Now is a Good Time to be a Freelancer

by Jodee Redmond

One of my clients sent me a really interesting report yesterday. Entitled the “2009 U.S. Hiring Forecast,” it contains the results of a survey conducted for in November and December of 2008. Here are some excerpts you might find interesting:

  • More than half of the hiring managers surveyed (56%) indicated that they didn’t plan on changing their staffing levels in 2009.
  • 14% plan on hiring new staff this year.
  • 19% of hiring managers indicated that the quality of applicants they are getting for available positions has gone down in the past year.
  • 27% of those surveyed have open positions that they are having trouble filling because they are unable to find qualified applicants.

Here’s where the report gets interesting for freelancers:

  • 28% of companies surveyed indicated they intend to hire freelancers or contractors, and 6% of companies intended to hire more freelancers or contractors than in 2008.

I don’t want to discount the fact that the news about the economy has been dismal recently, but I would like to point out that there are still opportunities out there. Right now is a good time to be a freelancer, because clients can hire us on an as-needed basis, without having to provide office space, equipment, and the like. We don’t get paid vacations or health benefits, and to a company trying to keep costs down, this is an attractive option.

We always have the option of how we decide to respond to the current economic situation. We can press the panic button and give up, or we can go the extra mile for our existing clients and be more aggressive about looking for new freelance opportunities. This means doing a little more….applying for a few more jobs or pitching a few more potential clients each week. It may mean picking up the phone to make cold calls.

No recession lasts forever, although it may be difficult to believe that when we are in the midst of one. I remember the one we had in Canada in the early 1980s (yes, I am that old) and the one in the early 1990s. It is possible to have a thriving freelance writing business during these tough economic times. Maybe now is the time to stop watching the news and reading the paper and just get on with doing what you need to do to make it happen.


  1. says

    That sounds like great news. I’ve noticed that I make more money with freelance work than any of my other online methods. So far, I’m just working with a couple of individuals on an as-needed basis. Maybe this year I should start looking to land a gig with a couple companies.

  2. says

    “28% of companies surveyed indicated they intend to hire freelancers or contractors, and 6% of companies intended to hire more freelancers or contractors than in 2008.”

    I hate to turn tho hose on your happy spin and wash away readers’ hopes and dreams, but…

    Just wanted to mention (from a purely managerial standpoint, as that is my background) that businesses save lots of cash when they opt to hire independent contractors over employees. They don’t have to pay the same taxes or worry about unions or file so much paperwork. It’s usually not an awesome sign for the company if they trend towards ICs over employees. Of course, you’re right that it IS super cool for people who prefer contract and freelance work. I know I’m pumped.


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