Should Freelancers Ever Work for Free?

You've just been asked to work for free, perhaps with a promise of "great exposure." What should you do?

working for free

Whether it comes from a family member or even a potential new client, most freelancers have been asked to work for no pay. Perhaps the request was from a family member that doesn't realize the amount of time put in to the request, or from a client who would like a trial run before hiring a new freelancer. But should freelancers ever work for free?

The question has stirred up debates among freelancers, some insisting it's necessary to work for free in order to get started, others saying that it devalues the work and brings the price for that work down. There's merit to both sides of the argument – here's what freelancers should consider when they're asked to work for free.

Value matters.

Say you are ordering at a restaurant you've never been to before, and you want a really great pizza. There are two options on the menu– a $5.99 value pizza and a $15.99 deluxe pizza. Which pizza do you think is better? Most consumers will say that $15.99 pizza is better, because there's a value associated with price.

The more an item is priced, the more value people will associate with it. Most will automatically equate that $5.99 pizza with a greasy one-topping pie, and that $15.99 with a topping-filled tasty dinner. The same thing applies to things that are free. When you give your work away for free, it can send a message that you are a low skilled freelancer, because there's little value associated with something that's free.

Since free things have little value, freelancers should never work for free, right? Well, not necessarily. Whether or not a freelancer should do some work for free depends largely on the situation. Here are some examples:

When you should work for free

  • When you are a new freelancer, and you have no portfolio, you may need to work for free so that you have samples to show paid clients. This is just temporary – a few free projects to show what you can do. Don't place free bids for clients actively seeking freelancers; instead try seeking out a nonprofit and volunteering, creating a product for yourself (like a blog or logo) or opportunities such as guest posts that double as a marketing tool.
  • When you work in exchange for marketing. Sometimes, you may not get paid in monetary form, but through exposure. A prime example is the Huffington Post. While they have some paid writers on staff, they publish a lot of guest posts for free. Many writers have grown their business exponentially after guest posting for a large site like Huffington Post, because it offers a big boost in their credentials. That's not to say every freelance writer should write guest posts for free, but for some it is a great marketing tool.
  • When you trade services. Say you are a freelancer writer that needs a new logo, and say you meet a graphic designer that needs to update their website copy. There's certainly nothing wrong with trading services.
  • When the person that's asking is your mom (or someone equally important to you). There's undoubtedly some people in your life that you owe. Just be sure to set a limit and decide how far to extend family freebies (or if you want to do them at all).

When you shouldn't work for free

  • When you have a solid portfolio. I've come across this many times – a potential client asks for sample work done specifically for them, despite having very similar work in my portfolio. Charge for that work. If you are creating something that the client will be able to use, they should be paying for that service. When asked to do a test trial for free, politely tell them your rates for that work. Point them to your existing samples, and mention that it does not have to be long term if the first project doesn't work out. Again, when you offer work for free, you lower the perceived value of your service.
  • When the client reaches out to you for something like a free guest post, that should be a warning flag. That's sort of like asking for a gift, it's not exactly polite or good business practice. If they like your work enough to contact you, they should like it enough to pay you.
  • When your work isn't going to be connected to your name. Make sure before sending out any guest posts or similar "free" marketing efforts that you know how it is going to be used. If you create a guest post or cartoon that isn't linked back to your website, you've wasted your time. Take the time to write down exactly how your work is to be used and make sure both parties agree.
  • When the work isn't "evergreen." Sometimes, you may not get paid right away, but will reap rewards over time. A classic example is starting your own blog. You won't get paid one lump sum like blogging for a client, but those blog posts will continue to earn advertising revenue long after you've completed them. If you do need to create a portfolio, a great way to do so without working for free is to create a blog that has potential to earn you money down the road, long after you've completed it and are getting paid clients.

Most freelancers, at some point, are asked to work for free. For the most post, free work should act as a red flag. When freelancers offer work for free, it devalues their services. Time is valuable, so freelancers shouldn't work for free, at least not often. But, in a few cases, working for free can be a good marketing tool, and may be necessary for freelancers who have no portfolio.

