Many people with a full-time job have some marketable skills that are not fully utilized but suitable for freelancing. For example, Martha, a finance executive, possesses good English editing and copy editing skills, thanks to her attention to detail and strong language aptitude. Dylan, who is a teacher, is passionate about graphic design and can churn out an impressive web banner within minutes using multiple graphic software.
When put to good use, our valuable skills help increase our income, connect us to a closer network and ultimately deliver extreme personal satisfaction. The money may not be enough to make us financially free, but if we persevere, chances are one opportunity will lead to another, and before we know it a new wealth of options come knocking on our life’s door.
Start Freelancing in Five Steps
We may have some really useful commercial skills, but fear, uncertainty, reluctance and simply our perennial habit of delaying things always get in the way. Why the hesitation? Perhaps the following five simple steps will help you to do what you want to: Start freelancing while still engaged in a full-time job.
1. Outline your goals.
The word ‘freelance’ should never trick you into believing that this is not a serious business. Always bear in mind that great achievements begin with small steps. First, outline some of the goals you want to achieve by going freelance. These goals include financial, personal, business relationship and other relevant aspects of your life.
You have heard it; goals should be SMART, i.e., specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. For instance, Stuart aims to generate a consistent 20% surplus of income through his freelance fitness coaching after eight months. Zack anticipates accumulating a total of 100 leads and converting a minimum of 10% of them into clients within a half-year span for his business writing projects.
What about your freelancing goals? Get that pen and note pad. Start writing.
2. Allocate your time. Add discipline and consistency.
Working in a full-time job means that time is a major constraint. Finding the time to freelance can be a real pain and requires a delicate balancing act. Nevertheless, many people who have been extraordinarily successful in their chosen field have proven that this balance can indeed be attained.
Best-selling novelist, John Grisham, was already an excessively busy lawyer when he wrote his first novel, A Time to Kill. To accomplish his goal, he woke up one hour earlier every day to write his novel before dashing off to work. That 1 hour may not seem too significant, but when discipline and consistency are added to it, some magic will eventually take place. The combination of these elements has proven to be potent; to date, more than 250 million copies of Grisham’s novels have been sold worldwide.
3. Small marketing to big.
No business runs without customers. And customers don’t come without the right marketing and promotion. As a start, tell your closest friends what you have begun freelancing and that you are available for hire in case they need your services. Get the word-of-mouth going. Be slightly generous; as a newcomer, customers will not expect you to charge premium fees for your work. But as your business grows and your confidence increases, always be poised to restructure your pricing.
Next, position your business for a new level of marketing tactics. Rope in the next generation of business platforms that include websites, blogging, emails, social media marketing and so on. Break down that geographical barrier and reach out to global customers from the U.S., Europe, China, Australia etc., no matter where you are based.
4. Monitor your work performance.
As your freelance business grows, money will start pouring in. But this will not come without its so-called price. More business means more time and more commitment. The time and attention to your full-time job may be jeopardized if the level of freelance work crosses the boundary of your own capability. Be warned.
It is imperative therefore for you to ensure that your performance in your full-time job does not downgrade with the growth of your business. Discuss with your superior on a periodical basis to ascertain whether you are delivering what is expected of you from your employer. Where necessary, outsource some work to other parties while still exercising quality control and final delivery.
5. Is it time to quit job now?
There may come a time freelancing totally outgrows your full-time work. The business income may have doubled your monthly salary and your forecast for the next three years indicates that the freelance business is set to scale new heights. Perhaps it is time to write that resignation letter, say good bye to the day job, and jump onto the entrepreneurship bandwagon full-time.
Have you taken the plunge? Share your tips on how you started freelancing.
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