7 Steps to Leaving Your Corporate Job

So, you want to leave your corporate job and become a freelancer, but you just can’t seem to get started.

You’re not alone. Many employees actually wish that they could leave their job. Some of them just aren’t sure of the best way to go about doing it.

In this post, I list seven simple steps that you can take to leave your corporate job and become a freelancer.


7 Steps to Freelancing

Here are the steps you should take before you leave your full-time job for freelancing:

  1. Examine yourself. We’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. Take a good hard look at yourself. Be brutally honest. The last thing you want to do is jump into a type of work you’re not really suited for. Here are some questions to consider. Do you have any marketable skills? Would you be happy without the support of your coworkers? Are you a self-starter, or do you wait for someone else to direct you?
  2. Test the waters. If your company has no rules against moonlighting, you may be able to take on a few freelance clients now while you are still an employee. Not only will this give you a head start once you begin freelancing, it will also help give you an idea about what it’s like to work without traditional corporate support.
  3. Take care of business. Make sure that your personal financial matters are in good shape. Pay off as many bills as you can. Build up your savings account. Check into your available options for health insurance.
  4. Plan to leave on a high note. If you know you’re going to be leaving your corporate job it’s easy to “contract” something we used to call “short-timer’s syndrome.” Basically, it means that you don’t give the same attention and care to your projects as you used to since you know you are going to leave. Resist this temptation! One day you may wish to have your current employer as a client.
  5. Get your ducks in a row. Or, in this case, get your references in order. Make sure that you have contact information for your current and previous bosses as well as key colleagues who can vouch for your abilities. If you can, get them to write recommendations of you on LinkedIn. Until you can build up your own freelancing testimonials, you will need these references to get started.
  6. Give proper notice. While you may be tempted to just storm out of your job without giving any more notice than shouting the words, “I quit,” don’t do it. If possible, you never want to leave a former client or employer with a legitimate reason to complain about you. Instead write a professional letter of resignation that emphasizes how you’ll make the transition out of the company go as smoothly as possible.
  7. Hang out your shingle. You’ve done it! You’ve completed the first six steps and now you’re on your own. But, you’re not quite done. Just like a traditional business owner would put up a grand opening sign on their storefront, you’ll need to build a website to “house” your freelancing business and promote it through social media and through your face-to-face contacts.

In addition to following these steps, you may wish to learn even more about freelancing. In fact, it’s a good idea to read everything you can about it before you make your final decision.

Other Resources

We’ve written quite a lot about working up the courage to become a freelancer and about getting started as a freelancer right here on Freelance Folder. Some of those posts include:

Of course, we have many other excellent posts about getting started as a freelancer, so stay tuned. Also, don’t forget about our two getting started guides:

Your Turn

Are you new to freelancing? What would you like to learn about getting started?

Have you been freelancing for a while? What tips would you add?

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