What do you think? Have you ever worked for free? How did it turn out?

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Why Internet Marketing Does Not Work Without Some SEO

internet marketingWhy Internet Marketing Does Not Work Without SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) should be considered a critical element of any Internet marketing strategy. This is important because there is so much which can be gained from SEO in terms of Internet marketing and advertising.

Failure to optimize your website for search engines can result in a considerable loss in terms of free advertising which is essentially gained from ranking well with search engines.

This article will provide insight into what SEO is and will explain why Internet marketing requires at least some degree of SEO.

SEO optimization is a strategy in which a website is designed to obtain favorable search engine rankings from popular search engines. This may be achieved in a variety of different ways and optimal SEO strategies combine a variety of different strategies to complete one well orchestrated SEO campaign.

There are several elements to consider when attempting to optimize your website for search engines. This may include keyword density, prominence, META tags, titles and inbound links. Keyword density is one of the most common SEO strategies and essentially involves using relevant keywords often in the content of a website to demonstrate the relevance of these keywords to the website.

This is important because search engines are likely to reward websites with optimal keyword densities with favorable search engine rankings in an effort to provide Internet users with the most relevant websites for particular search terms.

The prominence of keywords should also be considered. This includes how close the keywords are placed to the beginning of the website. The common mistake with this strategy is to believe the first opportunity to incorporate keywords is in the first line of visible text on the webpage.

This is not true because search engines crawl the code of a website as opposed to the visible content on the website. This means there are multiple opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords long before the actual visible content on the website. This might include the code for the title as well as the META tags. Business owners who realize the potential for incorporating keyword into the code gain an advantage over competitors who only incorporate keywords into the content on their website.

Another area of concern which is very important for those who are interested in SEO is inbound links. Inbound links are essentially links which reside on other websites and direct traffic to your website. These links are considered important because many search engines place a value on inbound links because they are essentially an example of one website recommending another website. However, when obtaining inbound links it is important to do so from other websites which rank well with search engines because many search engines consider the rank of the original website when determining the value of the inbound link.

Now that we have briefly explained some of the main concept of SEO, we will illustrate why it is important to optimize your website in the first place. SEO is so important because most Internet users highly value the results of search engines and are likely to only visit to ranking websites when they search for a particular keyword. Internet users trust search engines to serve the most relevant content first and are therefore not likely to visit websites which do not fall on the first or second page of search results.

This means websites which rank well essentially are receiving a great deal of free advertising from search engines that place their website in a key position. Website owners who do not invest time into optimizing their websites miss out on a great deal of potential web traffic.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Affiliate Marketing Success

affiliate marketingAffiliate Marketing Success

As an affiliate marketer, your main objective is to sell the products and or services offered by your partner merchants. Unless you can do this, you can never hope to make a significant amount of money with affiliate marketing programs. So how do you boost sales? All things being equal, you have to increase your site traffic before you can get more sales. By the law of averages, the more people that are in the know of the products you are offering, the more products you will sell.

Here are three tips that can help you boost your site traffic:

1. Optimize your site for the search engines, SEO. The most successful sites on the Internet are the ones that are seen the most. There are many ways to achieve increased visibility on the Internet, but the best method is that of search engine optimization. A future article details how to help with SEO. In general, the purpose of SEO is to help your site get higher rankings on the search engines. If you have ever used a search engine, such as Google, you will notice that any keyword search will return thousands, if not millions of results. Most people won't bother to browse through page after page of results; they will prefer to look into the sites already shown on the first page. Statistically speaking, the sites listed on the first page will get the highest amount of traffic, putting those sites in a better position to make money.

2. Provide fresh content. Your site must be constantly updated if you expect your visitors to keep coming back. Your site must have useful content, as well as tools that will help your target audience. Make your site as easy to navigate as possible, and be sure that your links work the way that they should. There is nothing more frustrating than a “broken” website, and once your site has been labeled as such, chances are slim that people will want to come back.

