Sunday, August 16, 2009

Recent Consulting Links

A few articles on consulting in the current economic climate, thanks to the Freelancers Union newsletter:

The Freelancers' Guide to Getting Paid On Time, or getting paid at all, from the Wall Street Journal. Some good advice in here, especially "deal directly with payroll" to avoid touchy discussions with your primary client; and advice on how to approach a suit if you need to go to small claims court.

For the Self-Employed, It's An Endless Work-Week, another one from the WSJ, this one about how difficult it is to go on vacation or take time off when you're constantly worrying about the next gig. While I don't personally have this problem, I will work on a vacation if an exec requires it, it turns out. So will a lot of other consultants out there, especially as the competition increases (more layoffs mean more freelancers, at least short term).

Now Hiring: Contract Workers? From Business Week, argues that employers are looking for non-perm employees now, and it means business for consultants. "In a recession, contract workers are often the first to go. But often, they're the first to be hired back, because in an uncertain environment, employers want to be flexible." This matches my observation of how the past 6-8 months has gone. The article notes that cutting of contract workers has slowed, and that contract workers are being hired back, but at lower pay than previously.

My own rates were cut by a long-term client a few months ago -- and my health insurance has gone up $100/month in the past year. My work expenses haven't dropped any, either.