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How to Transition From Full Time Work to Freelancing

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Today you find that many more people are interested in how to transition from full time work to freelancing, especially with the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. People may desire to move to freelancing for a variety of reasons.

Why Would You Want to Freelance?

Typically people want to become freelancers because of the following reasons;

  • Time: You want to own more of your time, determine when you work or not. With a regular full time job your choices are limited, you have to show up at specific times.
  • Income Flexibility: You find that with a full time job you have a fixed salary and it is not always in your power to earn more no matter how hard you work (except you work in areas with performance driven compensation such as sales or executive careers where you take home bonuses based on performance)
  • Love: People sometimes work at jobs they tolerate. The move to freelancing sometimes is to enable you do what you love most eg someone who leaves a good job to become a freelance writer. 
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Leaving your full time job for Freelancing comes with its challenges of course. You just have to be aware of them and plan accordingly. While there are lots of advice on balancing freelancing with a full time job there is barely significant information on how to switch from full time to only freelancing. This will involve understanding the following;

  • Income Stability: Have you thought of how your income will be affected by the move? With a full time job at least you have income stability, you know you earn a particular sum every month. Moving to freelance you should know the first few months may come with significant change in how stable your income is. Planning for those months until you get into your stride is important.
  • Adaptability: It will take you sometime to adapt to the different rigours of the freelancing life. For one you are only changing bosses and your new boss (clients) will make different demands than you are used to. Freelancing is by no means easier as the quality of your work will have bigger impact on your earning potential

When’s the Right Time to Move or Leave Your Full Time Employment?

There are lots of advice on this. However it boils down to two simple things.

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The Money and Your Feeling

And both have to work in harmony. If you jump ship just because you feel you have to, without making plans to have enough finances to tide you over the first few months, things might be rough for you.

Plan ahead before quitting your job. Maybe test the waters, take on one or two freelance gigs while still holding down your job. Build your reputation and potential client base without sacrificing your job yet. That way, when you finally quit you should 

  • have enough money saved up to take you through the start stages
  • have an idea of the freelance market already before going in fully

Taking jobs on the side will help you learn core freelance skills you need to succeed in your chosen area as well as discover your weaknesses and strengths.

Jump Only When You’ve Saved up Enough

We cannot emphasise this too much. Having several months worth of income stashed away in your short term investment or savings account will allow you start your freelance journey without falling into desperation. You will not need to underprice your services just to make ends meet. Building a successful freelance career or business takes time so you will need the cash to burn slowly as you work up the earning ladder.

Set Income Realistic Income Targets and Work Towards Them

When setting out as a freelancer set realistic monthly income targets. This should basically help you know how many gigs you need to complete on average to hit your earning target. Then work your way towards meeting the target. Of course when you have hit a target consistently you can raise it to a higher amount and push on.

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