Long time readers and listeners of Freelance Blend know that I left my corporate job after 18 years of working in the banking industry. From being a salaried employee, I joined the exciting world of solopreneurs and freelancers.
While this may seem as a scary move for some (believe me it was daunting at first!), I did my own research and took calculated risks before I made the big leap. This means that I established multiple back-up plans, from Plan A, B, and more, to ensure that my expenses are covered just in case the worst happens. However, this may not be the same case for all aspiring freelancers.
Consider Part-Time Freelancing
There are many reasons that can stop you from making this career switch. Existing financial commitments, insufficient emergency funds, or the lack of clients can all prevent you from being a full-time freelancer. But who says you have to take the plunge and go straight to full-time freelancing? If working on your own terms is your ultimate career goal but you cannot dive in to do it full time now, take little steps to achieving your goal. Start by freelancing on the side.
Here are 3 benefits of part-time freelancing:
You can earn extra without the “newbie” pressure
The learning curve is steep when switching to a freelancing career. Unlike in a full-time corporate job where you are paid to do what you are good at, freelancing more often requires additional skills to succeed. You will have to learn how to sell yourself to potential clients, to build your network, and to maintain client relationships – all of these and more on top of your actual freelancing job.
As a part-time freelancer, you have the assurance of a steady income from your full-time job which helps lessen the pressure to immediately start earning. This will give you the time to learn the ropes, to choose your target market, and to evaluate projects without sacrificing your own standards.
You can change your mind anytime
Get the best of both worlds. You can compare the pros and cons of being a freelancer and an employee based on your own experience. If at some point you realize that you like your day job more than being a freelancer, you can simply stop offering your services and continue doing your corporate job. Imagine if you immediately quit your job but decided that freelancing was not for you? Depending on the status of the job market, it may take some time for you to go back to your industry.
If you do decide that freelancing is for you, you can slowly build your own client base and portfolio until you earn enough to quit your job. Since it is now clear to you want to be a full-time freelancer, you can then make decisions and take actions that lead to easier transitions and increased stability as you switch careers.
It can help you to be better in your full-time job
If you have been in your main job for quite a while, chances are you are spending your days utilizing the same skillsets. Deciding to pursue side projects forces you out of your comfort zone and gets your creative ideas flowing. Combining your full-time job and freelancing introduces variety which may be what you need in case you are in a rut.
Thinking outside the box helps make you better at your job. Harvard Business Review cites “starting something outside of work” as one of the key things to make you happier at work. The best part is, it can eventually lead you to your goal of being a full-time freelancer.
Remember, you don’t have to quit your job to be a freelancer. All of us have different journeys and what worked for others may not work the same way for you. Consider your options, evaluate risks, and achieve your goals one step at a time.