The recession has driven more and more companies to look for contract and freelance work as an alternative to full-time positions. Farming out work to independent contractors makes sense for the bottom line because companies can pay for the work they need done, with decreased overhead expenses like benefits and setting up a physical office for each employee. In today's economy, nine in 10 companies use some amount of contract work [source: Koba]. If you have a marketable skill like graphic design, search engine optimization, Web design, public relations or writing, you can take advantage of those employers' cost cutting.
Hourly pay for freelance work tends to be higher than for salaried positions. On the other hand, you will have to account for gaps between assignments. For a company, the benefit of hiring freelancers is not having to pay them when it doesn't need them. To get started, research online markets to determine the going rate for the type of work you'll be doing. There are multiple Web sites where you can post your resume and search job listings, including elance.com, ratracerebellion.com and flexjobs.com. Some sites charge a commission to connect you with an employer, others charge a flat fee to access the listings, and some are completely free.