How to Transition from 9-5 Jobs to Full-Time Freelancing?

When the first time I wanted to ditch the traditional desk job and switch to full-time freelancing, my mom said NO. She was afraid that I would regret the decision and struggle financially. While I did agree with her back then, I knew I was never going to have that creative freedom if I don’t act on my instincts anymore.

So, over a month back, I submitted my resignation because I wanted to prioritize my physical and mental health over the constant boundaries of work. While I didn’t necessarily regret the decision, I know there are people out there who have a very wrong perception about freelancing.

When I transitioned from the 9 to 5 desk job to freelancing, I knew the kind of challenges I was going to face. I knew that things won’t be as easy and that money will be a hurdle at some given instances.

If you are planning on shifting from your traditional 9 to 5 job to full-time freelancing, here are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

You need to put in more hours

I can’t stress this enough but if you are switching to freelancing because it seems “easy”, don’t. The freelancing field is anything but easy. From longer hours to random and consistent edits, the process is extremely tiring. But, with the flexibility of timings, you somehow make do with the shortcomings.

Saying from personal experience, you will need to spend more hours providing the best kind of work for the clients you are working with. This is extremely important. I have had days where I have worked for over 12 hours to finish a project. But, not everything is bad. Sometimes, there are days where you work for 2 hours and earn pretty well from it.

Secure your clientele first

Unless you have a lot of savings to tide you over for the coming 4-5 months, I’d suggest you first secure a few recurring clients before leaving your job. I had to resign because of my health but given that I have been in the freelancing field for over 5 years now, I had clients with who I could again start work.

So, before I took the decision of leaving my prior job, I secured some of those clients again and then moved forward. It ensures that you match up to the income of your 9 to 5 job. If you leave abruptly with no plan in the hindsight, it will affect you mentally, especially when you are having a hard time making ends meet.

Build your portfolio

One of the hardest parts of the freelancing career is securing clients. Finding well-paying, recurring clients is a headache, especially if you don’t have adequate experience. So, instead of just sitting around, start working on your portfolio. It could be a website or it could be an Instagram page where you share your insights.

Depending on what kind of clients you want to attract, cement your presence in the online media to reach the correct network of people. Make sure that you have a website, update your blog section every once in a while. Especially for content writers and marketers, this serves as a digital portfolio that you can forward to a prospect.

Set goals for yourself

It has been just two months since I transitioned to full-time freelancing and the transition has been quite hectic. I have pushed deadlines sometimes and tried to accommodate more in a day that I could take. Results? I burned out.

This is one of the common mistakes every freelancer does. If you are getting into this field full-time, you need to realize that you are your own boss. Nobody is going to tell you when to work or how to work. You need to set those goals for yourself and stick to them. Instead of breaching the deadlines, try and finish beforehand. The last thing you want is to leave things for tomorrow when you can do it today.

Not going to lie, I have a habit of doing this but I am working on this and trying to improve it as I go. It is still a work in progress but I am sure I’ll be able to overcome the issues in no time at all.

Stop procrastinating

If you are someone like me who procrastinates a lot, you need to let go of that habit immediately. Trust me, the last thing you want to do when you have pending assignments is to procrastinate and push them to the next day. I am guilty of doing this and there’s nothing that I can blame except for my laze attitude towards life.

But, everything is a work in progress and so is this. One thing that I have been doing to overcome procrastination is to prepare a to-do list the night before. It helps you have a sight of my goals for the day so I know what to prepare for.

Take Away

If you are switching from your traditional 9 to 5 job to full-time freelancing, these are some of the important points that you need to keep a check on. Remember that the transition is never easy and poses a number of challenges that you didn’t even realize were possible. Much like how I am learning things one day at a time, you can pretty much do the same. After all, every journey is different and brings you a lot of learning experiences along the way.

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