to use it.
Making the system work for independent workers – More of us are working independently than ever, but it’s still too hard to make a secure living and build a good life from many types of independent work. We want to help change that. That’s why as well as suggesting immediate solutions to a problem, we also link you to campaigners who can change attitudes, improve enforcement, and change the law to make the whole system work better for independent workers.
Our long-term goal is to build the best source of advice for independent workers.
If you want to keep in touch with our progress and get our best articles and answers straight to your inbox, sign up here.
Who’s behind Howbox?
Howbox was co-founded by Jenny Imhoff and Asher Dresner.
Jenny has worked as a freelancer on startups, technology projects and in the social space. She has seen first hand the effects of automation and new forms of working.
Asher has worked as a freelance writer on and off since 2008, including writing speeches for a Leader of the Opposition.
Between us we’ve been freelancers, contractors, temps, remote workers, volunteers, and unemployed.
We’ve seen some of the issues independent workers face. We’ve struggled to make sense of how to pay taxes as nomad freelancers, posted small business questions on Facebook in the hope that someone knows someone, and experienced the power imbalance of not knowing whether a temporary contract is fair.
These issues play out at the macro level as well in terms of wage stagnation, rising insecure self-employment, and eroding labour bargaining power.
We know how challenging and precarious independent work can be, practically and emotionally, but also how rewarding it can be in terms of freedom, opportunity, and fulfilment.
Thanks are also due to David Campion, Adrian Gregory, Bryce Johnson, and all our contributors.
Can Howbox cover a certain topic?
We can’t promise, but if your topic is relevant and popular, we’ll do our best.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I ask a question on the 'Ask' forum?
Go to the ‘Ask’ section here.
Select the most relevant area from ‘life,’ ‘money,’ ‘rights’ or ‘tools.’
Then scroll down until you see ‘Create New Topic.’
Write a short ‘topic title’ in the first box, and ask your question in the second, bigger box.
Hit ‘Submit’ and you’re done.
Do I need to set up a profile to post a question or an answer?
No. You can ask anonymously.
If you make a profile, though, you can add your name and picture and choose to receive alerts when someone answers your question.
How do I report a post that breaches the community guidelines?
Email us at email@example.com.
Howbox has helped me! How can I thank you?
Write and tell us about how we’ve helped! firstname.lastname@example.org
And if you do, please tell us if you’re happy for us to publish your story, and whether you’d be happy for us to mention your name if we do.
The story of how you’ve solved a problem could give someone else the confidence to do the same.
Can I advertise on Howbox?
If you’re interested in advertising on Howbox, drop us an email on email@example.com and we’ll decide whether there’s a good fit.
How does Howbox make money?
For now, we’re a self-funded project. We’ve built this on evenings, weekends, and days off work.
We’re ambitious about the future of Howbox and aspire to be the leading business for providing information and advice for independent workers.
How can you be independent if you’re funded by ads?
We’re glad you asked. We think that advertising and trustworthy, independent content can coexist if managed transparently and sensitively. We also see it as our job to retain your trust with our content and editorial decisions.
So, when we begin to work with paying advertisers, we will be following our Editorial Policy.
I love what you’re doing. How can I help?
Well thank you. Very nice of you to say.
There are plenty of ways you can help. Here are a few:
Spread the word – Retweet us. Share our articles. Print an article out and show your gran. Blog about us. Invite us onto your podcast. Tell your friends, families, and the temp/freelancer/contractor in your life. We want Howbox to help as many people as possible, so spreading the word helps.
Ask or answer – Next time you have a relevant question, ask it in our ‘Ask’ section, or answer somebody else’s question.
Join our community email – We have plenty of exciting plans for campaigns we want to run on issues affecting independent workers. By joining you’ll hear about them first, and help us make them a success. Sign up here.
Help grow our network – Our ‘Ask’ forum will thrive if we build it up as a community. If you know anyone who could write helpful, well-informed, and wise answers which could help independent workers take more control of their working lives, you can help us by introducing them to us. And if you know someone who has a cause, campaign, product, or service which would help independent workers, tell them about the forum.