Transitioning from working at a 9-to-5 job to being a full-time freelancer can be difficult —but it’s certainly doable. This major change will entail a lot of careful planning and adjustments to the way you live your life on a daily basis. And as difficult as the transition can be, freelancing offers the reward of having your daily schedule in your own hands, do it the right way and it will be well worth it. Read on to find out how you can thrive (and not just survive) in the cutthroat world of freelance.
Have a realistic purview about freelancing.
Why are you interested in ditching the 9-to-5 to become a full-time freelancer in the first place? If you’re in it because you think the money’s easier, or simply because of how glamorous being a digital nomad looks on Instagram, prepare to be disappointed. However, if you’re interested in this lifestyle because you want to avoid that daily stressful commute, or want to grow your career while maintaining a healthy work-life balance, then you might be on the right track. Understanding how difficult it is to be a freelancer is just as important as looking forward to its benefits. As with any major undertaking in life, realistic expectations result in realistic steps and goals.
Focus on getting local work.
While this may seem counter-intuitive considering how freelancing opens you to doing business globally, every new freelancer has to start somewhere. “Many people get into remote freelancing specifically for the opportunity to work with international clients. But that also means you’re competing with an international market,” explains Benek Lisefski on Medium. “Local connections make for greater trust, easier communication, and less competition.” Don’t be afraid of tapping your local personal networks to extend your professional contacts. In order to thrive as a freelancer, you need to actively chase leads and opportunities, as well as build trust within your developing client base. This is much easier to accomplish if you focus on working for local clientele first.
Consider joining a coworking space.
Coworking spaces offer freelancers a lot of benefits, including opportunities for growth and networking, as well as forward-thinking and conducive working environments. Today, they’re springing up all over the country and offering top of the range services for freelancers. A coworking space called Flourish in West Chester is not only designed for zero-waste sustainability but is even pet-friendly. Meanwhile, Industrious notes how the Country Club Plaza coworking space in Kansas provides access to office supplies, daily breakfast and snacks, and even wellness rooms. Not all coworking spaces are made equal, and some will definitely be better at providing you with specific needs that are relevant to your comfort and ability to do your job. Do the research and fish around until you find the coworking space that’s worth shelling out monthly rental fees for. Additionally, as coworking spaces increasingly become more common throughout the country, you can also look for them at your next destination should you need to travel and work.
Have a viable and long-term action plan.
As a budding freelancer, you no longer have the benefits of having a supervisor or an HR department to monitor and manage your progress for you. Much like your schedule, the responsibility to strategize for your own personal growth now rests in your hands. Create and develop a personal career plan in which you can map out your goals and the steps you need to take to reach them. Mark important economic events on your calendar. Have a ready billing strategy, which not only makes financial matters easier but also shows clients that you’re serious and trustworthy. Markdown and actively chase avenues for expanding your practice, business, or career. Do your homework and use all the information and resources on hand to create, develop, and stick to a viable and long-term freelancing strategy. Here is a great guide our friends over at the SimpleDollar.com wrote with everything you need to know about freelancing.
As we explained before, freelancing is hard but it’s not impossible. Whether you’re doing this to turn your passion into a career or achieve work-life balance by taking control of your schedule, you’re bound to run into your fair share of failures along the way. This is why it’s important to stay patient and confident throughout your transition. As our own Ryan Perez tells those who want to make money online, getting into a new career or business entails money, training, and time. If you know that you have a solid plan for transitioning to becoming a full-time freelancer, stick to your plan and see it through. While it’s important to have a realistic idea of just how cutthroat freelancing can be, it’s equally as important to have confidence in your own abilities to thrive in this world.