After writing my article on what to do if your job is making you depressed, I saw the need to write about freelancing as an option.
Quitting your job to become a freelancer full time remains the desire of workers in the corporate world.
Obviously you’ve read tones of articles from bloggers bragging about how much they make monthly from their gigs.
The desire to be free fuels the drive to want to resign and charge your own fees.
I get that.
But because someone said freelancing means freedom doesn’t make it easy.
I can tell you from experience.
Go about it the wrong way and you might get stuck in the way.
You need better planning.
You need to read a lot about freelancing and what it entails. By reading I don’t mean the success stories alone but challenges people faced when they started freelancing.
It might be easy to pull through if you are in your early 20s or just graduated from high school.
But when you have college loans to repay or a family to sustain and bills to pay, now these are game changers.
Jumping off the career bus into the freelance world is one. But ensuring that you can stay afloat in this water is another one.
Learn everything you need to know about freelancing whether part time or full time.
There is a difference between the two.
There is also a difference between getting regular check from your employer and fighting with thousands of other freelancers for gigs.
This post is all about everything – well, maybe not everything but most of it.
As you read on, you will learn from my experiences and what it takes to be a freelancer and succeed in the business.
Table of Contents
1. Qualities of a Freelancer
What are the qualities of a freelancer?
Do you have the qualities it takes to succeed in this business?
Most post you find written online about quitting your job to become a freelancer tells you what to do before you quit.
I get that too.
But there is one fact that they’ve not discussed, and that is, not everyone has what it takes to be a freelancer.
Before you think of submitting your resignation letter, ensure that you tested your ability.
Even if it means doing it on a part time basis, take time to check out what it takes to win gigs.
That’s not the only challenge.
Test yourself to know if you possess the heart of a freelancer.
When you are convinced that you have what it takes, then you can carry on with your plan.
But just in case you’re still considering the freelance option, and have no idea about what it takes to succeed in it, allow me give you some tips of what makes a quality freelancer.
Hopefully, you can start working on areas where you think you are not too proficient.
· Meeting up with deadlines:
I’ll assume you are still working for your employer but have the desire to quit sometime soon.
In your place of work, responsibilities are shared, and meeting up with deadline is a collective effort.
You might not realize this but your employers have a deadline to meet for each business transaction they carry out.
You just handled a small portion of a large task and not realize the intensity of the job done.
But as a freelancer, you’ll handle every aspect of a gig and deliver before deadline.
Some deadlines will be set on your terms while some clients will set their own deadline.
Your skill and ability to meet up with these deadlines will most times determine your success.
If you deliver quality before the said date, an impressed client will request for your services in the future and also refer you to friends.
So, before starting your freelance business, ensure that you are good with deadlines.
Successful freelancers have this at heart.
If you want to be successful like them, then ensure you have what it takes.
· Do You Have The skills?
What differentiates you from the hundreds of other freelancers in the market?
Whether you want to become a freelance writer, photographer, programmer, designer or any other gig, I assume you are really good at your job.
Quality of your job will always speak for you and if you are not good it will show.
If you are working for freelance sites like Upwork or Fiverr where clients can rate your service, you understand that low quality rating means less chance of getting hired.
Deadline is also a rating factor but quality must be factored in too.
Just ensure that you have the skills you intend to get hired for.
Be reminded that there are other freelancers that have been in the business before you.
Most of them are experienced and are really good.
For you to get their clients to hire you, you have to prove that you are as good as they are or even better.
So ensure that your skills are in place before venturing into the freelance world.
· What Are Your Marketing Skills?
Marketing remains an important tool for the success of any business venture.
Freelancing full time or part time is a business of its own.
You have to learn to market your skills or get lost in the ocean of low earning freelancers out there.
Your skills can speak for you, but you have to blow your whistle first and seek for opportunities to prove yourself.
There are so many ways you can use to market your skills.
You can use your social media accounts facebook, instagram, LinkedIn. You can also use PPC ads, start your own blog, cold pitching and so many more ways.
Of all ways you can use to market yourself, starting a blog happens to be the most successful means.
You can use a blog to showcase your skills and point to it as a reference when applying for gigs.
