As soon as you decide to move from being employed by others to being self-employed full-time, it can be quite scary. The moment you decide to take that leap of faith, sink or swim, you are taking your destiny into your own hands. However, there are some things that you can do in order to make the leap a little less drastic and ensure the launch is both smooth and as risk-free as possible -- and less scary.
Step 1: Become a freelancer on the side
If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.
— Jim Rohn
Freelancing on the side is the best way to start your freelancing career risk-free. While you keep your day job, you can start building your career during the evenings and on weekends. As your client list and income grow, you can decide when it is the right time to stop working for your employer.
As well as reducing risk, this strategy provides you with experience and knowledge over time. By learning little by little, you can master your trade. By the time you become a full-time freelancer, you'll have it down pat.
Step 2: Put Aside a Reserve Fund
People Who Are Crazy Enough To Think They Can Change The World, Are The Ones Who Do.
— Rob Siltanen
It is also a good idea to set aside funds in advance so that you can reduce the risk. During the initial phase when you are not earning any money, this fund will provide you with a cushion if you decide to quit your regular job and go freelance.
Prepare about three months' worth of income from your regular job before you begin. In this way, you will be covered until you are able to earn a living. Afterward, you’ll have plenty of time to spare to devote to raising the income you need to take you further than the three months (but the more money put aside, the less risk.)
Step 3: Keep Costs Low and Avoid Debt
Entrepreneurs Are Great At Dealing With Uncertainty And Also Very Good At Minimizing Risk. That’s The Classic Entrepreneur.
Another way to reduce the risk of jumping into a freelance career is to keep start-up costs low and avoid going into debt. For example, choose a cheap hosting plan for your freelancer website and upgrade as your business grows. You can start investing more in your business as soon as you have an established client base.
Step 4: Start Building Your Network
“Networking is marketing. Marketing yourself, your uniqueness, what you stand for.”
Starting to build a professional network long before you become a freelancer full-time is crucial. Networking and referrals are the best sources of new work, not job sites or your own website. Additionally, there are many people who can assist you in various ways. You can start by introducing yourself to people and telling them about the freelance services that you offer when you are still working your day job and your site isn't even up and running yet.
Step 5: Become a Freelancer for Your Current Employer
Don’t underestimate your ability to bring value to someone else.”
—Michelle Tillis Lederman
Sounds odd? Well, if you have the opportunity to do so, you can start by becoming a freelance worker or consultant for your present employer. See if there are opportunities where you can stay employed with your current company, but with a more flexible schedule.
Step 6: Plan Your Leap
"We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list."
- Michelle Obama
Regardless of your strategy for starting your freelance business, set a deadline for earning a full-time income. Decide when you'll quit your day job and start working as a freelancer. It keeps you on track and keeps it from being just a dream. It is also useful for planning the details.
And remember, an inch is as good as a mile as long as you’re moving.
What steps would you add? Let us know in the comments!
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