August 26, 2009, 12:19 PM —
Ok so the economy has gone to the tubes, 1 out of 10 people are unemployed, and most businesses are on a hiring freeze. Sounds like a perfect time to close your eyes, cross your fingers, and hope you have steady income through the next few years. Although this is a horrible time to find a job, feel safe, and live a lifestyle you want, it is the perfect time to be a consultant.
Have I gone mad? I don't think so. The demand for experts to advice companies on ways to operate more efficiently has increased tremendously during this economy. The increase in costs above an employee's salary has also made a contract/freelance position look much sweeter to the employer. Combine these reasons and the increase in online freelance marketplaces and you have a recipe for opportunity, if you want to take it.
So where is all of the work out there? Let's look at the top three areas to find freelance work.
1. Staffing Companies
I like to list staffing companies first because this is an arrangement where they will work for you. Staffing companies look at thousands of positions and try to fill them with contract workers. They make their money by charging a bit more over your hourly rate. Link up with staffing companies that focus in your skill set (technology, management, manufacturing, etc.). Build a good relationship with these companies and you will have opportunities sent to you daily.
2. Online Marketplaces
There are projects sitting out there waiting for you. You just need to know where to find them. There are many freelance marketplaces that have thousands of opportunities for work. You can browse through available projects and bid on the ones that interest you. Lead time for these projects is short because all of the efficiencies of doing it online. Some very popular marketplaces are: eLance.com, Guru.com, oDesk.com, and ifreelance.com.
Don't forget to also check out job boards on CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, Hotjobs.com, and Dice.com for contract positions. In addition to these sites there are many listings posted on Craigslist.org. For these sites it always helps to search locally first. Many customers posting here will probably want to meet face to face.
3. Use Your Connections
The easiest jobs you will get are through people that already know and trust you. Take advantage of this by notifying your contacts about your freelance capabilities. Let them know about the services you offer and ask them if they need any help. In addition, start a blog and website to post helpful information and project examples. This will prove your expertise and show you are knowledgeable in your industry.