It’s 5:00am!! Your alarm goes off blasting Cece Winas’ ‘Comforter’. You burrow deeper into your duvet, I mean its cold outside and you just want to catch an hour’s more sleep.
But it just hits you “Aren’t you going to get prepared for work?” You heave, get out of bed grudgingly, shower, quickly grab a slice of buttered bread and then head out because you obviously don’t want to miss the bus at 6:00am.
You do this every day, and then it begins to look like your life is on auto-pilot and you don’t have a life of your own.
And then one day, you wake up and question yourself asking “What am I doing to myself?”
For some people, the traditional 9-5 job isn’t what they envisioned it to be. Though secure, the hurdles, as well as the missed activities it comes with, are quite frustrating, they sometimes ask if it is worth the effort.
I have seen a lot of people quit their jobs, startup their own businesses, and do exceedingly well, freelancers in particular. With every day that passes, more people see a need to quit the traditional 9-5 jobs and venture into other exciting opportunities that don’t necessarily have them sacrificing their ‘beauty’ sleep every day.
I used to live for the weekends. I always looked forward to Friday evenings when I would leave the office and go have a drink or two with friends, because I mean it was Friday. Sundays were like a nightmare to me as I was constantly reminded that Monday was just around the corner and I would need to get back to work.
Down the line, I realized I didn’t like my job. It had unconsciously become a routine I needed to keep up with to feed, and I just wasn’t feeling the job anymore. After this discovery, I knew I needed to get out, take in fresh air to clear my head, and then pick up from where I left off. But my biggest question was, “How?” How could I quit my job when I was yet to secure something tangible? This and many more questions kept me awake and definitely left me restless.
Do you ever feel this same way sometimes?
For me, I already knew what I wanted and had to do. I loved writing and wanted to become a freelancer, this time on my own terms. But I was scared. Scared of what life would throw at me when I finally left my secured job, but I knew I didn’t want to die knowing I had an opportunity to pursue my dream but gave it up for another man’s company.
Then it struck me! I could actually start working as a freelancer as a side hustle pending when it took off officially. I was already good at Digital marketing and using WordPress so starting off wasn’t going to be a hard one for me.
I told myself I would keep up with the arrangement until I felt comfortable enough with what I was making freelancing, and then I would quit my job. I can tell you for free that this period was one of the most tiring periods of my life as I didn’t have time to socialize or do any other thing outside going to work, coming home, and then continuing wherever I left off in my freelancing projects.
If there is anything that kept me then, it will be my determination to have a life of my own as well as the natural love I had for writing. Within about 2months of vigorous work, I had was already making twice my salary and then I sent in my resignation letter.
I know my story is motivation enough to get you started, but then you are likely worried and scared of quitting your already secured job and losing that source of income for freelancing. You are probably scared you may never make it big as a freelancer if you do begin and will end up living in regret.
The truth is that everyone who has at one point in his/her life ditched a job to become either a freelancer or a solopreneur must have felt the same way too. We sometimes let the fear of failure deter us from pursuing our dreams, and then still live our lives regretting why we never did. You just have to ask yourself what exactly you want, and then doggedly work towards achieving it.
To help you startup and make that eventual switch, here’s a guide that will make this as seamless as possible:
1. Draft a timetable
I won’t lie to you; it is never easy switching from a full-time worker to a freelancer. You will need to set a timeframe to help you stay accountable and motivated, and also foster the transition. You also need to consider how you intend to leave your job- whether you will transition gradually or just leave at once. You will also need to consider your expenses and how you will manage them, as well as whether you would love to remain with the company, but this time as a part-time consultant.
2. Set a goal
We all have different reasons for wanting to venture into freelancing. You need to figure out the goal you want to achieve within the timeframe setup. This is because having a goal keeps you focused and also increases your motivation and achievement. Having a goal is actually the main motivation you need to venture into your chosen solo-career, and you need to be discreet about it.
3. Have a plan
Setting a goal is one thing, having a plan to achieve that goal is another! As an aspiring freelancer, you need to conduct research on what you intend to do and leverage your previous work experience. Begin by freelancing on projects that are related to your previous experience. This is because you already have foreknowledge of the topic, and it won’t be frustrating like when you are given a fresh work. For example, if you were previously in the banking sector, freelancing on gigs related to finance as a startup will favor you more and will be less stressful. This isn’t really a must, as you can opt to start your freelancing journey, focusing on whatever passion you may have, whether in travels, food, documentary et cetera.
Once you figure out and understand your passion and what you wish to offer, begin researching on it, looking at businesses in that industry to ascertain if it’s something you would love to make a living from.
After conducting your research, the next step to take is to set a price rate for your gigs. I mean, to maintain that luxury life you have envisioned, you need a reasonable amount of income. But then, living a life of luxury doesn’t come overnight. You may have to start small and transition gradually into earning in whatever figures you want. Take that small gig! It may serve as a testimonial or referral.
When I began writing, I accepted every gig that came my way despite the fact that most of their pay was below my standard. I actually took them because I needed to build my portfolio. With time, I started rejecting some projects and upping the rate of others as high as I wanted. This thing takes time! You just need to perfect writing and build a solid portfolio before diving into making big cuts.
Finally, there is always that little possibility that your choice of a freelance industry may not be big enough to give you what you want. How do you deal with this? Simply accept that you need to change what you’re doing and make a move into another industry. For example, if you are in the travel industry and it isn’t up to your expectations and the food industry is, accept you need a change and make it. Do this until you arrive at the one most ideal for you, even if it means enlisting the help of a coach or mentor. You never can tell what extra skills you will acquire while at it.
4. Start it off as a side hustle
To minimize the risk of failure, start your freelancing business on the side while retaining your full-time job. This gives you ample time to carefully examine your choice of freelancing and know if it is something you would love to do full-time. But then this isn’t really factual as managing both jobs may result in a lapse in your freelancing job, and make you feel it isn’t worth the shot.
A great thing about side hustling is that it helps you get started with branding, networking and earning a side income, thereby making the leap into full-time freelancing easier.
5. Start Saving
I don’t know about you, but when I began freelancing on the side, I saved up like my life depended on it. It did actually, as that savings was what I started off with when I eventually decided to quit my job. I advise you save up to three to six months’ worth of your income to ensure that emergencies, slow periods of work, and client attrition are duly managed. If you are a family person, I strongly advise you to save for six to twelve months’ worth of expenses. Ensure you save money gotten from the business in a separate account. You don’t want to finish it up before time, do you?
6. Make the jump
Now, you must be juggling between your full-time job and your side hustle, and your initial timeframe is almost here. Just before handing in your resignation, ensure you have already secured enough clients to help cover your immediate expenses whilst you secure new ones. You will also need to ensure you draft a plan to secure more clients to avoid your business withering down before it even starts. Have a plan for when you stop getting regular gigs from a client and try to eliminate lower-paying clients and replace them with higher ones. Also, look for ways to get new prospects and also referrals for jobs.
Finally, you need to map out your daily activities to ensure you don’t lose track of your goal and purpose. Even while enjoying that life you have always wanted, you want to ensure you are making enough money to foot the necessary bills and still have enough to fall back on. This means you will need to work round the clock and vigorously with breaks in-between when building your business.
Wrapping it up
In the event that you finally decide to quit your job and live on your own terms, ensure you already have a strategic plan to begin your new adventure.
I really can’t wait to have you quit that traditional job of yours that is probably eating away your happiness and health, and enjoy the benefits that come with working for yourself. Trust me, it is a whole new exciting experience.