With all the currency wars raging in the world, it can be difficult to get paid for work, which is why many freelancers and small businesses are turning to the black markets to make a little extra cash.
According to a report by the International Federation of Journalists, there are some 30 million freelancers in the United States alone, and the number is expected to reach 50 million by 2020.
The black market has become a vital source of income for those looking to make ends meet.
“You can make a lot of money on this thing by being a criminal,” says Scott Brown, a former employee of The New York Times who currently works as a freelance writer and editor.
“It’s just so cheap to be able to use a credit card, to be honest with you.”
Brown’s freelance career began in 2009 as a freelancer for the Times, but he soon found himself out of work and unable to find work elsewhere.
He eventually got a job as a security guard at a New York City nightclub, but that’s where the trouble began.
“The first thing that comes to mind is that I thought I was just working for a nightclub, and I wasn’t,” Brown said.
“And I realized I was actually doing a lot more than that.”
He ended up being arrested and jailed for a month in 2010.
“I was arrested for theft, because I was using my credit card,” he said.
Brown’s arrest set him on a path to becoming a criminal.
He spent three years in jail and three years at the Department of Corrections.
“My whole life was in prison,” he told National Geographic.
“Every time I got out of prison, I was thinking, I’ll never go back to prison.”
The ordeal changed his life, and it led to his decision to become a freelancing entrepreneur.
He went to work for a few clients before turning to a freelance company called Efficient Finance.
Brown and his business partner, Scott G. Boudreau, started Efficient, which specialized in creating and maintaining high-quality credit reports.
Bouts of freelance writing and consulting helped Brown get his foot in the door, and soon he was earning some extra money by doing the work for clients that needed to be paid.
But it wasn’t until 2014 that he was offered a position as an editor for the Wall Street Journal, and that was when Brown’s business took off.
“At the time, I had no idea how to do freelance writing,” Brown told National Geo.
“When I started, I just wanted to be a writer, and so I started freelancing.”
His work became so popular that he earned more than $1 million in a year.
He says his income has grown to $10,000 a month, but most of that money comes from the freelance work he does.
“Most of the money is earned from the time that I am writing and editing, and from my income from freelancing,” he says.
But there’s more to the story.
The freelance work is also a way for Brown to support his wife and kids, who he says are still struggling to pay for college.
“We are still in a lot, but we’re not broke, so it’s a pretty good paycheck,” he explained.
Brown says the business is also helping him pay for his college, which he earned at Penn State, and is paying for some of his children’s college fees.
But he’s also trying to help his wife pay for her first child.
“For now, it’s kind of just a hobby, but I have some plans to go back and have a little more fun,” he continued.
“One thing I will say, I have an older daughter, and she’s very much into the freelance thing, and has a really good understanding of how to write and edit and all the things that a freelist can do.”
Brown is a member of the National Geographic Society and has been since 1998.
He has been an editor and contributor for the magazine since 2007.