These days, I’ve been hearing a lot about people starting a part-time freelance business while they still have day job. Given the economic times, that move makes perfect sense. Freelancing can be a great way to get control of your financial future.
Too often, however, freelancing becomes drudgery for the part-timer. Since they already have another job the part-time freelancer runs a high risk of burning out early in their freelancing career. In fact, many part-time freelancers never make the transition to full-time.
If you are a part-time freelancer (and even if you aren’t) here are some steps that you can take to ensure burnout doesn’t happen to you:
- Treat yourself like a professional.
Set aside a dedicated office space (even if it’s only a corner of a room) for your freelancing work. Working from your “office” instead of your kitchen table or your couch can make a positive difference in your productivity and attitude.
- Charge a fair rate for your work.
There is a big temptation for part-time freelancers to charge less than they are really worth. For one thing, they have the income from the day job to fall back on. Also, a part-timer may feel that low rates are justified because they are starting out. Don’t fall for this trap!
- Invest in your business.
Make sure that you have the proper equipment and software for your freelancing business. That four-year-old PC with the outdated software loaded on it may be just fine for answering e-mail, but it is probably not powerful enough for your freelancing gigs.
- Network with likeminded professionals.
When you first start out it can seem like you are the only person that you know who does freelance work. Join some networking sites and get to know other freelancers. Not only can these professional contacts help you find work, these peers can also share valuable tips.
- Print business cards.
There is just something about being able to hand out a business card with your name and your business name printed on it that makes a freelancer look and feel more professional. Getting business cards printed is relatively inexpensive, so why not get some business cards for yourself?
- Schedule downtime.
With both a day job and a budding freelancing career, you’re bound to get worn out easily if you’re not careful. During this period when you are juggling a day job with freelancing work, make the extra effort to schedule rest and relaxation time to keep yourself from getting too run down.
- Take a course in your field.
You may know to make an investment in your hardware and software, but do not forget to make in investment in yourself. Taking a class in a topic that relates to your field will both increase your knowledge and help you to feel more confident about your ability.
- Keep a log of your successes.
Many freelancers forget this step, but keeping a log of successful projects completed is an important task for the beginning freelancer. Not only will such a log encourage you when you feel discouraged, but it can form the basis for your professional portfolio.
Are you a part-time freelancer?
What special challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?
Have you transitioned from part-time freelancing to full-time?
How was the transition? What tips would you give to another freelancer who is considering going full-time?