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How to transition from part time to full time freelancing

Taking the leap from a steady, safe full time job to the choppy waters of freelancing can be daunting.

Matt Dowling
29th April 2016
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There are so many elements to consider when the time comes to make that transition. So how do you go from part time to full time freelancing without losing money or jeopardising your career?

A number of common concerns include

  • How am I going to pay the bills?
  • Am I really ready to run a freelance business?
  • How can I land a few regular clients when I have to work 40+ hours per week?

Many full timers contemplate the idea of freelancing, following a dream and taking control of their destiny but very few take the next step. Why? Normally it’s down to fear of not making enough money and fear of failure. In the grand scheme of things, is that a valid enough reason to continue doing something you hate everyday until you retire?

The truth is that you’re never going to be fully ready. There are just too many moving parts when running a business that there won’t be a ‘perfect time’ to pull the trigger. However, you can certainly decrease the risks.

 

CHANGE YOUR MINDSET

The term freelancing can be a little misleading and conjure up certain images. Picture a hipster type lounging in the park, sipping on a Macchiato whilst catching up on a few emails. Don’t get me wrong, there are days like that and they’re awesome but the majority of the time you’ll be running your business or providing your service.

The major mindset change is overcoming the idea that you’ll never have a regular paycheck again. The freelance fear. It can take a while to get past this paranoia but remember why you chose to make the leap into freelancing in the first place. You are following your passion, living a life of freedom and taking control. Remind yourself of this everyday and when times get tough – and remember they will - you’ll retain your focus.

 

STEPPING STONES

There are two ways to get into full time freelancing. The first is to simply quit your job, register a business and get cracking. That may sound rash but many have done it out of necessity or otherwise and made it work. You have all of your time to get your business in shape so things move quicker. The other is to gradually move into freelancing step by step, reducing your hours at work while developing your freelance career.  

The latter approach comes with pros and cons. Not everyone has the luxury of moving from a full time to part time role within in their company for starters. It’s also tricky to find the hours in the day to please your freelance clients while performing at a high level at work. You’ll almost always have to turn down work and it can often feel like you’re caught between the two. You’d be lucky to find a boss who’s supportive of a staff member whose focus is clearly elsewhere. The pros are that you’ll have a period of time to taste the freelance lifestyle and even though your focus won’t solely be on freelancing, at least you’ll find that this is a smoother transition.

 

CAPITAL

Businesses require money and you’re going to need an initial capital investment to set up. Here are a few key costs that most businesses incur before they even start.

  • Registering your business
  • Professional website, domain name and hosting costs
  • Computer / Laptop
  • Kit (camera, makeup, product)  
  • Business cards
  • Advertising budget

Ongoing

  • Travel costs
  • Kit replacement / upgrades

Extras

  • Insurance
  • Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Web Tools

That’s a ballpark figure of around £3000 initial costs depending on what kit you need. A videographer might have to spend a few thousand on a camera whereas a personal stylist doesn’t need much in the way of kit.

You may find yourself thinking ‘I’ve an uncle who designs websites’ or ‘I don’t need an advertising budget, I’ll get my clients from Twitter’. Freelancers who cheap out on the key components of their business often fail to get past the first six months. Freelancing is a highly competitive marketplace so it’s only fair that you give yourself every fighting chance you can to succeed.

The moral of the story is to ensure that you’ve got some capital to spend on your business and some savings in the bank to help cover the first few months of transition. Make no mistake, freelancing is a life changing pursuit and the road can be rocky when you first start out.

 

Finally, before you decide you’ve had enough of your boss and chuck in your 9 to 5, go over our freelancer check list.

 

  • A business plan with projections (ie: how much you’re going to spend vs what you think you’ll earn)
  • A clear brand message starting on your website all the way through to your business cards and social media platforms
  • A list of services and prices
  • A marketing strategy to sell your services and to whom are you going to sell them to
  • Populated social media accounts linked to your new freelance business

 

There’s another 200 boxes that you’ll have to tick along the way but that’s the fun part. You never stop learning as a freelancer and the life that you will carve out for yourself will be one of great fulfilment. Enjoy the ride.


To access paid freelance jobs, legal documents, industry discounts and freelance resources, check out The Freelancer Club today.

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