When my job options did not turn out as well as I had hoped, I became a freelancer in September 2007.

According to a survey by human resources consulting firm Kelly Services, Inc, 26% of the U.S. working population now find themselves in a similar position.

For companies the benefits of hiring freelancers over full-time employees are great. They can seek out workers only when they truly need them and tend to save even more money from not providing costly benefit packages to their contracted workers.

For us the benefits aren’t as fruitful.

As a freelancer you must file your taxes as self-employed workers, which means you pay out of pocket each year. You also have to find funds to cover your own health insurance and retirement plans. Oh and you know those people who despite losing their jobs get some nominal amount of money each week via the government? Yeah, that will never apply to you as a freelancer.

However, while it can be more difficult to survive on your own, freelancing offers certain luxuries not afforded to those working a regular 9-5.

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There is the luxury of working from home or your own private office, in addition to independence and the ability to be far more mobile in your career options.

My first year of freelancing was quite difficult, but this year I’ve been doing much better. But, I will say that I have explored the option of securing a full-time job in recent months for the security…and medical benefits. But with company after company facing hiring freezes, I’ve had to stick to what I’ve been doing and try to continue to build on that.

Unfortunately, even the freelance market is suffering. Some opportunities have come and gone due to budget cuts being slashed across the board. As disappointing as that has been I’ve constantly worked towards being proactive in creating opportunities for myself and actively search for ways to advance my career. 

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For those of who now find yourselves working as freelancers, I’d love to hear about your experiences thus far.

Email me at therecessiondiaries@gmail.com. 

Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.