Part-Timers: a Win-Win

I gave a presentation to the Web Analytics Wednesday group in Austin, TX a few weeks ago. There were about thirty people in attendance — approx half of the group was either unemployed or looking for additional work. My presentation focused on "selling yourself" in this market — as opposed to "building your personal brand" and "making yourself visible" — our advice over the last few years. The idea is that opportunities are less likely to find you — you have to go out and find them. Be a hunter — not a farmer…

Several of the people in the group mentioned to me that they had been offered part-time work (either with their previous employer or elsewhere), but they turned them down because they were only looking for full-time.

I asked each of them to reconsider.

If you put ego aside for a moment (not the easiest thing to do after being laid off) and think about the marketplace, part-time engagements have a lot to offer for everyone involved.

Companies have shed workforce and locked down hiring. In many cases they have work that has to get done but they don’t have the resources to deliver. What to do? Sure, you can hire freelancers/contractors to fill-in… but what if you don’t have 40 hours of work every week or your budget doesn’t allow for a full-time contractor? Should you just NOT deliver for your clients? Should you NOT sell a piece of business? Of course not. Many companies are looking for talented part-timers.

This is the fastest growing segment of our business right now. This is significant for two reasons: 1. It just BECAME a segment of our business about a month ago — we had never placed a pert-timer before; and 2. It is the ONLY growing segment of our business. In the past three weeks we have placed six part-time web analysts and search marketing professionals. I am tempted to call that a trend.

One the supply side we have several eager camps:

  • Candidates that have been laid off
  • Candidates that are work-from-home parents/care-givers
  • Candidates that are career contractors that manage 2-3 gigs at a time
  • Candidates that are working full-time and need/want to earn extra money on the side

On the demand side we have:

  • Agencies and consulting companies that have sold some business but can’t hire a perm employee or a full-time contractor
  • End-clients that have over-cut their teams or could not grow them because of hiring freezes

If you look through the profiles posted on our Contractor Exchange, about half of our web analytics and search marketing contractors list part-time work as an option. These profiles are generating inquiries at nearly a 3-1 pace over the full-time only contractors.

Part-timers enjoy many advantages:

  1. You can often charge more per hour for part-time work
  2. You can take on several engagements, so that if you lose one or two it doesn’t take you back to zero income
  3. You are often working on a remote / virtual office basis
  4. You are often making your own hours
  5. You are completely outside the politics — you deliver your work and move on…

If you look at the Job Trends page on Indeed.com, the phrase "part-time" has increased in frequency by about 10% since November of 2008. In our communities (web analytics and search marketing) I am convinced that it has increased even more.

So our advice is to go with the tide. Open yourself up to part-time work (or part-time workers). It is a win-win and it makes a lot of sense in this economy for everyone involved.

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