The shift from working for others to freelancing full-time can be scary. When you make that leap, you’re taking your fate into your own hands, sink or swim. But there are some things you can do to make the leap less dramatic and ensure that your lift off is smooth and as risk-free as possible.
Start by Freelancing on the Side
The best way to launch your freelancing career risk-free is to start by freelancing on the side. Keep your day job and start building your career in evenings and on weekends. As your client list and income grows, you can quit when the time is right.
Besides helping to reduce the risk, this strategy also gives you experience and knowledge gradually. You can master your trade by learning little by little. By the time you’re a full-time freelancer, you will have it down pat.
Put Aside a Reserve Fund
Another way to reduce the risk is to set aside some funds in advance. If it works better for you to quit your regular job and leap into freelancing, this fund will give you a cushion during the initial phase when you’re not earning.
Before you get started, put aside about 3 months’ worth of income from your regular job. This will keep you covered long enough to start earning. You’ll have plenty of time to spare.
Keep Costs Low and Avoid Debt
Another way to reduce the risks of jumping into a freelance career is to keep your start-up costs low and avoid going into debt. For your freelancer website, choose a cheap hosting plan and upgrade after your business grows. Once you have established a regular client base, you can start investing more in your business.
Start Building Your Network
Long before you start freelancing full time, you should start building a professional network. The best work comes through your network and referrals, not from job sites or even your website. Plus, there are many people who can help you in various ways. Even while you’re still working your regular job and your site isn’t even off the ground yet, introduce yourself to people and tell them about the freelance services you offer.
Become a Freelancer for Your Current Employer
If you have the opportunity to do so, you can start by becoming a freelance worker or consultant for your present employer. See if there are opportunities where you can stay employed with your current company, but with a more flexible schedule.
Plan Your Leap
Whatever strategy you choose for starting your freelance business, set a deadline for earning a full-time income. Set the time you’ll quit your day job and officially become a freelancer. This helps to keep you on track and keep it from just being a dream. It also helps with planning the details.
About The Author
Pat Simes is a Business Strategist, blogger and Founder of Innovative Business Solutions and Innovate Academy. She currently resides in the Midwest and is committed to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs to transform their vision to reality.