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Me, Inc.

Gila Arnold

The job title “freelancer” once meant “underemployed” or “between jobs,” but today a growing number are choosing the career over traditional employment. With the Web opening up labor markets around the world, writers, graphic designers, and virtual assistants are finding lucrative — and sometimes even steady — employment working for no one but themselves.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

WhenDeanWeinreich made aliyah eight years ago from Los Angeles, he knew that along with a life overhaul he would need a job overhaul as well. A lawyer by profession — a line of work not easily transferable to a new country — his best hope was to find an American job that he could do remotely. “For the first few years, I had a salaried position working from home,” he says. But then the company changed tack and decided not to maintain an in-house legal team. That’s when Weinreich decided to jump on the bandwagon, together with the growing millions of people around the world: He became a freelancer. “I put my shingle up,” he says, describing his efforts to seek out jobs. “I tried working all my contacts. I also put a website together, and listed myself on freelancing websites like Elance.” It took him some time to put together a business plan and start his marketing campaigns, but once he was ready, he says, he got his first client within a few weeks. “I searched on the website for lists of solo practitioners, and just started making cold calls,” he says. He figured that the chances were greater that a lawyer practicing alone would be interested in outsourcing some of his overflow work than for someone in a large firm with plenty of lawyers and paralegals at hand. “I called up this one lawyer — actually, my wife called her — and developed a nice rapport with her on the phone. She ended up giving me several projects.” However, he says, not all of his jobs have come so easily, and over the years there have been many slow periods. He’s acquired most of his clients since then through connections. “I’ve been freelancing as an attorney for four years now,” he says. “I love the flexibility of working from home. When it’s good, it’s good. But when it’s not, it can be nerve-racking.

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