Working a Day Job and Making the Most of Freelance OpportunitiesAUTHOR: Noah Rue
Freelancing jobs are more accessible now than at any other time in recent history. Developments in remote working tools mean you can practically and conveniently contribute to projects wherever you happen to be on the planet. The rise of the internet has also been instrumental in giving you educational resources, networking connections, and hiring opportunities.
This isn’t just relevant from the perspective of full-time freelancing. Many people choose to continue working their day job while freelancing as a side hustle. You may choose to do this to earn some extra cash or to professionally pursue a passion. It could also be the case you want to test the waters before committing to freelancing as your main source of income.
Whatever the reason for freelancing on the side, there are some aspects you should consider to make the most of the situation. Let’s review a handful of the most important elements.
Consider Your Priorities
To get the best experience from freelancing, it’s important to understand what your aims are. There could be a combination of reasons you have for starting a side hustle. Commit to recognizing your priorities and setting your goals as early as possible. This way you can more effectively manage the balance between your career and your freelancing.
Some people don’t see making money from freelancing as the primary goal. Rather, you may be more interested in pursuing projects you are passionate about and using skills you enjoy. As your choices here aren’t always going to be the most lucrative, maintaining your career can be seen as a way to fund your passions. When you identify this as a priority, you can make plans to reflect this approach. You can focus on projects you can be more flexible with so they don’t diminish your ability to support yourself and your family.
On the other hand, your priority may be to establish a name for yourself in your freelance field so you can later transition. As such, you can target opportunities to give you and your skills this greater visibility. You can invest in your technical abilities and in marketing yourself effectively. Identifying this priority also empowers you to make more informed choices about whether to progress in your day job. After all, you don’t want to commit to duties that affect your ability to transition.
Use Your Day Job
There is a tendency to think about freelancing and a day job as two separate entities. While they may be very different fields and use separate skills, their value is not mutually exclusive. It can be more useful to think of them as complementary parts of your working life. You can certainly leverage and adapt elements of your day job to benefit your freelance career.
This isn’t about building a client list from your regular gig. This is professionally unethical and is almost certainly in breach of your employment contract. Rather, a more positive approach is to find ways to develop your skill sets through your career that can make you a more effective freelancer. This is an especially strategic use of your time and energy if you’re planning to transition later on. You may be able to engage in training courses on accountancy or marketing. The company may offer mentorships for entrepreneurship.
It’s also worth considering how career progression can also help you. Expanding your role to take on additional responsibilities can have ripple effects throughout your career ambitions. You get to build vital skills in leadership, organization, and communication. You may even discover useful networking opportunities you can capitalize on later on. If your freelancing work is at a slow period and you have the time to do so, developing professionally can benefit both sides of your working life.
Assess Scaling Potential
One of the common reasons people take on freelancing in tandem with their careers is they recognize the need to scale steadily. This gives you time to establish some of the core basics of self-employment, like establishing the right pricing strategy and developing your brand. Unless you have a little patience and plan your scaling, your efforts could fall flat. Jumping in with both feet can also add significant pressure that could impact your work and home life.
So, how do you effectively and steadily scale? First, you need to better understand the signs your side hustle can survive as a full-time business. This is likely to include identifying what income you need to regularly hit and how much demand there is for your services. It’s important to approach this by creating some form of a business plan. This can highlight what your financial projections are, what resources you need, and what key milestones you need to hit on the road to transition.
Part of your plan here should consider the evolving relationship with your day job, too. Examine what types of resources your regular career provides that can support your freelance scaling. Can you take sabbaticals so you can engage in big freelancing projects to build your profile? Is there flexibility in your contract that may allow you to go part-time once you hit a certain freelancing milestone? This type of forward planning not only helps you avoid mistakes, it can also boost your confidence.
Simply working a day job may not be keeping you happy and productive. As such, you may start taking on some freelance work on the side. Making both work is a matter of establishing your priorities and finding ways your regular career can benefit your side gig. Eventually, you may want to transition to freelancing full-time, but it’s important to plan this well in advance. Whatever your motives for freelancing, some careful focus and consideration can help you make the most of it.