3. Build an online community. Join some forums and meet people. Build relationships with your potential customers. You are able to put a signature file in many of the forums so be sure to put a link to your site in your signature. Make your visitors feel welcome and appreciated, and they are likely to come back. Be interested in solving their problems and they will thank you with their business.

More help about Affiliate Marketing

Making your affiliate marketing program work is really not that much different from operating a traditional business. The only way you can keep your customers is to treat them right. As long as you treat your customers with respect and exert effort in trying to meet their needs, you will find that they will be more than willing to help you with yours.

Affiliate marketing is greatly promoted on the internet as the answer to new found wealth. When in reality almost ninety percent that join up as an affiliate earn less than a hundred dollars a month. The Affiliate marketer isn't hurting though because everything they offered was geared to make sure they always win. It's best to remember that the ninety percent who are receiving little value financially are the financial life blood of the marketer.

They purposely design their website "squeeze" page to lure the gullible into believing in the dream of making lots of easy money. Offering free this and free that to help make the small investment required seem like a real deal. Now in all fairness there is the ten percent that achieve that higher income. However, they succeed because they know it's a highly competitive arena and understand what internet marketing practices it takes to succeed.

Many times the more successful affiliate marketers offer a free website as part of their road to wealth package. Oh, they keep their word all right. They will provide easy access to getting a domain name, web hosting, and the installation of the free website. However, it's usually a one-page website designed and optimized to benefit the affiliate marketer not the new affiliate. On top of that the marketers don't care if the new sign up understands what he is doing.

There's no "Before You Start" manual offered explaining established internet marketing technique. Even the hosting, which is an additional cost, is often also owned by the affiliate marketer. Those ten percent who are doing will either have enough capital to have well designed websites made or know how to make one themselves. To succeed as an affiliate, you must have a good website.

In order for an affiliate to earn income from their new one-page website they need one crucial thing. Customers! And on the internet that only happens if you get "traffic". This is when the small investment ends and the novice finds out that they have to again dig deep into their wallet. To make things worst most free websites have the HTML code search engine optimized to benefit the affiliate marketer. The internet newbie doesn't realize this having no understanding of the mechanics of websites.

Also even though they have access to the websites control panel it's meaningless. They have no way of making changes to their advantage unless they already own and know how to use an HTML editor which most folks usually don't. The novice affiliate is pretty much forced to use pay per click advertising to generate any traffic to their sight causing again more drain on the finances. The point being made here is that being an affiliate can be very profitable but it's not an accident.

Anyone who wishes to improve their income by being an affiliate needs to be patient and do their homework. Don't be sucked in by promises of wealth. One doesn't have to be a webmaster but they do need to understand how affiliate marketing works. There are hundreds of digital eBooks and paperbacks available to assist one on their research in this area.

There's also reputable software products that are specifically designed to assist the new affiliate in their endeavor to be more profitably productive. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a part of the American dream of moving on up. Go for it. Just be careful so that when all is said and done it doesn't end up being an expensive nightmare instead of a dream come true.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Starting an Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Starting an Affiliate Marketing CampaignStarting an Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Some business owners opt to start an affiliate marketing campaign as part of their overall marketing strategy. In most cases the affiliate marketing campaign is only a small portion of the overall marketing strategy but there are some business owners who opt to rely exclusively on this type of marketing. The main purpose of doing this is to save money while still achieving valuable advertising.

However, once a business becomes more successful they should consider being more proactive and combining affiliate marketing with other types of Internet marketing such as placing banner ads and orchestrating an email marketing campaign. This article will take a look at what affiliate marketing is and will provide insight into why this is popular and how it can be used effectively.

An affiliate marketing campaign is essentially a situation where other website owners place ads for your business on their websites. These website owners are known as affiliates. It is important to understand how this type of marketing works. In general the affiliates are given code for your banner ad to place on their website and given the freedom to promote their own website as they see fit. In promoting their website they are also attracting attention to your website because of the banner ad directing visitors to your own website.

One of the most appealing elements of affiliate marketing is the affiliate is only compensated when he produces a desired result. This means the business owner is not obligated to pay the affiliate unless the affiliate is successful. Success may be defined as generating traffic to the website, resulting in a sale or even resulting in the Internet user registering on your website or filling out a survey.

