Now that I have finally switched to full-time freelancing, I have received many e-mails from others asking how they too can freelance full-time.
This is a loaded question to answer, as there is no right answer for the steps that a person should take before they make the freelancing switch.
I have only been freelancing full-time for a couple of weeks, but I have been building it up for a couple of years and have been working on it for over 40 hours a week for quite some time. I feel very prepared for my freelancing future.
When deciding whether to freelance full-time, there are many things to think about.
Start your freelancing as a side job if you can.
This is what I did. I started my freelancing services on the side, which helped me grow my business but not have to rely on my income in order to survive. It definitely took off the pressure.
However, not everyone can start it as a side job. There may be circumstances where you have to leave your job immediately or you are let go from your job. However, if you can, definitely try to build your freelancing on the side to see if you even like what you are doing (and to see if it is profitable).
See if you can realistically afford it.
If you are thinking about freelancing, figure out if you can truly afford to make the switch. Being your own boss is great, but there are many expenses that may pop up.
Start by creating a realistic budget and realistically totaling your income after taxes each month. Is that enough to survive, save for retirement and live the life that you want to live?
Don’t forget about taxes.
When adding up your budget and expenses, do not forget about taxes. It may be easy to forget about taxes because you only have to pay them quarterly/yearly, but you should be accounting for it once you receive money.
Could you survive if you had a bad month?
As a freelancer, there are most likely going to be bad months. I don’t know of many freelancers who can say that every single month of freelancing is perfect.
If you had a bad month where your expenses far exceed your income, would you be able to survive?
Have an emergency fund.
That leads to my next point, make sure that you have an emergency plan. This may not be possible for everyone (depending on the reasons for why you are leaving your job), but you should still attempt to build your emergency fund if you can.
We made sure to have a well-funded emergency plan. It helps protect us in case we have a bad month so that we can focus on work and not on how we would scrounge up the next dollar.
Have a business plan.
You might think “Oh, I can just make a business plan later.” However, having a business plan now is important. Maybe your freelancing services are going well now, but are they sustainable into the future? What are your plans for the future? Where do you see your business taking you?
Having meaningful experience is important if you plan on switching to full-time freelancing. It is easier to get work if you have good experience and contacts.
Know how to network.
As a freelancer, networking is very important. Networking can help you land contracts. Networking can help you find out about future jobs, projects, ideas and so on.
Maybe someone who you have networked with will need your services later on, and they hopefully will think about you and your services. Most people would rather use someone who they know or someone who they know of instead of a stranger, and this is where you come in.
Is your plan to freelance full-time or to be your own boss? What tips do you have?