Part-time freelancing: An alternative perspective

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So much is written about the part-time writer or freelancer being the one who complicates part-time working arrangements – they do this, they do that, part-time freelancing during your off hours is going to melt your brain and turn you into a hermit and so forth. These articles only tell half the story and actually do a disservice to writers and potential clients.

So much is written about the part-time writer or freelancer being the one who complicates part-time working arrangements. You hear things like hey do this, they do that, part-time freelancing during your off hours is going to melt your brain and turn you into a hermit and so forth. These articles only tell half the story and do a disservice to such projects.
I’ve freelanced during my off hours for a large part of my career but with a few bumps in the road along the way. Yet, as much is written about the freelancer fumbling, the employer/client can also drop the ball and put what should be a simple exercise into the wall. Some ways include:
Not sizing up whether a project can be done offsite during evening and weekend hours. It can be easy to see such a freelancer as a full-time if you only have minimal experience working with offsite team members or even outside vendors. Some projects cannot be done offsite for political, cultural, or even karmic reasons not to mention technical hurdles.
Not accounting for a project team member working during off hours in the project schedule can setup that part of the project for failure. It’s up to the client and the part-time freelancer to be very judicious in scheduling. Remember part-time availability means a freelancer may not always turn on a dime like the other project team members who are on the day shift.
Poor communications between the part-time freelancer and the client can have the blame fall on both or either side. It’s best to include an addendum to the project plan if not even the contract that spells out the turnaround time for communications, document reviews, and any edits and revisions. None of this might be an issue on project teams that span time zones or in heavy email organizations where team members on the client side check their email in the evenings on their laptops and mobile devices.
While a part-time freelancer can nail their deadlines each time, the document can still go back to the client and sink to the bottom of their inbox.
The customer is treating the project as out of sight, out of mind because the writer isn’t onsite.
Choke the project with all sorts of unnecessary overhead like tracking spreadsheets and multiple status reports that strangle the hours.
In our current down economy, part-time freelancing is something for both accomplished professionals and prospective employers to embrace. The freelancer gets to diversify their income and help build a war chest against the next layoff. The potential client can get a writer or other freelancer to focus on getting results with little or no downtime to pay for as they might have to with a full-time contractor onsite for 40 hours a week.
How does your company manage part-time freelancers?

Published by

Will Kelly

Will Kelly is a technical writer living and working in the Washington, DC area. After years of contracting, he returned to full-time corporate job in 2016. He writes thought leadership content around cloud, enterprise mobility, and cybersecurity topics. Will's has written for Samsung Business Insights, Tom's IT Pro, TechBeacon, CNET TechRepublic, and other sites. Earlier in his career, he wrote technical documentation for end users, developers, and operations teams. His current areas of interest include multi-cloud solutions, mobile security, and managed services. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.

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