The compensation for affiliates is generally based on cost per click, cost per lead or cost per sale. Cost per click and cost per lead are usually paid in terms of a flat fee which is awarded to the affiliate each time an Internet user either simply clicks through the banner ad on his website or performs a specific action after clicking through the ad. Cost per sale may result in the affiliate being awarded a flat fee or a percentage of the sale depending on the agreement between the business owner and the affiliate.

The most effective use of affiliate marketing is to actively seek out affiliates with a proven track record of promoting the businesses which they support. Most affiliate programs are open to anyone with a website and it is not necessarily damaging to allow those who are not particularly knowledgeable about marketing to run your banner ad but it is far more worthwhile to seek out affiliates who are quite adept and generating website traffic to their own website. This is important because the more visitors they receive each month the more likely your website it to receive interest from visitors who click on the affiliates banner ad.

Another aspect of affiliate marketing which can contribute to success or failure is the design of your banner ads. It is important to remember affiliate marketing is viewed the same way other types of marketing are viewed and care should be taken to create banner ads which will be appealing to your target audience. This means everything from the colors of your ad to the size and style of the font should be carefully considered to create an appealing advertisement.

Article by:
Brian Walters SEO

Skype: tuneup_bj

Brian Walters MarketHive

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

From Hopeful Work At Home Mom to Entrepreneur

Article By Rita Taketa – I've been a successful Work At Home Mom for 18 years, beginning when there was little career work available at home besides telemarketing. After working for several different companies being in charge of multiple operations, I now have plans to expand my business-to-business professional services with virtual agents.

work at home mom business and entrepreneur

I've been steadily working from home for 18 amazing years. In the beginning, however, it was not a popular decision. The pay was poor and the quality of work was mainly telemarketing for the consumer-to-business market, or some other type of odd tasks that were not rewarding.

I started on this journey after I had my second child. I had been working for a marketing firm as a supervisor handling inbound and outbound calls for clients in the restaurant industry. I had a great deal of responsibility with data and order entry, managing our team, training, and being responsible for the entire company phone system, which was my first introduction to Telephony Software & B2B Marketing.

As much as I enjoyed my career, I had a nine-year-old son at home to care for as well. I always felt torn between being a mother and a working women. I had already been through the route of daycare and before-and-after-school care and all of the challenges that go along with being a working mom. I felt guilty when I was not with my child, and yet I needed to work to help provide for my family, just like the balancing act that we all face today now that most families need two incomes to stay afloat.

Research on the internet afforded me to learn more about working from home, but there wasn't much of a selection to choose from except telemarketing. I started working with a company that produced customer satisfaction surveys for a national tire company. It involved evening and weekend work, so I was able to work my day job but bring in a little extra money. As I worked on different projects for the company, gaining more experience and confidence, I was asked to do more projects in different markets. Eventually, I started doing surveys for a vast array of markets including insurance.

Networking, researching, and trying different work-at-home tasks allowed me to transition into a full-time career working from home as a business-to-business professional. I serve as an extension of a company's inside sales team as an appointment setter, lead generator, and customer service representative. I've worked as an independent contractor for many years, so I took my experience and branched out with my own company to accommodate the needs of businesses in supporting their sales and marketing efforts. My goal is to expand by hiring virtual agents to help with my growing client base.

I chose a rewarding career path that has allowed me to be home with my family (which was my ultimate goal), raise my children, do meaningful work, and make a good living right from the comfort of my home office. Work At Home Mom = a happy mom!

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How to gain more MarketHive subscribers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?

How do you increase your number of MarketHive subscribers, or "children" if you will?

I think LinkedIn is one of the best ways to accomplish this.  It seems at though, I may have finally cracked the LinkedIn code to do this, well sort of.  Today, I got 12 new invitations to connect with me this morning in my inbox, and I have added 981 connections so far this month.  This is a fairly rapid increase, that I believe few people are currently doing now, on LinkedIn.  

