The Debate: Freelance Gigs vs a Staff Job

by Jonathan and Lisa Price

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We once edited a site that put up three to four articles a week, dealt with dozens of freelance writers, answered queries, wrote a monthly column for the site, managed a budget, and participated in all sorts of marketing, advertising and design meetings--all from the comfort of our home, 500 miles away from the head office. (And this was before we could get ISDN and DSL lines!) Yes, freelancing can be done (after all, this is the Internet), but staff jobs predominate, and there are pluses and minus to both situations.

For instance, if you discover that the staff job of your dreams is located 1,000 miles away, wait before you sign up for the all-expense-paid move. There are a lot of financial considerations to think about, especially what kind of salary you'll need in a new town. For example, you can live well on $50,000 a year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But in Silicon Valley, you won't be able to qualify for a garage mortgage on that. So how do you know? One way is by going to a HomeStore and click Moving. Fill in the information for the Salary Calculator to compare the cost of living in hundreds of communities in the U.S. For staff jobs, the biggest plus and minus is the site--you have to be there. Here are some other advantages and disadvantages to each way of earning a living.

The pluses of working on staff The minuses of working on staff The pluses of being a freelancer The minuses of being a freelancer

Jonathan and Lisa Price **Jonathan and Lisa Price are professional Web writers who teach other writers how to tailor their prose for email, webpages, and discussions. With Web clients such as America Online,,, Hewlett-Packard, and KB Kids (now eToys), the Prices come out of a background in journalism, technical communication, marketing, and public relations. They've written 24 books for major publishers, and hundreds of articles for Web sites. Their consulting clients include such firms as Apple, Broderbund, Cadence, Canon, Cisco, Epson, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Ketchum, Lotus, Matsushita, Middleberg Euro, Mitsubishi, Nikon, Ogilvy, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Relational, Ricoh, Sprint, Sun, Symantec, Visa, Xerox, and Zycad. Jonathan has taught writing at New Mexico Tech, New York University, Rutgers, University of New Mexico, and the Extension programs of the University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Stanford. Jonathan and Lisa Price's website can be found at

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