Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Do Freelancers Have More Job Security?

Michele Goodman of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide made an interesting argument recently on her blog. She posited that freelancers have more job security than nine-to-fivers - and are actually better equipped to survive the current economic crisis . Naturally, this got my attention.

I'd read last week how the government has extended unemployment benefits by seven or more weeks, and it got me thinking (a little morosely) how freelancers who work on a 1099 "independent contractor" basis like me don't qualify for unemployment. That gave me a little anxiety. The phrase "lack of a safety net" came to mind.

But Michele's perspective turned my thinking around. Because the serious upside for a freelancer like me is that I can't get laid off, ever, and if I'm good, I shouldn't need unemployment because I have the ability to adapt to a changing marketplace. In other words, to apply my skills to new industries (like the booming green space, my newest foray) and "follow the money."

Here's an excerpt of the four things she says make freelancers the ultimate survivors:

* Our checks come from multiple companies rather than just one. If one client tanks, we replace them with another.
* We’re endlessly flexible. If one market dies off, we adapt. Diversification is key, even when the economy isn’t taking a nosedive.
* We’re old pros at interviewing and selling ourselves. Freelancers are constantly “interviewing” on a monthly, if not weekly, basis. Plus, we have the most up-to-date bios, resumes, and portfolios around.
* It’s still cheaper for companies to hire freelancers than employees. If a company has 100 hours of work that no one on staff has the time or expertise to complete, they’re going to outsource it.

One final thought that applies to everyone. Whether you're full-time or freelance, you have a skill set that goes with you. So even in an era of layoffs, just remember: you don't always need an employer to have employment!


Hi, I'm Cameron Blazer. said...

Very lemons-to-lemonade! I always try to remind myself that no matter what happens with the economy and my job, I will always be a lawyer--no layoff or recession can take that away!

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