One of the most popular career moves recently has been the transition between working a steady job and working as a freelancer. The advantages of freelancing are numerous – you make your own work hours, you control your own destiny, you can work from anywhere, among others. However, becoming a career freelancer is not that simple. When wanting to get into freelancing, oftentimes people will start taking on freelance work while still being employed fulltime – to test the waters out first.
While such a career can be rewarding, allowing you to enjoy the financial security of your regular job while making money on the side and potentially putting together a new, independent career, it is definitely not an easy thing to do.
Plenty of people try out freelancing and find out that it is not for them. For these types of people, it would be a shame if this experiment in freelancing cost them their full-time jobs. If you have been looking a similar career options, here are five essential tips to follow in order to balance your current job and freelancing ambitions without sacrificing the quality of your performance in either realm.
Focus on Time Management
If you have never put enough emphasis on time management in your daily job, now is the time. Without managing your time efficiently, you will not succeed in this experiment. Poor time management can lead to two scenarios – either you are constantly falling behind in your freelancing work, fulltime job or both, or you are spending all of your free time and weekends playing catch up. Both scenarios will leave you exasperated and with little to no time for yourself and others. Plan a strict work schedule and stick to it religiously. That is the only way to balance both sides of effectively. And if you do end up moving on to become a fulltime freelancer, this lesson in time management will prove to be incredibly valuable for your future success in this profession.
Use Time Zones to your Advantage
The great thing about freelancing is that you are not limited by location. You can work for people from all over the globe from the privacy of your own home. Be sure to take advantage of this and try to find some freelancing jobs that don’t overlap with your regular job’s working hours. Answering emails and taking phone calls from freelance clients during your regular working hours could not only be an incredible hassle, but it could also get you in trouble at your job. Use the fact that your location is not limiting you to your advantage and take jobs that won’t interfere schedule-wise with your fulltime employment.
If you are expert enough in some field to want to build a freelance career in it, you certainly know other people who excel in this field or profession. And most of these people probably wouldn’t mind a little extra cash every now and then. If you can’t get all of your freelance work done on time while balancing it with your day job, enlist some help and give your helpers a cut of the freelance earnings. If the quality of the work is up to par, your freelance clients do not have to know that you are getting help, you will be completing all of your tasks on time, and you will also be building potential relationships that could be useful if you decide to move on to being a full time freelancer and maybe even build a team or company for yourself independently.
Take Care of Yourself
There is no two ways about it – balancing freelancing and a fulltime job is a very strenuous task. It is a task that you cannot perform if you are not healthy and energized. In order to maximize your results, you really need to take care of yourself and make sure that you are ready to give it your all every day. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep every night, make sure you are eating well, refrain from drinking too much alcohol, and make sure that you have some time for yourself to relax over the weekend or in the evenings. This type of professional life is much more demanding than most – give yourself the best chance of excelling in it by keeping your mind and body healthy and focused.
Be Selective with your Freelancing
When you are starting off as a freelancer, your immediate instinct would be to take whatever jobs you can get so that you can start building up your client base. This is exactly what you need to avoid. When you are not able to dedicate yourself to freelancing full time, you really need to be selective about what jobs you are taking. Use your better judgment and take the jobs that show the most promise in terms of payment and future work. Choose work that is directly related to your field of expertise at first, and branch out later. Generally, it is important to be selective and pick the freelance jobs that work to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to turn down work that doesn’t fit into your current schedule and situation -remember, there will always be other clients.
David Lazar is a regular blogger at PDF Converter blog. With a background in journalism, he specializes in writing blogs on a variety of topics, including freelancing, careers, finances, technology and new media.