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Several months back, A. Harrison Barnes, a career coach and founder of, predicted the new employment status would be freelancing one’s skills as an independent contractor. Turns out, that’s exactly what’s happened. Barnes pointed out several of the benefits – and some of the downsides – of working for oneself as an independent contractor. “There are many reasons the independent contractor status works well for several employment sectors”, says the founder. He is also quick to point out the downfalls might be enough to prevent someone from considering it either as a long term solution or even a temporary fix as he searches for a permanent job.

While it’s true employers are once again beginning to hire, A. Harrison Barnes says there’s a great deal of caution in every move employers and job seekers are making. The damage still feels raw to many. This has resulted in some workers who lost their jobs and who are now working for themselves to proceed cautiously, even when there is a traditional job opening available. They’ve grown accustomed to their new dynamics created out of desperation. Turns out, this could be the new employment status anyway, says Barnes.

The downside for this new class of employment is that there are many who are left vulnerable in terms of health insurance, paid vacations, 401(k) plans and a host of other benefits offered in a traditional employer/employee setting. Employers are beginning to see this, too. By eliminating all of these benefits, they are afforded the opportunity to re-energize the manpower for the work that’s needed to be done, as well as contracting with others who they otherwise wouldn’t be able to hire. It’s a double-edged sword, no doubt.

For former employees who are now answering to themselves, they suddenly have options they never had while in another’s employment, says Barnes. For instance, freelance writers, who notoriously are nocturnal, are now able to write whenever their creativity flairs and for many, that’s in the middle of the night. Contractors who always had to abide by traditional working hours can now work into the night installing cabinets, painting or anything else that’s part of their work orders. This is especially true for those who are coming in behind the builders in an effort to complete a new house construction. Even if the building contractor is behind schedule, it doesn’t necessarily have to affect others who are working alongside him.

Bottom line, says Barnes, is if you can cover your health insurance costs and are disciplined enough to put a percentage of your earnings aside for your retirement and savings, freelancing your skills might be the right solution for you. And finding companies who are leaning more towards this new work relationship is becoming easier as there continues to be an increase in the number of those who have discovered working for themselves is worth the sacrifice.

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