February 5th, 2009
For those recently laid off who now find themselves gigging, today’s ABCNews.com 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: