Doing Well In Chicago : Planet Money A freelance Web designer says low overhead is key.
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Doing Well In Chicago

Under the subject line of "Only a Fool Would Talk About Good News," Joe Chellman writes:

Okay, that's not true.

But talking about good news in this economy makes me very superstitious.

I'm a freelance web developer in Chicago, and so far I'm continuing to do okay. That is to say, my workload has not lightened, and I even got a bit busier starting late last fall. I don't think there's anything particularly magic going on here; I think it's just that I'm a one-person operation with no overhead.

I've been doing this for close to 10 years now, and I've made enough connections in that time that I can stay afloat. I'm also not a big spender, so my cost of living (for someone living in Chicago, anyway) is pretty modest. I think I just got lucky with some of the connections I made right before things really went south, so I continue to have just enough work, which is all I ever want anyway.

This is not at all exciting, and because I'm a Planet Money listener, I'm always looking over my shoulder for when the other shoe will drop, but in my case, so far so good.