So, you’ve thought about it for hours. And hours. You’ve weighed the pros and the cons. You've made up your mind. Excitement is at its peak. You’re doing it: you’re going freelance.
Your mind is probably racing at 100 miles per hour, and you think there are a million things you need to do before you start your own business. There's definitely a good many!
What To Do Before Going Freelance
To help you out, here is a list of essential things you should take care of before you quit your job to freelance.
Building a business takes a lot of work and energy, increase your chances of this move paying off by checking off these items first.
1. Get Your Finances in Order
We all have the same goal, don’t we? We want our business to be a hit. And we want to get dozens of customers. We want to have a large salary by the end of our first year too.
But let’s be real. Sure, this would be awesome. But this type of success is not as common as we wish it would be.
Moving from the steady income which comes with a full-time job to a freelancing career, where pay is often unstable, can put a strain on your finances.
Get your financial house in order BEFORE you make a move.
Doing so will reduce some of the stress that comes with your new career.
You don’t want to be worrying about paying off your student loan when you’re trying to build a new business. You’ll have much more to think about!
2. Write Down Your Why for Freelancing
Why do you want to be a freelancer? Are you doing it only for money? Do you want to help a friend or people who have a specific problem?
Knowing WHY you’re getting into the freelancing business will help power you through the tough times which are sure to come at some point.
If you’re feeling down and feel like giving up, seeing your why in writing will remind you of the reason you got into this, lifting your spirits and giving you the boost you need to keep going.
3. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Why is this motto repeatedly seen and heard in locker rooms and boardrooms all over the world? Because it is true.
You've identified your big picture but what about all the small details?
Write out a business and marketing plan. Make plans for best- and worst-case scenarios.
Set realistic, measurable goals for the short term, and long-term, and everything in between; describe where you want your business to be in 6 months, 12 months, one year, five years, and so on.
The more detailed your plan is, the better prepared you will be to face any situation. Which only enhances your chances of being successful.
4. Keep a Learning Mindset
Industries change, technology evolves, and successful freelancers continue to learn through courses, webinars, books, videos, and even coaching.
Reinvesting into your business through continuing education will help you and your business thrive. As your skills and knowledge increase, so too can your rates and revenue.
5. Adios, Failure
Being afraid of failing is normal. This is a significant move, possibly the biggest of your career. The last thing you want to do is fail. You need to find your confidence.
You can’t afford to go into this worrying whether you’ve got what it takes to make it work. And spending every minute of every day wondering if people will be interested in what you’re offering isn't productive.
History is littered with examples of people who made it after failing once, twice, or even fifteen times.
Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S., was rejected by 29 schools. In a classic case of look at me now, news anchor Oprah Winfrey was fired after seven and a half months.
Failure is often the first step toward success. Rather than fearing it, use it as a learning opportunity, and as motivation to make your next shot the right one.
6. All Aboard
Even the strongest, most successful entrepreneur can’t go at it alone. A healthy support system is one of the best (and cheapest) investments you can make.
Make sure the most important people in your life – especially your spouse and/or children – understand why you’re doing this and that they agree with it.
Communicate, share your plan, and keep them apprised of your progress as you move along.
If your friends and family know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, they are less likely to be jealous of you (which is a sad reality), and more likely to be supportive if you hit a bump in the road.
7. Establish Your Office & Schedule
Where will you work? When will you work? Establish guidelines ahead of time so you and everyone else knows your boundaries.
Also, while being a business owner means you're always in charge, it doesn't mean you should work around the clock.
Craft a schedule to start with and adapt as needed. Just be sure you're taking time for yourself and the people important to you.
8. Set Your Date
Line up clients before you quit. Also, consider working part-time as you build your freelance business. When all signs align and you're ready to jump ship, schedule a meeting with your supervisor.
You don't want to burn bridges, so provide ample notice. And if your employer is someone who could potentially be a client, share what you'll be doing.
Then stick to your word, work throughout your notice period, and make the transition as smooth as possible.
A career change is never an easy thing. Setting off on your own to build the freelancing business and life you’ve always dreamed of can be downright frightening.
Congratulations on having the courage to make this decision. You’ve got a long road ahead of you, so you must ensure the first steps you take are the right ones. And then you just might be surprised what you can accomplish in a year.
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