You know it’s time for a change, but you feel you have no idea how to make it happen. Does this sound like you? Are you dragging into work with the feeling that your creativity is being underutilized? Do you feel you are not being paid what you are worth? Are you interested in taking your career into your own hands? Well, if any of these questions appeal to you, the chances are that you have considered freelancing. In 2017 alone, 36 percent of the workforce participated in freelancing at some point. So, you are not alone. However, you are likely wondering how you can find the time to pursue freelancing while working full-time and handling other responsibilities.
Is it possible? You bet it is!
It is not an easy road, but change never is. If you are looking at the clock, hoping for that hour hand to finally release you, know that there is another way. Here are five tips for transitioning to remote work while working full-time.
Make Your Current Job Compliment What You Want To Do
What freelance industry do you want to go into? It is wise to choose something you already have experience in. It is possible to jump industries, but we will tackle that in another blog post. Before you begin to apply for any freelance positions, start building your portfolio. Take on as many projects in your field as you can handle, knock them out of the park, and then develop a collection of work by either creating your own website or using a free service like LinkedIn (or one specific to your industry). While it may seem counterintuitive to take on more work, you have to look at it as a way to help you have something you can show off to future clients. So, take advantage of your current position and work on as many projects as you can.
Take Note of How You Work With Your Current “Client”
Now, as of right now, you are not working with “clients” in the traditional sense. However, you are working for one sizeable customer…your company. So, take note of how you collaborate with your employers, coworkers, and any vendors. Relay this information on your resume. Talk about a time you worked with a boss or manager to produce a substantial project. Include details of how you led a team or met all the specifications your boss or coworkers brought to you. Describe how you made their lives easier. These are all things clients are going to want to hear from you, so let them know you have done this before in another capacity.
Learn The Tools
Here, you can accomplish two things that not only help you but also bring value to your company. Research any software or tools that freelancers in your industry use and then inquire about implementing them at your place of work. Many (Slack, Asana, Harvest, Trello, etc.) are meant to help teams better collaborate, communicate, and organize their tasks. So, if you can show the value to your current boss, they should have no problem giving it a try. Not only does this help you now, but it shows clients that use these technologies you are well-versed in your field and are prepared to work with them through these tools.
Find a Cover Letter Template
I am all for writing personal cover letters for each client, but as a person who used to work full-time as I was going freelance, I understand that time is of the essence. You need a cover letter template that helps you talk about your skill while also describing how you can help the client in what is most important to them. It needs to be easy for you to customize this information from client-to-client. If you have more time to flesh it out, by all means, do so. However, there are some excellent freelance cover letters out there that allow you to add or subtract information quickly. You will be applying for a lot of opportunities, so make this part easy on yourself.
Join a Freelance Marketplace – It’s Not As Painful as it Sounds
Opinions concerning freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, iFreelance, and many others are on opposite sides of the fence. Some people love them, while others would rather never deal with them. Many of these marketplaces do have transaction costs, and the money made may be lower than what you would make getting your own clients. However, they can bring a lot of benefits to someone just starting out. These marketplaces put you around individuals and companies that are directly looking for your services, and they allow you to search for jobs by keyword, job length, and payment. Again, you may not make a lot in the beginning, but this is one of the easiest ways to gain freelance experience you can use to gain larger clients in the near future.
When I was working full-time and decided to transition to freelance writing, it took about a week to gain my first client on Upwork. From there, I started working with a few clients on Craigslist, and the rest just fell into place from there. It is not always the most glamorous option, but platforms like Craigslist, Upwork, and Fiverr can help move you to the next level. There will be days where you have to finish a project when you come home from work or use a Saturday to advertise your services instead of resting. Yet, if you keep going, it will all be worth it. Before you start this process, I advise you to invest in a project management system to help you manage the time you spend advertising, working, and resting. Before you know it, you will have enough income from your clients to transition from full-time work to freelancing.