Workers are also not part of a pension plan or matching 401k and they might need to buy health insurance, if say there's no working relative that can put them on their policy.
However, Nason points out that today's benefits are transportable. "With 401ks, people are not trapped as before in companies," says Nason. "Being a portable professional has become an intregal part of the economy."
And as for health care, the COBRA plan allows laid off workers to buy coverage for up to a year after being leaving their full time job help make the transition from full time to part time. And the Obama stimulus plan allows government coverage of up to 65 percent of COBRA costs.
What separates freelancers somewhat from other part time workers is how they get their jobs. While many companies hire part timers through job agencies or through their own HR departments, many freelancers have to find work on their own.
And not everyone can be a freelancer says Fabio Rosati, CEO of Elance. "You have to be successful at multi-tasking," says Rosati. "You have to think of yourself as a business of one. That means marketing yourself."
"For freelancers to find success rather than failure, they have to know how to market themselves," says Mobley. "You have to reach out to new customers. Freelancers of the future have to be successful at marketing who they are to clients and companies."
Marketing yourself means contacting potential clients, posting yourself on social networks like LinkedIn and even having a web presence with a site of your own, says Mobley. "Be computer savvy and use web tools to build a site for yourself. There are some inexpensive ways to build one."
And you need discipline, says Shader Smith.
"The work tends to be focused because employers are watching the clock on what they are giving you to do, Shader Smith says. "And you need to be organized because you can bounce to bounce from client to client and it's easy to lose track."
But whether it's freelancing or working at a firm, the part time employee is a growing part of the job picture, says Elance's Rosati. "The economic uncertainty is increasing and putting pressure on those who want to try part time work," Rosait says. "For both companies and workers, the experience has become compelling."
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