The shift from working for others to freelancing full-time can be scary.
When you make that leap, you’re taking your fate into your own hands, sink or swim.
But there are some things you can do to make the leap less dramatic.
Here’s how to ensure that your lift off is smooth and as risk-free as possible.
Start by Freelancing on the Side
The best way to launch your freelancing career risk-free is to start by freelancing on the side.
Keep your day job and start building your career in evenings and on weekends.
As your client list and income grows, you can quit when the time is right.
Besides helping to reduce the risk, this strategy also helps you build experience and knowledge.
You can master your trade by learning little by little.
By the time you’re a full-time freelancer, you will have it down pat.
Put Aside a Reserve Fund
Another way to reduce the risk is to set aside some funds in advance.
If you prefer to quit your regular job and leap into freelancing, this fund will give you a cushion.
You can live off your savings in the initial phase until your freelance earnings meet your needs.
Before you get started, put aside about 3 months’ worth of income from your regular job.
This will keep you covered long enough to start earning.
You’ll have plenty of time to spare.
Keep Costs Low and Avoid Debt
Another way to reduce the risks of jumping into a freelance career is to keep your start-up costs low.
Also avoid going into debt. For example:
For your freelancer website, choose a cheap hosting plan and upgrade once your business has grown.
Don’t rush out and get printed stationary. Many businesses overestimate how much they will need.
Business branding (logo etc..) is not vital in the early days. Wait until your business is on a firm footing before investing in a good design.
Use the free versions of software and online services. Many providers offer trial or no-cost access so you can test it meets your needs.
Once you have established a regular client base, you can start investing more in your business.
Start Building Your Network
Long before you start freelancing full time, you should start building a professional network.
The best work comes through your network and referrals, not from job sites or even your own website.
Plus, there are many people who can help you in various ways.
Even while you’re still working your regular job and your website isn’t even off the ground yet, tell everyone you can about your freelance plans and the services you will offer.
Become a Freelancer for Your Current Employer
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.
If your employer needs to downsize, offering to keep working as a freelancer can help them and help you.
Plan Your Leap
Whatever strategy you choose for starting your freelance business, set a deadline for earning a full-time income.
Set the time you’ll quit your day job and officially become a freelancer.
This helps to keep you on track and prevents your freelance future from being just a dream.
A solid deadline also helps you to plan the details.
Want to learn more about how you can start your freelance business the right way? Sign up for our newsletter below and get free articles mailed to your inbox each week.