Even when you market through other means, your blog remains your reference point.
See your blog as your portfolio.
Most first time clients will want to see samples and links to jobs you’ve done. If you put your best works on your blog, you don’t need much convincing for them to hire you.
Without even applying for gigs, your blog can grow to an extent that readers that visit your blog can hire you and contact your for gigs.
You can get a free domain name with Bluehost if you host your blog with them.
That should be your starting point.
If you blog the right way, you can charge higher and better than what is being offered in freelance sites.
Your blog portrays you as an expert in the field you write about and trusting you becomes really easy.
Start a business blog for your freelance drive today and you might quit your job faster than you planned.
There is a reason why self-discipline is important to be a successful freelancer.
Before you quit your job, ensure that you have this trait or else you might find making ends meet with freelancing difficult.
Having a job means you are not available from 9am – 5pm. Your boss owns you for those hours except during your break.
Understanding this fact helps you to stay focused.
Freelancing is not the same.
You now have all the time to yourself and can do with it whatever you wish.
This means you can decide to sleep all day, walk your dog, play chess or drink beer while watching your favorite games.
When you lack self-discipline, you will not be able to differentiate work hours from break time.
You need as much discipline as you would have with your regular job in your freelance business if you are to be successful.
In fact, you need more discipline than your regular job because you are trying to build a business for yourself.
If you don’t discipline yourself and manage your time well, you might find meeting up with deadline difficult.
Having the free time to indulge in things you find interesting doesn’t mean you should.
I don’t mean you shouldn’t take break or work all day, just set aside the number of hours per day for your freelance business.
And ensure that there are no distractions when you start working.
You are trying to build a successful business.
Being persistent is another strong quality that makes a successful freelancer.
If you entering into the freelance world newly, it means you are in for a stiff competition at first.
Most clients you’ll apply to probably have other freelancers they trust.
You are new with no rating, reference, portfolio or positive reviews from other satisfied clients.
This means that as you send out application letters, a good number of them will not be replied and majority of your replies will be rejection letters.
It feels just like when you are applying for a regular job in the beginning with no experience or reference.
The key here now is persistence.
If you know that this is not one of your many traits, then I recommend that you start working on it.
You can’t break through the ice if you don’t keep hitting, striking, scratching and crawling through the pile of obstructions for first timers.
Freelancing might be difficult at first, but it doesn’t mean first timers don’t make money with it.
While so many successful freelancers are making money selling you courses on how to make thousands per month as freelancer, I hope they tell you the truth, it’s not easy at first.
Making money as a freelancer is not honeymoon all the way.
· Time management skills
Time management skill is another quality of you see in successful freelancers.
The reason is because top quality freelancers understand that the key improving productivity is by managing your time well.
Understand that time management is not just about hours spent working, it is about estimating time for a particular assignment or noting how many assignments that can be completed in a day.
If you manage your time well, keeping clients happy will be easy for you because you will deliver quality jobs and before set deadline.
Keeping your clients happy remains the most important key to building successful freelance business.
Remember that there are lots of other freelancers in the business.
Your clients, if in the business of hiring freelancers, might have a couple of options when you are not available.
Ensure you don’t give them another reason to think of you as an option.
Work to be the first freelancer they think of when a gig you can execute comes up.
This can be made possible if you work keeping them happy and satisfied.
Time management is one way to ensuring you provide that quality on time, just the way your clients would love to have it.
We talked about keeping your clients happy and satisfied – being professional about your services is one way to achieve that.
In fact, portraying professionalism in your services will earn you their trust easily.
Everybody wants to work with a professional in any field or business.
Branding your services can help give you that outlook.
As a freelancer, you are more like a consultant and not an employee. You need to prove your independence to clients and earn their trust.
In any field, professionals are known to be really good at what they do.
The work of a professional will always speak for him/her. As a freelancer, you should deliver your job on time and on agreed quality.
You must keep your promises and honor preliminary agreement with clients. You have to be clear in your communication, be honest and ethical in your dealings with clients.
You must be unique and different in every way.
You want to be different from the thousands of freelancers in the market. Being professional is the key to getting clients to have you at heart any time they have a gig you can execute.
