It is both emotionally and financially devastating to be fired or downsized. And yet, in the world we live in, no one is truly immune to this possibility. That’s why we love freelancing so much! Developing skills in your field and relationships with clients becomes a backup career—a layer of security your full-time job can’t offer.
Most people don’t approach their careers in this way. They find a field which they like reasonably well, and then devote 100% of their working life to that job. It’s not a bad thing, but it does come with certain risks.
In the traditional model, your playing field is pretty narrow.
You specialize in just one career or job out of all the millions of options available. Specializing may give you an edge when it comes to advancing. But it can also be a hindrance if you get laid off since it may take months to find a new job that’s similar enough to the old one.
And what would you do during your job search? How would you live and make money in the interim?
There are options, of course:
- You could tap into your savings.
- You may be able to rely on your spouse’s income.
- Or you might be eligible for unemployment compensation.
But if you really want to be proactive and give yourself freedom and a generous cushion, develop a backup career. Through freelancing on the side, you protect yourself and your financial life from the whims of your employer.
Crafting Your Backup Career
The purpose of having a backup career is to add value to the marketplace independent of your employer. It’s a way to hedge your bets and avoid a crisis. And there is one rule you need to follow in order to make it work for you:
Treat your freelance career with the same dedication as your day job.
You can’t think of freelancing as a mere hobby and then expect it to be a strong safety net when you need it. Figure out how much time you have to freelance, and use that time effectively to build your business. Get appropriate training within your field, and use it to help clients. Become the CEO.
Your freelance career can give you extra cash alongside your full-time job. And it can help you avoid the stress of layoffs and firings. It’s a great investment of time and energy!
Your turn! Does anyone you know have a back pocket career? How has that worked out for them? Let us know in the comments below!
Last Updated on July 1, 2023 by Craig Galo