The accidental freelancer’s survival kit

February 5th, 2009

For those recently laid off who now find themselves gigging, today’s column shares my top 10 recommendations for navigating your newfound freelance status.

In January, Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown dubbed the current rotten job market the “Gig Economy,” where both high earners and low earners increasingly find themselves cobbling together paychecks from a menagerie of freelance, contract and part-time work.

Suddenly media outlets from CNN to Newsweek followed suit, telling the freshly unemployed what those of us who’ve been freelancing and consulting for years already know: if you have skills to hawk, you can make a decent living hopping from project to project.

But merely welcoming this army of accidental freelancers to the self-employment club won’t groom anyone for the challenges of running their own show.

If you, too, have found yourself cast in the role of accidental freelancer — presumably because you’ve had better luck finding project work than a staff job — take heart. As someone who’s been a full-time freelancer and contractor since 1992 (by design, not accident), I assure you that there is a method to this self-employed madness.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, designer, programmer, marketer, builder, bookkeeper, recruiter or project manager; the principles of staying afloat as an independent worker are the same. Herewith, my top pointers for surviving your first freelance year:

Read the rest of this article on

Entry Filed under: Popular articles,This freelance life

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. monica  |  February 6th, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Great article, Michelle! I hope you don’t mind me sharing it on my blog. I especially enjoyed the bits about contracts, taxes and health insurance – three of my most loathed topics. Even though I’m an intentional freelancer, it’s still good to be reminded about these things from time to time. =)

  • 2. Michelle Goodman  |  February 6th, 2009 at 5:03 am

    Hi Monica, thanks. I’m never opposed to a little link love.

Leave a Comment


Required, hidden

Some HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

Books I've written

My other blog

Popular articles

My Twitter handle

Posts by category