Freelancing Your Way to a Job

Workshop Customer Service Contest alternate photo low resby Mike O’Mary

December unemployment numbers will be reported on January 8, and recent weekly reports on unemployment claims indicate that things are getting better. But it’s still a tough economy out there. As of the end of November, U.S. unemployment was 10%, and underemployment (a freelance writer bagging groceries, for example) was 17.2%. Pretty grim.

If you are freelancing by choice, my hat is off to you. I know some people who have very successful freelance careers and would never consider going to work for someone else. But if you’re freelancing because you’ve been laid off, I have good news for you: freelancing just might be the best way to find your next job.

Twice in the past decade, I was offered (and I accepted) corporate jobs from my clients. So my tip for those of you who desire a corporate job is to offer up your services as a freelancer first. I believe this is actually a better way to get a job than competing with the dozens (or hundreds or sometimes even thousands) of people sending in resumes for job openings.

In the two cases where clients offered jobs to me, I went to the client with no ulterior motive. I really was not looking for a job. I was looking for freelance work. I didn’t want them to give me a job; I wanted to give them some help. That difference in attitude made a difference to them. And in both instances, there was a definite sense that they had discovered me…their attitude was almost a joyful “look what I found!” (Compare that to the attitude of a potential employer during a job interview where all-too-often they are looking for reasons not to hire you.)

Bottom line: Don’t mislead a potential employer. If you’re not interested in freelancing, then don’t present yourself as a potential freelancer. But if you are interested in freelancing – and if you are also interested in the possibility of a full-time job with the right employer – then marketing yourself as a freelancer just might be the best way to get your foot in the door to your next job.

Mike O’Mary is founding dreamer of Dream of Things, a book publisher and online community for writers and other artists.

2 thoughts on “Freelancing Your Way to a Job”

  1. As a freelancer I wanted to ust to add that freelancers have also a better quality of life…if you see that they do not have to put up with management and specially they do not have to wake up at 8:00 🙂 ..

    Also nowadays with so many freelancing sites like

    it is really easy to find projects to work in any area that you are involved…..

  2. Mel: I agree with you…freelancers definitely do have a better quality of life in many ways. So if you’re happy freelancing and are finding plenty of work (and as you noted, there are many resources to help you find work), then more power to you! Your answer is simple then when a client offers you a permanent job; you can just say, “Thanks, but no thanks!”

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