Initiative is another quality trait you see in freelancers that are successful.
Ensure you have this quality before you quit your job.
Unless your job gives you the independence to make decisions on your own, initiative is one quality you will want to develop.
Most likely as an employee, you get used to a supervisor personality checking up on you once in a while and the quality of your job.
As a freelancer you are on your own.
No one checks on you so completing and delivering a task based on the standard and quality a client would love depends on you.
To be successful at this you need initiative.
You can achieve this by asking questions and come up with better ways to improve your projects and overall outcome.
What is most important is that clients are happy with the end job. If you can surpass their expectations, you are sure to become a success in this freelance business.
· Having principles
If you’ve ever come in contact with successful freelancers, you will notice that they work with a code.
They have principles that won’t be compromised for any reason.
When you have principles, the moment you compromise once, it won’t be the last time.
The key to eliminating stress in your work place is by having principles and working with them.
Some basic principles you see with successful freelancers are, how much they charge for certain projects, being honest with their clients and the drive to build trust.
With these principles you are most likely to succeed as a freelancer.
There are times you will come in contact with clients that will demand high quality job for less pay.
There are other scenarios that might tempt you to compromise your principles.
Getting rid stress in your place of work and keeping your reputation in tact is by sticking to your principles.
If you charge for a project, it’s your responsibility to do the job and deliver on time.
Be honest because no one likes to be lied to, especially when they are paying so much for a professional job.
Stick to your standard and never lower it for any reason.
It might be difficult at first, but with time it gets easier as you retain clients that trust you and are willing to pay your rates.
· Determination and Responsibility
Ensure that you have responsibility and determination before you venture into the freelance world.
You need these qualities because they are part of the business.
Good clients will appreciate these facts about you.
It is important as a freelancer trying to build trust that you take responsibility for your works and action.
In this freelance business, you will have your fair share of successes and failures.
It is important you learn to access the situation and learn from them while making decision on the spot when necessary.
If responsibility and determination is not part of your strong suit, you can either develop them before going full time or learn on the job.
Freelance work has a way of teaching people in that line of business determination and responsibility.
But if you have these qualities, they will definitely work to your advantage. You need them to make positive impression on clients.
Flexibility is a strong skill set that can help anyone succeed in any business, freelancing included.
It helps you spot changes taking place in your business and also helps you adjust to fit into an ever changing market.
Flexibility will also help you diversify your portfolio and skills and look for new opportunities and spot changing trends in the industry.
As more corporate workers turn to freelancing to improve their income, the market will always take a new shape.
You have to learn to adapt and learn new ways to remain relevant to the industry and clients. The market demands it so learn to adjust.
Flexibility is what helps you decide to take on rush jobs from clients or not.
You can either turn them down politely if you are not able to meet up with deadline or charge them more money for the task.
If you take on the task, ensure you deliver quality on time and the client will remember you for it and call you when another gig arises.
· Communication Skills
Discussions between freelancers and clients are most time done over online communication channels.
This is most times the case when the freelancer does not live in the United States, UK or Canada.
Means of communication can either be through email, chat, voice and video calls but never in person.
It is important that your communication with clients be well thought and precise at all times.
Most successful freelancers reply mails within 24 hours.
If you are not in the habit of checking your mail every day or two then you should develop this habit if you are to succeed as a freelancer.
You should let clients understand that you got their message and if you can do what they want or not.
Ensure you communicate clearly and on time and do watch your language and tone when relating with clients.
You now have the qualities of freelancers, especially the successful ones. If you want to be like them, ensure you have the skills to make it work in this business or else remain with our job until you are able to meet up with these qualities.
2. Are You Scared Of Quitting Your Job For Freelancing?
This is probably the place where I join hundreds of other bloggers to tell you to quit your job.
Well, you should probably quit your job if your freedom will make you happy.
But I should tell you, not everyone can become a business person, not everyone possesses the trait it takes to become a full time freelancer.
One of the common reasons why people are scared of quitting their job for freelancing is “fear of succeeding.”
There are afraid that they might quit the steady paycheck to enter into an uncertain world.
Well you are right; some people quit their job the wrong way to find themselves in a deeper mess.
This is usually caused by lack of planning.