In addition, all of those new connections have been invited to join MarketHive.  (I am currently getting nearly a 1% response rate on invitations to MarketHive). I am actively trying to find a way to increase that percentage, but it is resulting in nearly one new MarketHive sign-up per day.

I don't know how many entrepreneurs realize that their first level connections are already in their sales funnel?  Everyone looking to market on LinkedIn needs to think this way.  Ok, it may not be exactly the same, but it is very close to it.  Everything depends on what you do with those connections.  

Some kind of automation is needed here for sure.  The manual way of messaging in LinkedIn will take you nearly forever to send a message to thousands of first level connections.  Btw, the LinkedIn limit for invitation requests per day is 40 maximum with a free account or a paid account, (Sales Navigator has a limite of 100 per day).  There is a limit of 250 messages per day to your 1st level connections on all LinkedIn accounts.  If you do that every day manually, that is a very time consuming process, for sure!

I am in the process of setting up a step-by-step training program on how to use LinkedIn to promote Markethive.  I may also expand it to a complete LinkedIn training as well, depending on the level of interest.  In any case, this is something anyone can do.  It can be done, even with a free LinkedIn account.  With additional low-cost automation software solutions, the process can be greatly accelerated.  

All for now.  Thanks for your interest.  

Best possible sucess in all your endeavors!

John Lombaerde

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Crock-Pot Chunky Vegetable Chili

Typically Sundays are the days where I plan out my week. I prefer to make my own lunch instead of going out where I am not always sure what I am getting. There is a certain satisfaction of making something yourself. I should also mention I am saving money by only going out to lunch on Fridays and Saturdays.

My Brother Jack noticed some of the different things I was making and bought me a Crock-Pot. That was the perfect early Christmas present. I like experimenting with Brown Rice, Lentils, Quinoa and Chickpeas as they are all healthy.

This past Sunday I made a recipe that came with the Crock-Pot called “Chunky Vegetable Chili”. The ingredient list and instructions are below.

Chunky Vegetable Chili
2 15 oz. cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies, undrained
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 cup water

In the Crock-Pot Slow cooker, combine the beans, corn, onion, celery, tomato paste, green chilies, carrot, garlic, chili powder, oregano and salt. Stir in the water. Cover; cook on Low for 5½ to 6 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.

Below is a picture of what it looked like before I turned on the power. I should mention I use Himalayan Pink salt anytime a recipe calls for salt.

The picture below is my “6 hours later” photo. I threw in an avocado in the middle of the cooking time. The recipe didn’t need it but I wanted to use it up and I am a big fan of avocados. I also threw in some shredded cheddar cheese the last ten minutes of it. This made four meals.

As mentioned in this blog post I experiment. During this week I would cut up pieces of eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes and put them in a saucepan with coconut oil in it. I would cook them on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. I wanted them cooked. I then added some of the Chunky Vegetable Chili into it for another 5 to 10 minutes.

My favorite combination was adding Sriracha sauce, olives and blue cheese crumbs to it. I was satisfied on a taste bud level of it. It wasn’t the best tasting chili ever but I thought it was pretty good and as I mentioned earlier, it is satisfying making something yourself. Below is a picture of that combination.

All the best,

Alan Zibluk

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How are Elon Musk and Orbital Velocity like the life of an Entrepreneur?



Strange title, this one, I know. I remember a famous tweet by Elon Musk saying that getting to space is relatively easy. He explained that you need to achieve Mach 3 to be able to reach space and escape the earth's atmosphere. Then you would come back down to earth again.

In order to stay in orbit, however, you need to be going much, much faster. You need to be traveling at Mach 30 in order to propel yourself fast enough to stay in orbit around the earth.

Here is a link that provides some explanation about this phenomenon.

I thought, this is similar to many Internet Marketing hype headlines. You know, the ones that say "Newbie Internet marketer makes $20,117.30 in 60 days with no previous Internet experience!" Well, maybe this headline is all hype, but again, maybe this person did achieve this result in 60 days.

Ok, sounds good, but what happened after that? Did that person fall back to earth again, after achieving that success and never managed to make a dime again after that? No one wants that kind of "one-hit wonder" success, right?

