The freelance industry has received a lot of attention in the past year. This is due mainly to the industry’s success during the Covid-19 pandemic. While most other sectors were negatively affected by the pandemic, the freelance industry flourished.
In 2020, freelancers constituted 36% of the American workforce. This number is steadily increasing. Companies are now more willing to work with freelancers as this has proven to be a more flexible and affordable option. So, if you want to launch a freelance career, start a consulting business, or simply have more freedom, there are many opportunities for you outside the walls of your 9 to 5 job.
This article details the steps you need to start your freelance career while working a full-time job. This is no easy feat as you need to develop the right conditions for launching your freelance career, time management skills, a reputable brand, and so on. This might seem like a lot of work, but we break the entire process down into a concise and applicable set of steps.
How to start freelancing on the side?
- Choose an area of focus. This is extremely important and can help you create a realistic and efficient plan for your freelance career. You might be multitalented, but your two most important assets are your time and reputation in the freelance world. These two things can be better served if you determine your focus and stick to one thing. Whether you choose copywriting, digital marketing, or video editing, you are at your most productive if you’re focused on just one thing.
- Network. Networking can significantly increase your reach as a freelancer. You have to take intentional steps, such as increasing your social media presence, contacting everyone you know to advertise your business, asking for referrals, and so on to network successfully.
- Develop a solid brand. This is an often overlooked step in being a freelancer. As a freelancer, the only way to stand out is to have a recognizable and trustworthy brand. Building your brand should be one of the first steps you take in your freelance career, the earlier you start, the better. Build a strong presence online and consistently deliver 5-star projects. Developing an impressive track record is just as crucial as getting exposure.
- Create a realistic schedule. Since this is a part-time gig, you should create a schedule that can help you have a productive freelance career without sacrificing your productivity in your day job. Even if you plan to quit your day job eventually, don’t let your freelancing affect your day job until it can provide you with equal or more financial security.
- Create a business plan. Much like running a business, freelancing requires daily preparation and planning, which can only be achieved by successful long-term preparation and planning. Knowing what you want out of your freelance career and detailing the steps that can take you there help you efficiently set daily and weekly goals. It can also help you with complex steps like determining your pricing, choosing a freelance platform to use, selecting clients, marketing, and so on.
How to find freelance work?
You have chosen a niche, thought about this extensively, and are ready to draw an airtight business plan. How do you get jobs, though?
- Freelance sites. There are numerous sites dedicated to helping freelancers and buyers meet. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are popular platforms that you can take advantage of.
- Networking within your chosen niche. For example, if you’ve chosen a copywriting niche, you need to network with other copywriters. This can help you make valuable connections with other freelancers and potential clients.
- Social media: Social media platforms are filled with potential clients. Companies often post available gigs on social media, and all you have to do is send a convincing pitch. You can also advertise your services under posts and on your own posts. Such media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow you to use paid advertising. By taking advantage of it, you can significantly increase your reach.
- Cold pitching. Cold pitching means contacting potential clients and offering your services with a detailed outline of how your services can benefit them.
How to find a balance between a full-time job, freelance work, and personal life?
Balancing your work and personal life requires some effort. Adding a freelance career to this mix can be a bit more challenging. Here are a few tips that can help you balance a full-time job and freelance work with your personal life:
- Draw a realistic schedule that allows you to be productive both in your day job and your freelance career without sacrificing your personal life.
- Make good use of weekends and breaks to get more done, especially if you plan to become a full-time freelancer.
- Avoid procrastination at all costs. Every second counts, especially since you’ll have multiple deadlines to meet.
- Never take on more projects than you can execute well. Once the pay starts coming in, some people may overestimate their abilities and end up delivering poor-quality work.
To sum up
Freelancing can be very rewarding. While your best bet is to focus entirely on your freelance career from the start, combining your freelance work with your full-time job provides you with the financial security you’ll need to pursue your goals as a freelancer. It’s essential to remember that a balance is achievable. If you make adequate plans and effectively execute them, you’ll be able to create a thriving freelance career without sacrificing your full-time job or personal life.