Which is why you need to learn steps to take before quitting your job to start a business.
That aside, I will provide you some questions to ask yourself.
If you are honest with the answers, you will on your own decide whether to quit your job for freelancing or not.
First I’ll like you to take out a pen and paper and create a table with two sections.
On one section write “Quit My Job” and on the other “Stay At My Job”.
You should make your decision based on the pain scale you will get from each section and ask yourself if you could live with these pains.
What is the worst thing that can happen if you quit your job for freelancing?
A couple of them are:
- – You could hate entrepreneurship and freelancing
- – You might not make any money with your freelance business
- – You could spend some of your savings building a business that never takes off.
Now coming to what might happen if you don’t quit your job.
Here are some of the worst things that could happen:
- – You could be laid off
- – You could be unhappy for the rest of your working life
- – You might never gain flexibility and freedom to do more meaningful work
- – Your earning potential would be limited to what the company will pay you
These are some suggestions, you can come up with your own and calculate the pain scale.
We’ve talked about qualities successful freelancers have to be able to build a business.
You can go through them for the second time and check what the pain scale could be should you quit your job or not.
When you have made your comparison, you can make your decision on your own.
3. How Not To Be Broke After Quitting Your Job
There are few suggestions on how to quit your job the safe way so you don’t get broke as you start your freelance business.
One actually is to start your freelance business part time, if your part time gigs starts bringing in up to 60% of your paycheck and there is a possibility of scaling up your income, you can then take the risk and quit.
Another tip is to save enough money to last you at least 6 to 12 months.
You can estimate how much that can be when you calculate your monthly expenses with some extra.
Having them at hand helps you stay afloat until you start pulling in clients of your own to sustain your income.
Another trick is to take on side gigs while you are building your freelance client base.
Any supported income will help you escape being broke until you start earning enough as a freelancer.
One mistake freelancers make before quitting their jobs is that they did not plan properly.
The most important plan to carry out is that of your finance.
Don’t make unnecessary assumptions especially in the area of assuming that enough money will start rolling in few weeks into going full time as a freelancer.
Succeeding as a freelancer takes time and hard work.
Unless you are already making money from it before quitting your job, I recommend you stick with your job for now and draw up a workable financial plan.
You need it not to get stuck or go broke after quitting your job for full time freelancing.
4. Can I Start Freelancing Part Time?
The common perception about freelancing is that you have to quit your job to make serious money from it.
Well, you can be both right and wrong.
Yes you can make serious money as a full time freelancer but also make money as a part time freelancer.
There are certain reasons why corporate workers take on freelancing part time.
And just in case you are considering it in whatever scale, here are some reason to check it out.
- Test The Waters While Keeping Your Job
If you are considering going full time as a freelancer, getting gigs part time gives you a peek to what’s life will be like when you quit your job.
You also get the opportunity to take the risk the safe way.
While some people will quit without notice or planning to take a leap of faith into the freelance world, you can actually learn if freelancing is right for you through part time involvement.
- You Keep The Employment Benefits That Come With Your Traditional Job
If you love your job and the employment benefits that come with it, part time freelancing means you make the most of both worlds.
You keep your job benefits and make extra income as a part time freelancer.
- Help You Make Extra Money If You Work Part Time
If you have a part time job that is not earning you so much, part time freelancing ups your income.
A combination of earnings from your part time job and freelance gigs means you can make significant amount of money combining earnings from both sides.
- Lets Some In-Demand Professionals Earn Extra Money
There are things you might desire as a corporate worker but can’t buy from your regular pay.
Earnings on the side from part time freelance gigs can help you make enough money to buy things you desire.
- Provides An Income While Waiting For A Regular Job
No matter how much you preach about the gains of entrepreneurship, some people just want to build a career in a given field.
People like this can take on part time freelance gigs to sustain themselves till a regular job comes along.
Finally, the most important reason why a part time freelance business can help you is because it prepares you for full time involvement.
If you are determined to quit your job for a business, a part time involvement acts as safety net and as training.
You need firsthand experience on what is involved and a part time involvement can be that training you need.
As your part time income increases and so your steady clients, you can quit your job to go full time.
