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Will we all be freelancers soon?

While permanent, full-time work is becoming harder to find, marketplace trends are making it easier for workers in some fields to make extra cash.

By MSN Money producer Oct 3, 2013 12:52PM

This post comes from Kimberly Palmer at partner site U.S. News & World Report.


As the world of work changes, employment histories are looking increasingly like patchwork quilts made up of various types of jobs. People and companies increasingly opt for (or are forced into) constantly shifting, project-based relationships instead of more permanent salaried ones. That news might be unsettling for those who prefer stability (and the related benefits), but Fabio Rosati, president and CEO of Elance, a freelancing website, sees opportunity in that constant churn, and he thinks you should, too.


Image: Businesswoman using laptop and telephone © Terry Vine, Blend Images, Getty Images

"We've never had such flexibility and immediacy in the workforce," Rosati says. "Technology helps create matches. The moment an employer posts a job, you get an alert." Other factors, including Obamacare and shrinking corporate budgets, have also conspired to push more people into the freelancing marketplace.


A report released last week by Tower Lane Consulting and commissioned by Elance found that 6 in 10 companies have plans to hire more freelancers in 2014. Companies report that they do so because it gives them the flexibility to rely on different skill sets as their needs change, and using temporary workers also allows them to spend less money on employee expenses. So-called "knowledge workers," including people who work in sales and marketing, design, writing and information technology are among the most in-demand freelancers.


Those trends help explain why Elance reports that in the first half of 2013, 170,000 new businesses joined the website, 600,000 new jobs were posted and freelancers earned $130 million. Information technology and programming jobs have long made up the bulk of Elance's earnings, followed by creative and marketing jobs. Meanwhile, writing and translation, sales and marketing, and finance and management jobs have been among those growing in earnings the fastest.


Many of those freelancers also hold down full-time jobs. According to Elance's 2012 Freelancer survey, 1 in 4 freelancers on the site also has full-time employment. Their freelance work allows them to bring home additional money while keeping their skills sharp – and perhaps testing the waters for eventual self-employment.


Here are five tips on how to make the most of this new world of work:


No. 1: Constantly renew your skills


"Freelancers have to stay current," Rosati says, so they can continue landing new clients. In addition to getting real-world experience by taking on jobs, Elance University, which offers more than 20,000 online courses (free and paid), teaches freelancers about everything from how to write a killer proposal for a client to technical skills, such as how to use Javascript.


No. 2: Take advantage of technology


The Internet makes it easier than ever to connect with potential clients throughout the globe. In addition to Elance, which posts jobs from 800,000 clients and has 3 million freelancers signed up, websites such as Fiverr, Odesk and Amazon Marketplace also make it possible to sell products and services from anywhere, as long as you have a computer (or mobile device) and an Internet connection.


No. 3: Protect yourself


Without benefits, such as health insurance and retirement savings accounts, freelancers can stumble financially if they suddenly face a health crisis or are unable to work. "The Affordable Care Act is good for our community. We often hear freelancers say health insurance is the reason they're holding onto their day jobs. This will help them take more risks with their career or start their own business," Fabio says. Freelancers can also save for retirement with IRAs and Roth IRAs, for example, and they can take out life and disability insurance plans directly through insurance companies.


No. 4: Learn how to get word out about your skills


While clients can find freelancers through the search function on Elance, freelancers can also rely on social media, worth of mouth and their own professional networks to land more work. The 2012 report from Elance also found that while 1 in 4 freelancers found work within one to two weeks of joining the site, it took eight weeks or longer for 17 percent of freelancers.


No. 5: Join teams for steady work


Last week, Elance launched a new "Private Talent Cloud," which lets companies manage their freelance workforce through the website. It allows clients to manage vetting, contracts and payment of freelancers. Companies bring their own freelancers with them to the site, as well as hire additional freelancers on there. Freelancers who get high satisfaction ratings increase their chances of being asked to do more work for clients, thus boosting their earning power.


More from U.S. News & World Report:

·        10 ways to cut your spending this week

·        7 hidden smartphone expenses

·        12 steps to designing your financial roadmap



Oct 3, 2013 3:23PM

....yeah that's right - unemployment is actually good for us - it presents opportunity -  ........after all, job security is very restricting; and a steady paycheck is in fact bad for you!

Oct 3, 2013 5:17PM

  Lets make everyone independent contractors. No pensions, no 401K's, no medical insurance, no unions, no sick days, no holiday pay, no employer social security or medicare costs, no employer responsibilities toward workers. This is exactly  the working relationship corporations wants with employees. A dream come true for the rich.  Add the elimination of  taxes on business and all those outsourced  jobs would come back here. And if you don't like those terms, the business spin will be your a scumbag freeloader whiner looking for a handout.

