Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Negotiating the Freelance Economy

This article in today's Wall Street Journal careers section caught my eye. It substantiates my theory that a lot more people are going to be free agents in the future, getting their work on a contract-by-contract basis.

But what bugs me is the suggestion that Elance is a freelancer's panacea. The few times I have explored this site, I have seen thousands of people vying for jobs that pay ridiculously low rates. I've seen offshore freelancers underbidding to the point that no American could afford to take the job. Personally, all freelancing work I've ever gotten has been the result of carefully cultivated personal networking, anyway.

From the employer side of things, I can't imagine hiring someone I'd never met before. I just know way too many talented editors to take a chance on an unfamiliar face. I'm betting that the majority of publishers feel the same way.

What are your experiences with sites like these? How on earth can you stand out in a database like that? Have you ever gotten a job through a site like this? Have you ever hired someone through Elance or a similar site?

Meanwhile, we're chuckling here about an over-eager potential freelancer, with zero experience, who keeps desperately calling our home office and practically demanding that we send her some work.

1 comment:

Laurence Shatkin said...

I've been a freelancer in the past and have encountered a situation similar to one mentioned in the article, in which an employer picked my brain under the pretense of discussing a possible project, but nothing came of it (at least, for me).