5. Is Freelancing Business Difficult?
Freelancing like every other business has its ups and downs.
The problem we are having with most intending freelancers is that they desire to start making thousands of dollars weeks after quitting their jobs.
I can tell you that making money with freelancing is very possible, but starting out at first can be difficult.
We talked about persistence earlier in this post. You should read it up.
Trying to build up client base at first can be difficult.
If you are not persistent, you might give up because you think it’s impossible.
Quitting your job because you think freelancing will be easy at first will be a wrong move.
This is why starting out part time is advised.
You need to learn the ropes, discover how hard it is to build up clientele and what it takes to get clients to trust you.
This can take from months to even years to build up a reputation as a dependable freelancer.
However, once you’ve gotten to that level, I can tell you that making money monthly will be easy.
You now have clients that trust you and provide you steady gigs and referrals, so you will make a living freelancing.
That said, you have to be ready to work it out at first.
Crossing that first hurdle is the key to surviving the freelance world.
6. Steps To Take Before Quitting Your Job
Quitting your job to become a full time freelancer is same as quitting your job to focus on your business.
For you to succeed as a full time freelancer you have to treat it like any other business.
Of course you will be paying your taxes from your income so who is to say it’s not a business.
This means that before you quit, you need to prepare properly.
To prepare the right way, I recommend you read my post on steps to take before quitting your job to start a business.
You don’t want to go about it the wrong way only to get stuck along the way.
If you are single, maybe, but when you have a family to take care of, that’s a whole new chapter.
However, nothing changes the fact that you’ll need money to sort out bills that don’t care if you have a job or not.
After reading the post on preparation, you should be ready to enter into the freelance word.
7. How Much Can I Make As A Freelancer?
There are lots of estimates as to how much freelancers make.
The simple answer is that there is no pinpoint as to how much you can make as a freelancer.
Some make enough to support their regular income, some full time freelancers have succeeded in making as much money as their former income while there are top freelancers that make six figures a year.
Yes, you can make six figures depending on how much effort you are willing to put into your marketing strategy.
The first step towards making money with freelancing is to try to earn as much as or better than your regular income.
I believe you desire to quit your job and do what you enjoy doing.
Asking how much freelancers make yearly means you actually have not started.
The moment you do, you’ll realize that how much you make depends on you.
Let’s assume you started freelancing part time.
As you continue, your client base increases which results in increase income.
Soon you realize that if you put more effort you could quit in a couple of months and you do.
Soon you are resigning from your job because you now make more as a freelancer.
It doesn’t end there.
Then you realize that there is the possibility of scaling up your business to earn more and you take a dive at it.
This means going for high paying clients.
Or you got so good at your job that you upped your fee and clients were still willing to pay you because you are that dependable.
You see your income go from what you use to earn at your former job to double, triple or even quadruple the amount.
From this explanation, you see that making money as a freelancer depends on you and the field you freelance in.
All you have to do now is take a dive at freelancing first, then see what your possibilities are.
There is no peg on the amount you can make as a freelancer.
Your income depends on you.
8. Corporate Job Vs Freelancing: Which Is Better?
It will be very unfair to make a comparison between staying at your job vs quitting to become a full time freelancer.
Despite the fact that there is this campaign that encourages us to quit our job and go into business, there are people that find fulfillment in the corporate world.
If you are reading this post now, chances are that you are trying to weigh your options, if quitting your job is will be the best option for you.
Well, as long as you don’t find fulfillment with your job, you should quit, or at least start planning towards it.
It doesn’t matter if your job pays well or not, nothing beats happiness and feeling of finding fulfillment in what you are doing.
I have seen people quit a job they love so much because they wanted to follow their passion.
If you desire to start your own business, work on your own time, charge a fee you are worth and most importantly get your freedom, then you are on the right path.
One common reason why I left my job is because I felt like a modern slave.
I was paid well but the fact remains that the issue of job security was never guaranteed.
My main fear was that at a time I would leave this job to look for another one and there is no guarantee that I might find another one like it.
That aside, I wanted to build a legacy that I can look back on and be proud of.
I didn’t see that happening in another man’s business.
No matter the hard work I put into growing that company, it was going to be theirs and not mine.
