Well, it depends on the work I suppose. If you can land a long-term gig as an independent contractor then yes, you can ratchet your rate expectations down a bit. But if the jobs you are taking are piecemeal? Then needing to bill at around triple what you'd earn as a regular full-time employee is about right. Somebody working in fits and starts has to cover:
- Payroll taxes
- Liability Insurance
- Overhead (i.e. travel, legal bills, things an employer might reimburse you for, like your cell phone)
- Non-billable labor (time spent doing all those mundane tasks you would foist off to corporate functions (i.e. billing, accounting, marketing, etc.)
What? You can't get anybody to pay it? Well you are almost certainly earning less than an employee doing the same job would be.