Freelancing is a now a big part of society, with 53 million people doing freelance work in the U.S. alone. If those 53 million people could attest to, it isn’t always easy! Transitioning from your full-time job to a freelance life can seem intimidating, but with preparation and proper prudence you will be able to successfully make the move and begin flourishing as a freelancer. If you’re looking to make the transition, keep these 12 tips in mind:
- Crunch the Numbers
As idyllic as freelance life can seem, there’s no doubt that it can be more financially stressful than receiving a paycheck on time every month, as is the case with a conventional job. Freelancers are certainly able to generate revenue, but rarely is it consistent.
With that in mind, it’s very important to do the math in regard to your personal finances, to see if you’re in the proper position to freelance full time. Set a goal of how much you need to make per month, while crunching the numbers to see how viable that is.
- Embrace the Socratic Method
The Socratic Method embraces critical thinking and ideas via discussion and inquiry. Reaching out to those you know within your niche for a chat about the industry or their experiences can aid considerably in both informational guidance and potential business relationships. Buying a niche expert some lunch or a cup of coffee for their insight is well worth it.
- Set up a Legitimate Workspace
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean it has to be from the couch or bed. To keep yourself focused and in work mode, relegate a section of your home to a workspace. A home office can maintain focus and productivity by blocking you from nearby distractions, like TV or other leisurely activities within your home.
- Never Assume You Know It All
Stubbornness isn’t a good business trait. No one knows everything about the business they’re in, since most industries change on a frequent basis. When making the switch to freelance, consider pursuing learning resources – like online classes – to enhance your particular skillset. Seth Godin’s freelance writing course is a good example. It’s a three-hour tutorial that serves as a great lesson for newbies and experienced freelancers alike.
- Set Your Goals
Freelancers and large businesses alike have goals each quarter that they strive to meet or exceed. However, unlike larger businesses, freelancers should narrow down their goals to simplified and realistic outcomes, like an average per-month revenue or number of clients by a certain period. Make these goals early, as they can serve as a great foundation down the line.
- Network Everywhere You Can
There are networking opportunities in every major U.S. city for every niche imaginable. A casual conversation at an expo or workshop can turn into a great business relationship down the line. There is no downside whatsoever to engaging in discussion with those who are similarly motivated and skilled. Whether it’s a future business partner or one lead that can turn into dozens of them, networking everywhere you can is always a good thing.
- Join the Freelancers Union
Freelancers Union is free to join and offers multiple benefits, such as showing freelancer-friendly health coverage plans and community outreach opportunities. It also offers solid discounts on freelancer-friendly services like Squarespace.
- Make Your Schedule
While it doesn’t have to be precisely 9-to-5 or reflective of your previous job, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re putting in enough hours each day to reflect a full-time job. It’s easy to procrastinate at home, so putting yourself on the clock using a variety of time-tracking apps for freelancers can be highly beneficial to maintaining focus and motivation.
- Offer Your Services to Previous Employers
Assuming the split was amicable, contact previous employers and acquaintances who you feel may be interested in your services, whatever they are. Getting work from your previous employer for your freelance career can be a great way to get started with a trustworthy client, so absolutely consider it if the relationship remains relatively strong.
- Use Endorsements Where Possible
Endorsements/testimonials can persuade someone to become a client, especially when they’re weighing the competition. A McKinsey study found that “consumers overwhelmed by product choices tune out the ever-growing barrage of traditional marketing, and word-of-mouth cuts through the noise quickly and effectively.” This affirms that word-of-mouth and endorsements have more marketing potential than traditional outlets. Since that’s the case, seek out any endorsements you can and make them publicly viewable on your website or marketing materials.
- Use an Accountant
While the cost of an accountant may seem exorbitant for a new freelancer trying to cut costs, a good accountant can be the difference between a freelancer’s failure and success. A new freelancer already has enough on their plate, so hiring an accountant to deal with financial-related matters when they arise is a prudent decision.
Even beyond that, you should use the help of an accountant when constructing your business plan, in addition to referring to their services whenever the government requests seemingly complex legal information. Accountants have saved businesses and freelancers tens of thousands and more.
- Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle
One of the greatest things about freelancing is that you can exercise or eat lunch whenever you please. With that in mind, use the new flexibility to maintain a healthy lifestyle via regular exercise and healthy eating. The days of fast food at the office should be long gone, since being a few steps away from your kitchen makes healthy eating a lot easier. Foods like avocado, salmon and leafy greens are a few focus-boosting food suggestions.
Do you have any other suggestions for going from full-time to freelance? Comment below.