One day I would have to leave spending most part of my life growing another man’s business.
Even when I loved my job, I really had to focus on my business.
I need something to call my own.
This was my drive.
What yours is going to be is up to you.
I love my freedom and don’t regret giving up corporate job. So far, I believe I made the right decision.
So the decision is yours to make.
Do you have a strong reason to leave your job for freelancing?
If you do, then working hard to make it successful shouldn’t be a problem for you.
9. Reasons To Start A Freelance Business
If you have ever wondered if starting a freelancer business is a wise idea, hopefully this list can convince you that taking this step can turn out to be the best decision you’ve ever taken.
Here are some common reasons to start freelancing:
- Be Your Own Boss
This is obviously the first and main reason why people go into freelancing, the desire to work according to your own terms and conditions without someone bossing you around.
- The End of Office Politics
While in the corporate world, office politics was one factor I hated about my job. The fact that you have to join a faction and do things that are against your principle just to stay relevant burdened my heart.
Often times a promotion you are qualified for is given to someone else because you didn’t kiss someone’s ring.
I hated that about my office – I couldn’t stand for it.
- You Are in Control
As a freelancer you are in charge of the whole affair. There is no red tape to cross and no one to argue with you about what is best for your business.
You decide what is best for your business and take decisions accordingly.
- Your Time is Your Own
The fact that you have the power to work whenever you want is another power that comes with freelancing.
It could be 2am, 6am, 3pm or 12 noon, you decide.
What is most important is that you beat deadline and deliver quality job.
- You’re Free to Work Anywhere – Freedom
As a freelancer, you can decide to work from home or in your hotel room or even while travelling.
No one controls your work space and time.
You decide when and where it’s best for you to work.
- You Choose the Projects You Want to Work On
No more forcing you to take on assignments you hate. You decide which projects you take on.
- You Choose the Clients You Work With
You also get to choose the clients you work with. If a potential client does not meet up to your demands and conditions, you can call off a gig and look for other clients.
- You Never Have to Do Unpaid Overtime Again
I know this is one aspect of corporate jobs that you don’t like.
Your boss might be on the clock and ask everyone in the office to do overtime to beat his deadline.
As the end of the week or month, you look at your pay slip and can’t find compensation all your hours of overtime.
Because you are afraid of losing your job, you can’t complain.
With freelancing, that is no more.
- Freelancing Can Earn More than You Did Before
Like I’ve written earlier, freelancers have the potential to double, even triple their yearly income.
All you have to do is grow on the job and as your clientele increases, so will your income.
You can upgrade your fee because you know you deserve it. The earning potential of freelancers are unlimited.
Like I said, it all depends on you.
- Your Efforts Reward You
You did the hard work, you deserve the reward.
Gone are those days where your boss charges clients and pays you by the hours to do his job and make him profit.
Now you charge what you are worth and make money on your terms.
- Freelancing Means You Have 100% Job Security
No more getting scared of losing your job.
The fear of wondering how soon you’ll get another job will come to an end as a freelancer.
Your freelance business means you have 100% job security.
- You’ll Learn More than You Ever Thought Possible
Freelancing gives you the opportunity to grow as a person and also as a professional.
As a course of executing assignments and carrying out research, you will learn a lot along the way.
- You’ll Gain Confidence
As a freelancer, you can now look at yourself as a professional in your chosen field. You gain the confidence to call yourself a professional and an entrepreneur.
- You Do the Work You Love
As a freelancer you are doing what you love, when you like and how you like. Getting paid to do it sweetens the deal and makes you happy and fulfilled.
- The Potential for Growth
So much more can come from being a freelancer apart from the fact that you can earn more.
From freelancing you can grow a business empire that can be taken public.
The growth potential is unlimited as you have the potential to grow as large as any business can in any sector.
Profits from a business can be reinvested into another business to increase your wealth.
In Conclusion Of Starting A Freelance Business
I think this post has touched on major parts of becoming a freelancer.
So if you are still contemplating on quitting your job to go solo, I hoped that I’ve helped you a lot in this post.
Feel free to leave me a comment and do share with anyone you think is needs this post to make serious decision about their career.