How to Transition from Your 9-5 to a Freelance Career

— August 30, 2019

It’s a dreamy thought: ditching your commute and setting up shop in your own home. These days, it’s totally possible to leave the 9-5 life and build a successful freelance career.

In a way, the world of work is coming full circle—nearly 80% of the population worked from home back in the mid-1800s. By the late 1970s, however, only 7% of people were self-employed. Today, the Internet has allowed our increasingly global society to shift back in that direction, and it’s a very attractive idea for lots of people who want more control over their schedules and lives.

But how exactly do you make the transition from a traditional office job to a freelance career and actually make a living? Here are some tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.

The Nature of the (Freelancing) Beast

Lots of people freelance as a side hustle while holding down a traditional job (a practice known as “moonlighting”), but others make it their full-time occupation. Freelancers work with clients on one-off projects or on a contract basis but are not considered employees.

One of the best things about starting a freelancing career is that it’s usually pretty easy to get things off the ground. If you have skills that can be performed online, like web development, graphic design, bookkeeping, or writing, you won’t have much overhead and you can start offering your services right away. The possibilities are endless!

Of course, even though it’s easy to get started, it’s not always easy to create a full-time income, find clients, and manage your time. If you want to get up to date on the ins and out outs of starting a successful freelance business, there are lots of great how-to freelance courses available on Udemy.

The nature of the freelancing beast is that you’ll probably need some resources for getting started, a community of like-minded people to support you, and ideally, a bit of a nest egg as a cushion when clients are few and far between.

Is Freelance Work Right for You?

Freelancing might seem like a dreamy way to make a living. You’re the boss, you set your own hours, and you’ll practically never have to squeeze into uncomfortable business clothes again. While freelancing can offer a great lifestyle and work-life balance, the truth is that being self-employed isn’t right for everyone.

Before you hand in your resignation at the office, take some time to ask yourself if freelancing is really the best option for you. As a freelancer, you’ll have to wear many hats. You will be in charge of setting your hours, finding clients, juggling your workload, bookkeeping, and many other aspects of running a small business.

You’ll be getting more flexibility and freedom, but also more responsibility and uncertainty. You’ll have to get new clients as needed, negotiate, stay on top of your taxes, finance your own benefits and make sure you’re managing your time well so you’re not working all the time.

If that sounds overwhelming, or you have trouble with self-motivation, then you might be better off sticking with a 9-5. There’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’re not sure, then testing the waters can be a great way to go.

Testing the Freelance Waters

If you’re not sure if you’re cut out for freelancing, why not try picking up a client or two and moonlighting while you’re still at your current job? That way, you can test the waters and see if freelancing full time is something you want to do.

It’s smart to have some clients lined up before you quit your job anyway since it can take some time before the real money starts coming in. Starting part-time will help you save for a nest egg and allow you to hone your craft before you go full time. As a bonus, you’ll get some valuable practice in time management and motivation.

Not sure what to offer? Commissioned blogging is where a lot of freelancers start. You can get some great tips from blogging e-courses on Udemy and then start looking for your first clients! You’ll gain confidence with each project and you should be able to tell pretty quickly if freelancing is for you.

Should You Accept the Mission…

If you decide to take the plunge and create a fabulous new self-employed life, remember to take care of yourself during the transition. It’s all too easy to let self-care, reasonable hours, and work-life balance to fall by the wayside when you’re building a business. Protect your time off to prevent burnout!

Should you accept the freelancing mission, remember that there will be ups and downs. It’s not always easy to be the boss. But if you’re determined, self-motivated, and dedicated, you’ll have an enviable career—all while wearing your pajamas

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Author: Ryan Ayers

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