Are you a full-time employee thinking of starting a freelance career? Maybe you are not sure how to go about it and are leery of the idea of quitting your job to do so. If yes, you should consider moonlighting as a freelancer. Doing so will help you gain experience of freelancing without giving up the security of a monthly paycheck. Here are some tips to try out while moonlighting as a freelancer:
1) First, check your employment policy:
The majority of employers permit you to do what you like as long as you don’t do it on office time. They will, however, frown on any efforts to work with the competition or trying to poach clients. To be sure you aren’t breaking any rules, it’s a good idea to check with your immediate boss.
2) Don’t moonlight on company time or use its resources:
Not only is doing this unethical, it may also raise eyebrows in your office network. Your boss may feel that you are underworked and may end up giving you extra work to compensate. As a result, the free time you had to moonlight while away from the office will get curtailed further.
3) Exercise prudent time management:
Time management becomes all the more important when you are juggling your office work and your freelance business. It may be tempting to overpromise clients when you are setting out as a freelancer, but be realistic about project delivery. Maintain a schedule which you can keep up with. It is important that you also keep time aside for yourself and your family as well. Don’t overwork as that is the quickest way to burnout.
4) Use referrals to get clients.
Don’t rely on traditional ways of advertising your services. Build a client base through referrals. Since you won’t be able to give all your time to your freelancing career, starting off in this way will help you get clients who will be understanding of your official commitments. Doing this also helps to downplay your freelancing efforts and in keeping matters private when it comes to nosy coworkers and colleagues.
5) Market your services:
To ensure that you get a good flow of projects, market your services in a diligent fashion. Yes, you can use most of your spare time bidding for projects on various freelancing platforms. But don’t let that be your only avenue of hunting for projects. Spend half an hour each day to promote your services. Update your portfolio, write regular posts on LinkedIn, feel free to pitch potential clients. It all adds up in the long run.
6) Keep all records carefully:
If you are freelancing, you should keep all financial records for tax related purposes. Moonlighting as a freelancer could mean that your income will have a different tax treatment as compared to a full-time employee. Keep track of your income, quotes, invoices, expenses, and applicable tax deductions. At the end of the financial year, you’ll need these when preparing your tax returns.
There is no such thing as a stable job anymore. With reports of job losses and automation increasing practically every day, it’s a good idea to consider freelancing. Moonlighting as a freelancer is a great way to get started since you still have your full-time job to help run your household. Start small, with a couple of projects initially. Get a feel of what freelancing involves. If you don’t like the experience, you can always go back to focusing on your job. On the other hand, if you enjoy doing it and get sufficient clients and projects, you’ll be able to consider working for yourself rather than somebody else.
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