More consumers are looking to freelancing for quick cash

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 By

The job market is still struggling

(Photo from headsclouds, Flickr.com)

Freelancing can bring quick cash if managed the right way. Today’s job market is still struggling. The unemployment rate throughout the US surpassed 10% months ago. Businesses are still not creating jobs and a lot of the jobs that were eliminated won’t be returning. For example, Detroit’s heavy car manufacturing industry took a huge hit throughout the recession. The auto industry faltered and big companies in the city were eliminated. Those jobs will never return and that leaves thousands of former employees out of work and with few job prospects for the immediate future.

So what is the answer to lack of jobs?

More and more consumers are looking at the lack of jobs and growing less and less hopeful. Although having a “normal” 9 to 5 job was coveted in former markets, now things are quickly changing. The recession taught people well that trusting in employers is not always the best option. Slowly, as the market got worse last year, businesses used layoffs and cutbacks to make ends meet. Workers who were counting on their jobs to sustain them throughout the recession were left in the pool of millions of unemployed Americans. Workers who weren’t laid off also felt the strain. They were left to pick up the slack that laid-off workers left and they had to do it with no additional pay or bonus for the added work. Now that the recession is proving to be lasting longer than first projected, a good portion of consumers are taking things into their own hands and looking to freelancing.

The typical freelancer

Freelancing has gained a new respectability in the market due to the high unemployment. Jenny Hemphill of St. Charles, Illinois said, “I worked for a small finance company that took a huge hit in 2008. They cut back and that included getting rid of my position. I applied for over a year and found nothing. Freelancing was the option that made sense. I could take matters into my own hands, without relying on a job market that still is bad.”

The bad job market is still what is pushing people to move outside of the box when it comes to finding quick cash. Freelancing is becoming a primary and secondary job choice for thousands of Americans. For those who are choosing it as a career choice, there are some cautions. Experts warn that the first step to moving into freelancing is to do some math on the pay per hour. Tom Balliston, career counselor, said, “It’s always good to figure out exactly how much is coming in per piece or per project. Thirty dollars may sound good, but if the amount of work takes two 8-hour days to complete, that averages out to less than $2 per hour.”

Another good tip is to create a standard contract. According to Balliston, it’s a good idea to invest in hiring a lawyer for small businesses and have him draw up a contract. At minimum, the contract should specify in writing the number of hours expected, the cost for additional time, and the pay expected. Balliston added, “If you don’t specify in writing the details, you may find yourself negotiating various minutiae throughout the course of the project. Worse, if your contact leaves the company, you’ll have no proof of the terms you both agreed to.”

Finally, getting a good accountant is crucial to managing a freelance business. The basics of freelance tax law include saving 20 to 25 percent of all income for taxes and saving proof of all business expenses. There are also city and state licensing issues and tax regulations to sort through. It’s best to leave the details of that to the experts. Having a good tax professional can save workers from hefty penalties and fines.

Freelancing in 2010

Freelancing is projected to increase in 2010 due to the market. Consumers are tired of waiting for the job market to turn around and are making moves to find quick cash on their own. There are rules and regulations, though, and having a good team of professionals to help is an important aspect of freelancing.

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