14 Ways To Juggle Freelancing While Working Full Time

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The process of becoming self-employed can take a number of paths. One common situation is doing freelance work on the side while working a full-time job. This allows you to build up a client base, generate some financial reserves, and have time to do the rest of the necessary preparation to give yourself a running start when you finally take the plunge. The biggest challenge is time. You can essentially be working two full time jobs when you’re trying to jumpstart a solo career and maintain your primary job. In many cases, mine included, it eventually gets to the point where you have to decide to go one way or the other – cut back on the freelance work or quit your job. That’s an exciting time and one that will define you in many ways. But what about the weeks, months, and maybe years that led up to that defining decision? Here are some ways to help you juggle your split lives and stay sane while managing both successfully. 1. Plan Ahead It may sound simple, but it is much easier said than done. If you have vacation time, holidays, or other scheduled time off from your full-time job, plan to focus on freelancing work on those days. It’s also helpful to give yourself extra time for all projects you’re doing on the side to avoid the all-nighters. 2. Keep Them Separate For many reasons – legally and ethically, especially – you will probably want to keep your freelancing work far away from your full-time job. Sure, you could work on your lunch hour or during slow times, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk. When at your job, focus on that and save the freelancing for after hours. 3. Give Something Up Juggling a full-time job and moonlighting work is draining, and you may find that you need to give something else up to have the time to manage it all. Look at what’s expendable in your schedule, like your weekly poker game, going out with friends during the week or weekend sports, and put those activities on a temporary hiatus. 4. Take a Break While giving something up may be the only way to find the extra time you need to do it all, keep some downtime in your schedule. This time is vital for staying fresh and excited about what you’re doing. 5. Start Slow Come up with a plan that provides enough time to start your freelancing career without feeling overly pressured. Start slow and steadily build your business as you go. 6. Sleep Taking care of yourself is vital. While you may need to work some early mornings and late nights, be sure to take time to sleep and recharge. 7. Be Honest
Your freelancing clients may wonder why you’re not available during business hours and you may have a difficult time explaining that if you’re trying to keep your full-time job a secret. Be upfront and honest about your work situation if this becomes an issue. 8. Get Organized The last thing you want is to spend an hour after work trying to find the information you need to work on your freelance projects. Being organized will save you time and stress. 9. Track Your Time The only way to see where your time is going and become more efficient is by tracking your time. Use a time tracking tool to track both billable and non-billable time and see where you’re putting in the most effort. 10. Avoid Distractions This is another one that is easier said than done, but do whatever you can to get away from distractions when you’re working on your freelance projects, including kids, pets, phone calls, TV, and e-mail. Create time that is off-limits to those distractions so you can make the most of your time. 11. Be Realistic Your solo career is not going to happen overnight. Be realistic about the work, time and energy that you will have to put in. It will be well worth it in the end. 12. Keep Up the Quality Yes, you’ll probably have some days at your full-time job when you’re flat out exhausted from working on your side projects all night. But it’s no excuse for letting your work quality slip at your job. Strive to maintain your performance at your full-time job — you need it (for now at least)! 13. Be Flexible
You can make plans and set schedules, but there will be times when things happen that throw you off track. Being flexible and able to go with the flow will make you more resilient and able to make up for lost time. 14. Keep Goals in Sight Freelancing on the side is hard! But it’s possible to do both. Keep your goals in view and continue to push, even when things get difficult. You will eventually get there. What is your experience with juggling a side career while working full time? Do you have any tips to add to this list? Image credit: Stephen Henderson

Frequently Asked Questions about Juggling Freelancing While Working Full-Time

How can I manage my time effectively when freelancing and working full-time?

Time management is crucial when juggling freelancing and a full-time job. Start by setting clear boundaries between your job and freelance work. Dedicate specific hours to each and stick to the schedule. Use productivity tools like time trackers, project management apps, and calendars to stay organized. Prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance, and learn to delegate or outsource when necessary. Remember to take breaks and maintain a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout.

How can I transition from full-time employment to full-time freelancing?

Transitioning from full-time employment to full-time freelancing requires careful planning. Start by building a solid client base and a steady income stream from your freelance work. Save enough money to cover at least six months of living expenses. Before you quit your job, make sure you understand the financial implications, including taxes, health insurance, and retirement savings. Consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or a successful freelancer in your field.

How can I maintain a professional image while freelancing?

Maintaining a professional image is essential for attracting and retaining clients. Create a professional website and portfolio showcasing your skills and experience. Use professional communication tools and maintain a consistent brand across all platforms. Always deliver high-quality work on time, and handle any issues or disputes professionally.

How can I find freelance work while working full-time?

Finding freelance work while working full-time can be challenging but not impossible. Start by leveraging your existing network. Attend industry events and join online communities related to your field. Use freelance job boards and platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer. Remember to tailor your proposals to each job and highlight your unique skills and experience.

How can I handle taxes as a freelancer?

Handling taxes as a freelancer can be complex. You’ll need to track your income and expenses, and you may need to pay estimated taxes quarterly. Consider using accounting software or hiring a tax professional to help you. Remember to keep all receipts and invoices for tax deductions.

How can I handle client relationships while freelancing?

Building strong client relationships is key to successful freelancing. Communicate regularly and clearly with your clients. Understand their needs and expectations, and deliver high-quality work that meets or exceeds those expectations. Handle any issues or disputes professionally and promptly. Ask for feedback and use it to improve your services.

How can I set my rates as a freelancer?

Setting your rates as a freelancer can be tricky. Consider factors like your skills and experience, the market rate for your services, and your living expenses. Don’t undervalue your work, but be flexible and willing to negotiate. Remember to review and adjust your rates regularly based on your experience and the market conditions.

How can I stay motivated while freelancing?

Staying motivated while freelancing can be challenging, especially when juggling it with a full-time job. Set clear goals and celebrate your achievements. Take breaks and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Find a support network of other freelancers who can provide advice and encouragement.

How can I handle the uncertainty of freelancing?

Freelancing comes with uncertainty, including fluctuating income and lack of job security. To handle this, diversify your client base to avoid relying on a single client. Save money during good times to cover lean periods. Consider having a part-time or full-time job as a safety net until your freelance business is stable.

How can I improve my skills as a freelancer?

Continuous learning is crucial for success in freelancing. Stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in your field. Attend workshops, webinars, and courses. Join online communities and forums where you can learn from other freelancers. Consider getting certifications to enhance your credibility.

Alyssa GregoryAlyssa Gregory
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Alyssa Gregory is a digital and content marketer, small business consultant, and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire — a social, educational and collaborative community for entrepreneurs.

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