How to Move From a Full-Time Job to Freelancing: Part 1

Posted on 12. Jul, 2011 by in Essentials

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How to Move From a Full-Time Job to Freelancing: Part 1

If you’re thinking of flying the corporate coop and becoming your own boss, then today is your lucky day. If you dream of busting out of the cubicle wasteland and finding greener pastures as a freelancer, then you’re in good company.

Like most things in life, you must crawl before you can walk but never fear this guide will show you how it’s done.

The best way to start working as a freelancer is to begin part time. If you don’t have a job when you start, then you should look for a full-time job that is flexible and has a low demand for your work output — a job packing grocery store shelves is a good example. Having a low demand job means you won’t be exhausted at the end of the day and gives you a chance to gradually get the ball rolling.

Let’s be honest here, being a freelancer is financially risky, especially in the beginning, so it’s important to have some financial security. By entering the arena as a casual freelancer you will have enough time to figure out if you will be successful in your chosen field.

Don’t ditch the day job

Where ever you are, being a freelancer is a great opportunity — the ability to set your own hours and work from home is incredible. However earning your entire income from freelancing alone can be difficult. A rare exception to the rule is becoming a freelance contractor so you can be assured enough hours every week, this can prove to be just as difficult.

So until then it’s best if you keep your current job as it will give you more security, especially if over time if you realize that freelancing is not for you. Working full-time and freelancing in your spare time requires sacrifice, hard work and good organization. But to slowly construct your own business and to succeed you must be willing to put in the hours.

If you can afford it, another suggestion would be to get a part-time job and freelance part-time, this will give you alot more time to improve your technique and grow your business. A big part of heading down the path of freelancing is the actual journey, in other words, learning your skills and gaining experience is important. If you try to do this without having a job, you can be too pressured by the lack of money and won’t have learning and growing as a priority.

Not having to worry about daily expenses can be a big help to jump start your freelance business.

First impressions count

There is hardly ever a time when a client won’t ask you for samples of your previous work, so be prepared and sell yourself with a portfolio. Having a good quality portfolio is one of the best techniques to attract new clients and customers. It is true that you have to do some extra work, perhaps even some for free, so you have enough material to add to your portfolio, but this isn’t as hard as you think. While you are collecting pieces of work, you are also becoming a better freelancer. If you are just starting out and have absolutely nothing for a portfolio, ask one of your friends or family to give you a fake project to work on. The point of a portfolio is to showcase your talent.

Make sure your portfolio is picture perfect when you show a prospective client. Never mind that you have not been hired as a copywriter, web designer or whatever before. Just be sure that everything you do is at the best quality possible . If you want to succeed as a freelancer, you should only show off your best work, that means don’t include every job you have ever done. Remember one bad piece subtracts from your best work and can ruin the first impression of your entire portfolio.

Experience before income

If you want to succeed as a freelancer, first try to find projects that help you develop yourself professionally instead of those that are better paid. As stated before, this is alot easier if you have a steady job. For example you can work for nonprofit organizations, friends or potential customers, giving them a taste of what you do.

People love to talk and word of mouth advertising is priceless. The more work you do, the greater the chance someone will hear about you and be attracted to hire you. As you do more work you will gain more and more exposure, although at first it may not seem as profitable, this investment of time and generousity will pay off in the long run.

Conclusion

These are my views. If you agree or disagree, feel free to comment below, I would love to hear what you think.

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2 Responses to “How to Move From a Full-Time Job to Freelancing: Part 1”

  1. Steve

    19. Jul, 2011

    The hardest part for me was attracting the initial clients, once you have a body of work and testimonials to back you up it is much easier. That is why I would agree it is sometimes better to take on free or cheap work initially to gain some traction.

  2. Craig

    23. Sep, 2011

    I’d advice a bit of preparation is essential before making the leap too. Build up a few clients first, get glowing testimonials from them, prepare your website, workspace and business cards, get some new projects in the book.Then drop the letter on the boss’s desk. If you don’t try it, you’ll never know! You’ll be surprised at how focused you can become when you’re solely responsible for your monthly income. It can be tiring, and worrying, sometimes but the sense of empowerment is great.

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