We’re about a year into the “Recession” while some “experts” say it’s over and others say it started long ago and will finish far into the future. I think it’s pretty spikey with good news and bad news  floating by as we shift economies and financial systems.

I wrote an article in Nov 2007 about becoming an e-learning consultant and in it I discussed rates and types of work one could focus on. I’m wondering if this has changed much in the past two years.

My own observations include the notion that Work 2.0 has resulted in more fluid and ongoing job searches, that learning is becoming part of work routine and that we now take our social networks wherever we move and need the workplace less for socialization. I’ve also observed a rise in self-employment and made my recommendations on how free-agents can market themselves online.

Is it easier to be a freelancer today, and if so:

  1. what are the major challenges?
  2. are people being forced into freelancing?
  3. are rates going up, down or remaining stable?

In my own case, now in year 7 as a free-agent, it’s been bumpy. There is still work but it’s more difficult to find in certain sectors. Having a diverse client base and skill-set is helpful. Rates seem to have stayed the same, but more creativity in how and what is billed is sometimes necessary. Marketing and getting people’s attention remain as the major challenges.

Finally, there is one area where I’m starting to see a spark of real interest that could grow into a worthwhile vocation – the online community manager. More organizations, for and non-profit, are realizing the importance of understanding and supporting communities of members, suppliers, partners and customers. I’m getting requests for people with the skills and experience in nurturing communities online. For learning professionals with social media savvy, this field has a lot of potential. However, the community manager usually needs sector-specific experience and it may be part-time work, suitable for freelancers to augment their consulting or other work.

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