401(K) for Freelancers


Saving money can be difficult even at the best of times. When your paychecks pop up irregularly, and at odd times, it can be downright frustrating.

Lately, I’ve been struggling to pay down my credit card debt and cover all my bills. I’ve been unable to contribute to the mortgage since October, and I’m desperate to save up money for both a house and my career coaching certification. With so many things to save for, retirement can seem miles away.

Lord knows, though, I don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck like this into my 90s. Which is why Freelancers Union’s announcement of a freelancers retirement plan is so intriguing.

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Side Jobs: Go Back To School


Since money became especially tight about four months ago, my mother has been suggesting that I become a substitute teacher. My response? I’m the type of person who can’t even control 4-year-olds. An entire classroom full of any age would eat me alive.

Still, as far as side jobs go, teaching is a good one for freelancers, and I don’t mean subbing. Those who teach classes and workshops in their area of expertise can bring in a good amount of extra cash, in addition to extending their brand, establishing themselves as an expert in their field.

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Take a Breath: How To Make the Most of a Slow Economy


Just the other day, Michelle Goodman posted about how people use their periods of unemployment. I commented thusly:

“The hours and days immediately following the loss of your income are incredibly fraught…filled with panic and desperation.

This is followed by the realization that you’ve been given a gift…the gift of time. Time to take for yourself. Time to be really really picky about the next job you choose.

As this period of time lengthens (and lengthens), you return to panic. And so it goes…”

The same holds true for those slow periods in a freelancer’s life, when the products seem to dry up and clients are suddenly MIA.

Do you panic and desperately grab at any old thing during these pauses in incoming work? Here are three ideas for more healthy and productive ways to utilize your newly empty hours. Feel free to add more in the comments!

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Writers Undermining Writers: Bidding Sites, Traffic-Based Compensation, and More


Mags are folding. Newspapers are tightening their belts. Writers everywhere are freaking the eff out.

It’s only natural that — for many — desperation has set in.

But I worry about the effect it’s having on the industry at large…an industry that has not seen the per-word rate rise in years, despite inflation.

The biggest offenders? Bidding sites, like Elance and Guru, and blog malls like Examiner and Today.

After the jump, the seven things that bug me about these sites:

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Doing Without: When Spending $ is the Name of Your Game

During the past few days, I’ve been stockpiling holiday gift guide posts for Modern Materialists, trying to find the perfect stocking stuffers and splurges for word nerds, history buffs, and burgeoning scientists. In the midst of all of this — and already well aware of the wrongheadedness of a products blog in the midst of a recession — I read this post over at Gawker, on the (questionable) future of luxury magazines.

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Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?

In these times of necessary financial restraint (boo!), it’s more important than ever before to make sure that you’re setting your rates at a level you deserve, and that you’re receiving full compensation for the work that you do.

This has always been a struggle for me. When in an office setting, I was never aggressive enough to pursue or negotiate the raises I felt I deserved, and now that I’m a freelancer, setting fair rates seems an impossible task!

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Coffee Break: Let’s Passively Make More $ While We Drink Our Coffee

Things have been looking up here, finance-wise, despite the fact that I still haven’t found another regular gig. I’ve gotten three new clips, with a fourth on the way, and also talked my way into a bit of a “raise.” Huzzah!

It’s not enough, of course, which is why I read the following two blog posts with such interest:

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8 Staffing Agencies That Love Creatives

As you well know, I’ve been struggling lately with how, exactly, to find the perfect balance between my freelance work and more regular income sources. The state of the economy hasn’t been helping, and so I’ve been considering other options, including the utilization of staffing agencies.

My previous experiences with staffing agencies were as a college student, looking for temp work during my breaks. I worked with one temp agency down in Central New Jersey, which was able to find me fairly regular work within the nonprofit sector. The other agency — much closer to where I’m living now — didn’t often have much to offer. Which is why I hadn’t seriously considered such avenues when the New York Sun first folded.

Now, having come closest to paying work with the help of two such agencies, I’ve been forced to reconsider their effectiveness.

After the jump, eight staffing agencies that specialize in the creative industries:

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How To Juggle Multiple Careers

Over the course of the past 10 years, I’ve juggled on-campus jobs, part-time retail work, temp work, full-time work, freelance projects, and internships, all in varying combinations.

At first, in my earliest post-college years, I considered full-time work to be the obvious end goal and, for a time, was quite proud of myself as I moved up in the world of academic book publishing.

As my longing for more creative work grew, however, I determined that I could only find happiness as a full-time freelancer.

Now, as the New York Sun teeters on the brink of end times, and I find myself losing a main source of income that was more part-time than freelance (except for the 1099), I’ve been forced to consider that an all-or-nothing approach is perhaps not the best one for me.

And maybe you’ve come to the same conclusion. Perhaps you’ve read The Anti 9 to 5 Guide and One Person/Multiple Careers and are already masterminding the perfect balance of multiple income streams. After the jump, the types of income sources you should consider, and why:

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