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How to transition from full-time positions to freelance jobs

Coronavirus pandemic has given us a hint that remote work can be more prevalent in the near future. With many companies now operating outside their headquarters and employees working from home, the 9-5 job routine is called into question by a vast majority of the workforce that worked full time until now. At this turning point, white collars are naturally changing habits and dwelling on the alternatives.

Either as an office worker now working remotely full-time or an occasional freelancer that already started freelancing and working with clients, you may be wondering if going freelance on a full-time basis would be a good idea. To have a better perspective, you can read about some advantages of freelancing.

With the idea of transitioning in mind, comes another question forth: What are the steps you need to take in order to successfully position yourself in the market as a full-time freelancer?

Let’s have a look at 5 tips for freelancing:

#1 Do preliminary research to explore:

The platforms

Before you go under the spotlight and reach out to your potential clients, you should do some research on how professionals in your area of expertise are introducing and promoting themselves. A great variety of platforms offering freelance job posts and building bridges between businesses with freelancers can help you understand what your peers are doing, as well as what companies are searching for.

The rates

By browsing under your professional field in marketplaces, you can get an estimate of the average budget, time, and effort allocated for specific online job posts. Check out what others are “bidding” or quoting to have a basic understanding of what a realistic and up-to-date hourly rate looks like.

Your competences

Be prepared to be surprised at how bustling the market is. There will be so many successful freelancers competing in your specialization. Don’t let this deter you from moving forward. See if you can bring in a novelty backed up by the authenticity of your background. Think of what thrusts you forward. Your combined skills, native language, or knowledge of a local market can make your freelancer resume distinct.

#2 Start experimenting before you quit your job

Even if you have made money from freelance projects once or twice and you know the freelancing ecosystem, going full-time can be strenuous. Make sure that you don’t burn the bridges before you are convinced that you can successfully sustain as a freelancer.

You can try moonlighting; in other words, finding freelancing projects as a side business as you are still a contracted employee. However, before you do that, one tip for you is to make sure that a secondary business operation does not violate the terms of your contract with your employer.

Working two jobs at a time will be challenging. To avoid the exhaustion, only spare a few hours on non-working days as a starter. Gradually spread your freelance schedule throughout the week to figure out the extent of flexibility you can endure. But remember not to bring your freelance work to your corporate workspace!

#3 Build up your personal brand and spread the word

Online presence is not only a tip for freelancers, but it is also the only sign of presence these days due to the physical distancing mandated by the Coronavirus pandemic. Freelancers sometimes tend to think that it takes to establish a company to build a brand. In fact, that is not the case. You should be planning a content marketing strategy for your small business.

Your image matters even though you don’t own a company. A professional portrait picture, a logo, and a portfolio are substantial assets for your new profile on an online marketplace. In addition, you can enhance your visibility by setting up a website for your online business and a few social media accounts. A well-curated Facebook page or a LinkedIn profile can also help you find clients.

Once your profiles are ready, you can link them across platforms, build your audience by announcing your new profession to colleagues, friends and family, and start networking.

#4 Think over a health insurance and retirement plan

Retirement may seem too far from now. Yet, if you wish for a long-term freelance career, it is worth giving your personal finances a thought. Depending on where you are, you can find different pension models offered by your government. If you want to go solo on your savings, you can set up a private scheme with your bank. This way, your pension package would not clash with your employee benefits as you continue on your office career.

In the hustle of work, we sometimes overlook priorities related to health. Furthermore, as a future freelancer, you may be questioning why you would need insurance in the first place if you will set your occupational safety standards on your own. However, Covid-19 has reminded us all that health emergencies rank number one in all aspects of life.

Freelancing means that you are your own boss. So, be generous to yourself and provide yourself with what you need for your wellbeing. Not everything is in our hands. It is better to be ahead of any ill-luck that can come your way.

#5 Set up your workspace

A productive work environment requires a neat office setup. If you will be working from home, arrange an organized desk and some storage space, even if you can’t spare a whole room. Make sure that you have all work from home accessories you need, such as an ergonomic chair, good lighting, stationery supplies, and electronic equipment.

Once we break away from the Coronavirus pandemic, you can also think over transferring to a coworking space, where you can enjoy the benefits of coffee/tea services, Wi-Fi, meeting room facilities, and the company of many other professionals just like you. If you are kind of a person that produces better and gets inspired by interaction, coworking spaces can be your thing.

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Deniz Öksüz Fer
Deniz is the Head of Communications & Brand Strategy at Ruul. She's been serving as a solo linguist, writer and editor since 2011. In 2020, she teamed up with Ruul to tell their inspiring story.

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