I recently handed in my 401(k) and health insurance, along with my corporate laptop, for a taste of the freelance lifestyle. This weekend I spent several hours happily trolling the aisles of Wordstock, a local celebration of writers and books, frequented (naturally) by writers galore. I was chatting with a friend who runs a quarterly magazine, offering ideas for one of her upcoming issues, when another freelance writer walked up. He, too, had recently left a "regular" job for the on-again, off-again world of freelancing.

"How's it going?" he wanted to know. "Great," I said, a little surprised at the realization. "I have too much work."

"Me too!" he said happily. "I've heard that a lot."

While it's certainly sad for workers who are offered the door in exchange for cheaper, less permanent freelancers, it's all good for those of us who have chosen this life with some deliberation. (Note to self: Always make the jump before everyone else figures it out!) We're here to fill in the blanks suffered by managers who have been forced to lay off so many employees that their work can no longer be accomplished by a dwindled staff, and those smaller companies seeking to expand without a lot of messy commitment in the way of payroll and benefits packages.

So it's a word to the wise: if you've been wishing to make the leap to freelancing, and not having the gumption, maybe now's the time. With a liberal administration coming into office, maybe you'll even get some relief on the health insurance front... at least, it's worth dreaming.

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