Part-time freelancing is a fantastic way to utilize your skills and talents, fulfill your entrepreneurial yearnings and make some extra money. While many part-timers are content to keep their sideline just that, others yearn to turn their spare-time gig into a full-time career. Are you one of those restless employees who dreams of breaking free of your corporate chains for the freedom of freelancing?
Before you up and quit your day job, you should be aware that there’s a big difference between earning a little extra here and there to depending on freelancing as your main income source. Many part-time freelancers have successfully made the switch to full-time business owners. How can you be among them?
The key to successfully transitioning from part-time to full-time freelancing is to develop a strong plan of action beforehand. This is where you build a secure platform upon which your business can develop to the point that it can ultimately sustain you. Keep these factors in mind when contemplating the leap to full-time freelancing.
Build up a cushion in your savings account. There will be unexpected expenses, unpredictability and lean times as you gear up to full-time. Having extra savings to fill in the financial gaps will provide physical and emotional security. It sometimes takes a little longer to build up a full-time clientele, as well, which makes it even more important to make sure that you’ve got a little financial padding to cover your bills.
Have several great pieces in your portfolio before you quit. Have some freelancing experience under your belt before you consider doing it full-time. That way you can showcase your abilities and talents to prospective clients right out of the box. Don’t wait until you are unemployed to begin creating a portfolio of your most impressive freelance work. If you need to complete a few projects for free to build up your portfolio, it’s better to do so when you have other sources of income than just your freelancing.
Set up your own website. Don’t rely on any portfolio sites. Set yourself apart from the crowd by creating your own online identity. You can exercise greater control over your site and the way it’s marketed when it’s yours. You also don’t need to worry about a portfolio site deciding your work should be removed for some reason or the company running that site taking it offline.
Look for reliable income streams, such as sites that can land you multiple projects, at first. This will provide financial stability while you build up your marketing and portfolio. As your marketing efforts and referrals gain you independent work, you can rely less on these sites and more on the clientele you’ve built.
Have a sit-down with your employer at least a month before you intend to quit to talk about the transition. Make it as easy as possible to train someone to take your place. It’s best to maintain a good relationship with those with whom you’ve worked rather than burning your professional bridges. In some cases, if your freelance work overlaps with what you’ve been doing for your employer, you may be able to continue working on a contractual basis.
Set up a system for managing all the aspects of your freelancing business. This will ensure that your business operates efficiently and professionally. Ultimately, starting out with strong organization of your customers, leads, projects and bookkeeping, helps you regard your endeavor as a legitimate business. It also assures that the focus remains on your work by keeping a handle on the “nuts and bolts” of running a business.
Learn as much as you can about running a business, because freelancing is a legitimate business proposition. Educate yourself about being an entrepreneur so you can make intelligent decisions as to the operation of your business. Read, take classes and join clubs to learn from others’ business experiences. Especially as an entrepreneur, knowledge is power.
Transitioning from part-time to full-time freelancing takes time, a solid plan, careful execution and persistence to create an atmosphere conducive to success. Make sure that before you’ve given notice at your day job that you’ve set the stage for a profitable full-time freelance career. It’s how part-time freelancers become successful full-time freelancers and viable entrepreneurs!