Freelancing could be a great way to increase your income while also doing creative work that you enjoy. If you already have a full-time job, picking up more work might feel intimidating, but don’t worry. You can set yourself up for success while balancing your workload. Here are some factors to keep in mind.
Your employer’s rules about freelancing
Before you start freelancing on the side, check your employee handbook for guidelines around freelance work. Some companies may view similar work outside of your full-time job as a conflict of interest or have specific restrictions surrounding contract work for competitors. In some cases, you may have to freelance in a different industry.
As you develop your freelance work plan, consider your budget. Take possible expenses into account, including supplies or travel. You might ask yourself, ideally, how much extra money do you hope to make each month? What are your financial goals—do you want to increase your income substantially so you can make a down payment on a house, buy a car, or get a permanent life insurance policy like whole life insurance?
Your freelancing goals
Before you start freelancing, you may want to consider your overarching goal: do you hope to do freelance work full-time at some point, or do you want to supplement your existing income? From there, you might set monthly or quarterly benchmarks, especially for your first year. Those could be financial, like your desired monthly freelance income by month six, or professional, like how many projects you’d like to complete in year one. Keeping an eye on your targets can help you stay on track and grow consistently.
As you reach out to new clients, you should have an idea of your pricing system. The best fit for pricing depends on the type of work you do; it might make sense to charge hourly, by project, or one flat fee. Each client may also have their own processes or payment structures. It’s important to establish your preferences and requirements in advance so you can negotiate with confidence.
Balancing a full-time job and a side hustle doesn’t have to be difficult. Building a routine around your primary schedule can help you stay motivated in your freelance work and your regular job. For example, if you work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you may want to designate 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for freelance work two nights a week. Alternatively, you may want to spend every Sunday morning on freelance projects. Project management apps could also help you stay organized.
Finally, it’s critical to prioritize your rest and well-being. Sometimes, you may feel pressure to work long hours for freelance clients, then show up at work exhausted. Not only does that bring down the quality of your work across the board, it could also affect your mental and physical health. By scheduling your work carefully, pacing yourself, and not taking on more than you can comfortably deliver, you can build your freelancing business while safeguarding your well-being.