Many freelancers, myself included, started working part-time while they still had a full-time job. This is a good strategy for many reasons.
First, your full-time job will give you the financial security while you’re building up to a full-time freelance career. While looking for new clients, you won’t need to panic if you get a “no.” You’ll still have income to pay your bills.
Second, you’ll be able to build a client base that can grow when you have more time to work as a freelancer. The clients you find while working only part-time will likely want you to do more work for them when you have full-time availability.
So, what are some things to consider while working full-time and freelancing part-time?
Building a Freelance Business While in a Job
The first step to building your freelance business is prospecting for clients. (And although we call this a “first step,” it should always be part of your business, especially if you ever want to scale up. Keeping and maintaining a solid client base is one of the keys to long-term freelance success.)
Start with Small Business Clients
We recommend you start with small business clients. The advantage to working with them is that their hours tend to be more flexible, which is what you’ll need to fit your freelance work around your full-time job. Small businesspeople usually don’t mind having meetings or taking phone calls on nights and weekends.
Another reason to start with small business clients is that they may want to help another entrepreneur. They’ll understand that you’re just starting out and want to assist you as a fellow small business owner!
Set Aside Time on Your Nights and Weekends
You’ll also need to set aside some time on your nights and weekends for prospecting to get clients. The biggest downside about transitioning to a new career while you’re working at an old one is that you’ll have to put in some extra hours. But with a little planning (and just saying no to a couple weekend brunches!) you’ll only have to sacrifice a little of your free time to get started on a whole new exciting career!
Set Aside Time for Calls on Your Lunch Hour
You’ll likely need to have a call with a new prospect during your workday. Set aside time for this call during your lunch hour at work. Also, unless you have a private office, remember to book a conference room or other private space to make your call. Or can you go to your car for a short call? Or perhaps you can take a walk while having a conversation? You’ll need to be flexible balancing two roles at the same time but it can be done.
Keep Your Day Job Your Priority
Although you’re excited about starting your freelance career, remember that you still have a full-time role that should remain your priority. You need to dedicate 100% of your efforts to your current job when you’re there. When you’re on your own time and working on building your freelance career then you can dedicate 100% of your efforts toward that.
Whether working full- or part-time, in a traditional office or freelancing from a coffee shop, you’ll still want to maintain your professionalism. Reputation can be a make-it-or-break-it thing, particularly when you’re networking. Colleagues past and present will make great personal references and also get you more work. You’ve probably heard the expression “don’t burn bridges.” Make sure that when it comes time to leave your full-time role that your colleagues will be slightly surprised—not already have in their heads that you were one foot out the door.
There are big benefits to starting that new career while you’re in your old one. Just remember to keep a healthy balance while working in two roles at once.
Are you getting into freelancing while working a full-time job? What has your experience been like? Let us know in the comments below!