Oct 3, 2013 4:14PM
Fabio Rosati, president and CEO of Elance, a freelancing website has 20,000 courses to take in order to keep your skill sets sharp for that next opportunity.  Sounds to me like they interviewed someone who only wants to sell you another on line education course......that a joke the world has become.
Oct 3, 2013 2:17PM
We can all be telemarketers selling insurance or asking for "donations" for a worthy cause.  And, those who have ever been on a television sitcom can puke "ask your doctor" ads for the legal drug lords.  The old gray headed men can proclaim eternal wealth for free with their "reverse mortgage" schemes and then the old ladies can pretend an ache or pain and boast about their grandkids while telling how 'easy and affordable" medicare supplements are.  Then, a minute number can work as "interns" for the clowns in clown town.  Now, the few who are honest and refuse to puke lies and deceit may still be able to get a part time job at a fast food restaurant.  May the shutdown expand!!!!
Oct 3, 2013 4:20PM
Working is for suckers! Why work when you can just crank out a few babies, get some section 8 housing for free, get SNAP and EBT to buy your food, get your Obamaphone for free, and get subsidized health care? The more you earn the less gibmedats the gubmint gonna give you.
Oct 3, 2013 2:24PM
If you look at the job statistics you will find the category of home based business employment has grown exponentially while other categories have shrunk dramatically. This is a most deceptive tool that has been used to create misleading data on private sector employment . These numbers reflect unreasonable assumptions based on modeled formulas that are unrealistic. This is a category government knows is easily manipulated and difficult to verify. Bought that thing on Ebay from an individual? That is a home based business transaction.
Oct 3, 2013 2:32PM
NO IRS refunds during shutdown! But, if you owe taxes, they are due!!!  Your paycheck may be delayed or non-existent but your mortgage payment is due on time!  You may not get what the government owes you...yes, OWES you....example: Social Security that you have paid into for years....But the medicaid kids will not have their 'checkups' interrupted.  The old pediatricians that issue "behavior modification' drugs may not be able to get the little brat from kicking and screaming while checking his/her temperature and the brat's teachers may not be able to discipline him because he is labeled "sp ed" but the crazy checks will continue to pour in to mom and dad.  Let the shutdown expand!!!
Oct 3, 2013 3:01PM

Thanks to the great Obama, no one will actually HIRE anyone.  And, when they do, it will be 3 part timers to do just one full time job in order to avoid what Obama is shoving down the employers throats.


Worst president ever--- B H Obama. 



Oct 3, 2013 2:29PM

Well, idiotic Obamacare will contribute to there being fewer full- time positions so this trend will increase

Oct 3, 2013 5:04PM
Please don't open more call centers in the U.S. India can offer more people at cheaper wages. Just keep flipping burgers and making fries.
Oct 3, 2013 2:55PM
Breaking News! Braking News! Breaking News!  Braking CONgress!!!  CONgress is "Braking" on their "yeah wow" sessions because of the Breaking News of SHOTS FIRED near them people!  One man grabbed a CONgress arm last night but the CONgress yeah wow don't want to talk about it.  Now, there has been shots fired and the halls of CONgress is on lockdown!  Lockdown shoudn't interfere with their work.  They get nothing done anyway. Why even report a "lockdown" of CONgress?  They ain't going near open windows and gots their doors locked. That should not slow down their business. But, the point is people are FINALLY getting outspoken about their inefficiency!!! Let the shutdown expand!!!!
Oct 3, 2013 1:40PM
A properly implemented ACA would allow that and that's the greatest fear of Big Business and the Global Elite.

However, before we could ever get to any freelance society, the Global Elite will push for their One World Government and One World Currency.

Oct 3, 2013 4:00PM
I am most sorry to hear of the loss of life in Washington, D. C. today.  I can understand the frustration of the American public with the idiocracies and stupidity of CONgress and government in general, especially the elected bunch in Washington, D. C.  But, this woman had a child that won't grow up with a mother now.  Why do we not have more responsible people elected to national office? We don't know what was going on with this lady.  It does seem the posse chasing her might have been overzealous.  She was leaving and though she had bumped a gate, she had not fired as I understand, when she was begun to be hounded by a bunch of law enforcement groupies.  DC can't even keep Chicago and DC safe.  Yet they want to rule the world!! May the shutdown expand!!!
Oct 3, 2013 4:21PM
Welcome to the united states of whiners. The whiners and the poor me crowd are ruling this once great land of opportunity.  Why do think they want to take away guns?  Oh you touched me i'm calling the all willing police, who are more then glad to prime the wheels of the corrupt justice system. A man can't disagree with a woman ,it's considered abuse. AMMO UP!  Here's the savior in this fight .
private research has military off the record 75 -25% for the American people. Why do you think they won't allow soldiers on bases to be armed.

Oct 3, 2013 7:29PM
 The cat is out of the bag so to speak with Obama care. The rates for older (50+) people who purchase their own medical insurance in Arizona doubles under the new law. No spin, it's  a fact. The "everyday policy plan" rate ( thats the Obama care plan comparable to the current blue optimum plus blue cross plan we now have) for both my wife and I goes from $879.00 a month to $1627.00 monthly. Here's the added kick in the ****, we earn more than $62,500 maxium for a two member household so we don't qualify for any tax credits or subsidy. Nearly twenty grand a year for health insurance. Guess who will be going without insurance and will pay fines until we turn 65.
Oct 3, 2013 7:38PM
I quite imagine that those who wlll be "freelancing" will also be "freeloading".

Oct 3, 2013 7:50PM
Now, I think I've heard it all.  They've had viagara for ages and everyone has laughed at it and about it.  I think it is absolutely worthless and no good at all.  But, now, they have anti-viagara.  Viagara for multi-billions and now an anti-viagara for, i'm sure more multi-billions.  When will it ever stop?  Lord, please return and get this mess under control!!!!!!!!  The country is shutting down, hopefully, but the anti viagra is starting up!!!!  Does anyone else have a few pennies left for some other no-good pill???
Oct 3, 2013 4:04PM
Obamas, Muslin Brotherhood Protection Force opens fire on a female American tourist and, her baby near the capitol. The woman was in Washington to protest Obama care. 
Oct 3, 2013 2:12PM

God help us all! The teabaggers are ruining this country! They are uneducated, racist, fools that follow Rush, Glen and Hannity off the cliff!

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