Every year around Christmas time people ask if I know of any freelancing jobs where they can make some extra cash. Generally I attempt to steer these people away from freelancing, because they have it all wrong. Now, I'm not trying to scare away anyone who looking for a long term job in freelancing, and it's true that you can get a freelance job on relatively short notice. While it used to be that a freelancer would meet face-to-face with a client and put together a proposal, there are now online alternatives to this method. There are websites where several freelancers can bid on a project, and work from the comfort of their home offices.
The myth is now whether you can actually make enough on these jobs for it to even be worth the time you spent looking for a freelance job in the first place. Especially for freelancers starting from scratch, it can be very hard to land a job that actually pays a decent wage. While it is possible to make a decent amount of cash doing these jobs, chances are you will be working for far less than the federal minimum wage. Plus, you're competing with people from all around the world, and whoever offers the lowest rate (everything else being equal, will get the job).
It has been my experience that work is harder to find during the weeks before and during the holiday season. Many clients prefer to have a clean slate to work with for the new year and therefore will not hire at the end of the year. There is also a great deal of people looking for some quick cash online, cause a huge increase in job bids for everyone to compete with.
If you need to use freelancing to cover extra holiday expenses, it is best to spread it out over the year. By doing this you are not cramming a years worth of work into an already hectic schedule. And if you're looking to get started with freelancing, doing so during the crazy holiday rush will put you at an even larger disadvantage.
While you can make money doing freelancing, you will not make it by Christmas. Even if you do succeed in landing a job, even though you waited until the last minute, chances of completing all the steps required in order to receive pay before Christmas is slim to none. Some companies even take as long as 90 days after they receive their invoice.
So in summary, if you're looking for some quick holiday cash, freelancing may very well be more trouble than its worth.
Jason is CEO of Codecopia and a professional freelancer specializing in websites and online media. Read more about freelancing and Jason at his online portfolio.