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Freelancing isn’t easy and it’s not for everyone. However, if you think it’s something that you’re cut out for, today I’m giving out some pointers for how to make the jump to freelancing full time.
Keep mind, I have been freelancing online since the beginning of 2011. Things have gotten more competitive since I’ve first started, but it’s still possible to make the transition now if you are willing to put in the work.
Have an Emergency Fund If Possible
Back when I started freelancing, I had little to no emergency fund. In fact, it was something that I came across on accident when I was hunting for a new job since I had just relocated to Virginia from Florida.
Not having an emergency fund meant that I had to make working online work until I found a new job, or once the funding I had already paid for my bills for a few months was up I would be in hot water.
Do as I say and not as I did.
While I managed to take off my freelancing career with basically no emergency fund I wouldn’t recommend it for the following reasons:
- You’ll have to take on basically all work that comes your way to make sure you are building your cash back up.
- You’ll end up basically working around the clock (between doing work, searching for more work, and trying to get your name out there you’ll have little time to do anything else)
- If an emergency was to come up it would be hard to cover it financially, which could result in you starting a debt cycle.
Do a Ton of Research
Before spending money investing in a ton of courses and eBooks, spend some time performing research about freelancing. There is plenty of free information that can be accessed via a Google search, on niche blogs, and even on various social media channels.
For me personally, before I start something new or go through with doing something I try to find other people’s firsthand experience with it so I can really know what to expect. For example, if you’re thinking about starting a virtual assistant business, try searching terms like, “My first month as a virtual assistant” or “One year after I started my VA business” and see what pops up. Other resources that I find can be great for people thinking of taking the leap into freelancing full time include:
- com (Read the old threads in the forum there. This is one of the resources that I came across all those years ago, that helped me get into the freelance writing and later blogging).
- Facebook Groups (Search for groups relevant to the niche you want to get into and interact with the users and ask questions)
- Work at Home Adventures
- Reddit (Check out subs such as Freelance, For Hire, and Entrepreneurs)
Set a Goal
Having a goal in place will let you know within the first couple of months whether freelancing is going to work for you. In my case, I like to write out goals and keep a spreadsheet to track them to make sure that I am always hitting them, coming close, or even exceeding them. However, when I first started, I created a blog where I shared my goals and whether a met them so I could have some accountability buddies and that also worked.
Regardless of how you keep track of your goals make sure you’re doing it.
As you reach a goal, feel free to set the bar higher for the next month or week.
For example, when I first started freelance writing I had a goal of making $1,000 per month. Once that goal was met I moved it up to $2,000 a month and kept going from there.
Learn How to Market
If you don’t have any marketing skills, I would suggest learning some before making the jump to freelancing full time. Marketing is just as important as being able to produce high-quality work to your clients. In fact, you may spend more time marketing in the beginning than you’re spending servicing your clients.
With so many freelancers competing for attention if you have no marketing skills, it’s going to be hard to get your business out there. For beginners, I would recommend going through some of the Hubspot Certification courses (it’s free to do these). There you will be able to learn different marketing skills such as Content Marketing and Email Marketing. Plus, having these certifications will look good when you are trying to land your first couple of clients.
Additionally, make sure that you set up social media profiles on the major sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn so you can start connecting with other freelancers and potential clients.
The Importance of Connecting with Other Freelancers
Many freelancers, when first starting out fail to connect with others in their niche, but this is a big mistake. Your potential client could be another freelancer and if you form a strong relationship and they like your work, they will refer you to others in their network.
When first starting, and even now, I get referrals all the time from freelancing friends and I always return the favor when the opportunity presents itself.
Lastly, see if a marketer would be willing to let you work as an apprentice for them such as Charles Lubbat. This way you’re able to learn the marketing skills you need to know from an experienced marketer while also getting paid a little in the process too. Plus, it benefits the marketer because you’re able to handle some of their workloads and if you do good you may even be offered a more permanent and better-paid position.
Work on Adding New Skills
After you’ve completed all your client work and have spent a good portion of time marketing your new business, don’t forget to see where you can add in new skills.
For example, when I first started freelancing, I was solely doing blog posts for clients. However, over the years I have learned how to do things such as build websites, SEO, manage influencer marketing campaigns, manage social media profiles, and even different forms of writing. This makes me the perfect fit for businesses in my niche because I can be their Jill of all Trades for the majority of their needs.
My motto is to never let any work time go wasted. During my work hours, I make sure that I am as productive as possible and I analyze how I spend my time each week using RescueTime so I can make sure my ROI is as high as possible.
Final Thoughts on Making the Jump to Freelancing Full Time
If you’re determined, persistent, and don’t mind looking at a computer for hours at a time while working independently, making the jump to freelancing full time could be your solution to the financial freedom you desire. However, you must put in the sweat and tears to get the results that you want. If making a full-time income from freelancing was easy then no one would be working nine to five.
Have you made the jump to freelancing full time or are considering it? What helped you transition smoothly or what’s holding you back? Share your opinions in the comments section below.