The headline would be so much more impressive if it said, "Newbie Internet marketer achieves 6-figure sustainable income, within 60 days, and is still going strong after 3 years". The headlines never say anything like that do they? They are always about the push-button, easy way to success, right?

So don't bother to open that email with a fantastic rags to riches headline. Who cares about flash in the pan success? To be truly successful, any start-up must exceed their intial altitude and achieve a self-sustaining orbit. Isn't that the goal?

In his book Startup Leadership: How Savvy Entrepreneurs Turn Their Ideas into Successful Enterprises – Derek Lidow has studied this phenomenon, and currently teaches Entrepreneurial Leadership at Princeton University. He uncovers the gems of principles that can be applied universally across industries, cultures, and geographies. He separates those that are merely entrepreneurs from those that can be considered entrepreneurial leaders that are able to create self-sustaining businesses.

There are unique skills required to nurture a start-up, and there are additional skills needed to navigate any company beyond the initial phase into continued success. Derek Lidow's book is highly recommended. (Available on Amazon and elsewhere)

Best of success in all your entrepreneurial endeavors!

John Lombaerde

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Using Tumblr, Yelp and Pinterest with MarketHive

I have wanted to write this blog post for a while showing people how I share pictures from popular sites like Yelp, Pinterest, Tumblr with MarketHive. I assume everyone is using MarketHive for their WordPress websites. If you have not signed up please feel free to visit my site at or go to my own personal website at the end of this article to click on the widget on the top right.

I like pictures as a picture says a thousand words . I am a better photographer than writer. Pictures tell stories.

I use Instagram for all my pictures (userid alzibluk). The sundial really enhances them. Unfortunately with Instagram it uses embedded scripts in sharing with other sites which will not show up with the MarketHive Plugin. I have a similar problem with Pinterest but there is a way around this. I will show you later.

With Instagram I can immediately post my pictures to Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare,Facebook and Twitter. Later I will go to my gallery on my phone to post to Pinterest and Yelp (only if it is involving dining).

The first thing when I am ready to write a blog post is find the pictures I want to use. I currently use Google Chrome as my main browser. Once I find the picture I want to use I will have my mouse on the picture. Then I click right mouse button which opens a new window where I select Open Image in new tab. I then proceed to go to that tab to copy the url address of it which I will copy and paste into my notepad. I did this three times for this post.

The second thing I do is have my text all typed out. I want my hyperlinks all set up. I do know basic html and still use EditPlus. I then go my MarketHive account, click Blogs and Write a new Blog Post. I click the source button and copy/paste my html text. I then hit source button a second time. I move my cursor between the paragraphs where I want to Insert image. Hitting the image button will open up a new dialog box. I will paste the image url where it says url at the top. I don t like going higher than 500 for my Width and Height settings.

My first picture I am taking from my Tumblr account. As I mentioned earlier when I publish in Instagram it publishes in Tumblr. This picture is Ordinary in New Haven, Connecticut. I like to go there on a Friday night after the end of the work week. Ordinary was listed in Conde Nast Traveler – Drink Up: The Greatest Bars in the World. While I am there I like thinking about content for my blogs. It is where I go to think.

My second picture I am taking from my Yelp account. I like to go to the Dew Drop Inn in Derby, Connecticut for Buffalo Wings on Saturday mornings. This picture is the JD BBC Cucumber Wasabi Wings which is probably my third favorite.My favorite so far are the Buttery BBQ Montreal Wings. While I am at the Dew Drop Inn I continue on thinking about what I want to post in my blogs.

My last picture I am taking from my Pinterest account. It is a foliage picture I took on Saturday October 31, 2015 in Bethany, Connecticut. It is part of the West Rock Trail that ends in New Haven. As you can guess while there I think about my blog posts.

I hope this blog post helps. If you believe that my message is worth spreading,please use the share buttons if they are visible on this page. I am borrowing that line from Stephen Hodgkiss, Chief Engineer at MarketHive.

All the best,

Alan Zibluk


Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member