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Getting a freelance gig

Gerri Willis offers tips on becoming your own boss and being a hired gun in this turbulent economy.

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By Gerri Willis, CNN

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NEW YORK ( -- Forget full time employment. We're becoming a nation of freelancers. So how can you go freelance?

1. Welcome to the gig economy

Some pundits have coined this the gig-economy...meaning that a lot of folks are just stitching together a bunch of free-floating projects, consultancies, and part-time bits and pieces.

A recent MSN-CareerBuilder Zogby poll found that 30% of respondents would freelance if they could make as much money as they currently do.

An additional 17% want to freelance in order to be their own boss. Freelancing is a trend that more and more companies are embracing. That's because in a tightening economy, many companies just can't afford full time employees, so they hire freelancers for short-term projects

2. Know what you're getting into

Well - there are some obvious pluses - you work in your pajamas, you don't have to travel, you can work on a variety of projects or turn down projects.

But there are other things that you will have to think about: You have to pay your own Social Security tax. You also have to set aside money for retirement and disability insurance and you have to track of your expenses, even something as small as picking up a few supplies while you are at the grocery store

3. Get connected

Start out at Internet sites like or Talk to freelancers in your field. Dig out and reconnect with those contacts you've made over the years. They can be a valuable source of leads.

When you land a gig, remember to do more than just get busy getting the assignment done. A lot of your work is simply marketing yourself says Kate Pendleton of the 5 O'clock Club. And her tip - you shouldn't have more than 15% of revenue coming from one source. To top of page

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