Deciding to become a freelancer is a tough decision in and of itself, but actually having to transition from office life to full-time freelance is a whole other bag of apples. Here’s a how to go from your 9-to-5 to full-time freelancer!
A spoon full of realism helps the medicine go down.
You know those bloggers who quit their jobs, go on a never-ending honeymoon, and land themselves on a Chromebook commercial? Well, that’s not in the cards for all of us. To transition into the freelance lifestyle, preparation is required. Forward thinking allows you to gather clients, create a portfolio, update your website, market yourself, and more. For most of us, there will be an exhausting overlap where it seems like all you’re doing is work.
I worked full-time at my last job for four years and during it, I also worked full-time building my career as a comedian, content creator, and writer. I would sneak out to auditions and client meetings while getting emails from my full-time employer (which everyone isn’t able to do, of course). I worked most weekends shooting comedy sketch videos. For the past for years, my day-job serviced my freelance goal. Sometimes, it was really tough but when I put in my notice, it was all worth it. I also couldn’t have done it without a support system of loving people and…
There’s a lot of articles that go around telling you to just save a little bit of money a month, and that’s great advice! It’s also a privileged point of view to recognize that savings is something a lot of people may not have the opportunity to build. Building a safety net is a tough thing in this day and age and that needs to be recognized. If you can build savings, give it a shot. Even if it requires a bit more time in that office gig if you can push through and make it. You’ll be happy you have a bit more in your bank account when time gets tough because…
Flexibility and Instability Are Cousins!
There’s joy in going to a beach on a Wednesday and asking no one for permission. Checking out the brunch spot that always has a line during a dead meal time. Seeing that 11:00am movie showing just cause. Now that the summer has passed, I can earnestly say there’s nothing better than not having to be trapped in a quiet office for 8 hours just because a contract said so. I used to work in higher education and nothing infuriated me more when it was dead in the summer and I still had to be in that freezing office.
But with flexibility comes instability. Contracts end, contacts stop contacting, and all the sudden your considering weird Craigslist ads. It takes some getting used to that there’s not always a guarantee in freelance. The hustle is amplified by 1000x because there’s no company backing you. You’re the company and you have too…
Manage That Freelance Stress!
This is a tough one. Even though nowadays many offices expect people to be on email 24/7, office life lends itself to a break. You leave at 5pm and you can feel done for the day. Transitioning to freelance and getting settled into the biz means feeling like you’re always on call. The work/life balance scale will continuously tip, especially in the transition phase, and you’ll feel like you’re just going and going and going.
I have anxiety issues (my therapist says so!) and it’s been really interesting to reflect back on my transition out of the 9-to-5. I know as a freelancer I try to remember self-care is important otherwise I could burn out, but I also know I need to say yes, network, and push myself out there because who knows what it could bring. And sometimes, both wants contradict themselves. Not only that, when I worked full time my day-to-day work may have changed, but mostly my days, and ultimately years, became predictable. And this (as I told my therapist!) is what has been interesting. For people like me, who obsess about both rational and irrational fears of all the things that could go wrong days, months, years down the line, freelance is the perfect test to make you live in the moment.
As a kid, I used to put my hands over my mouth and take deep breaths. My mom always tells me I should be exercising or doing yoga to manage my anxiety. But freelance is can also be a solution sometimes because the days are not the same. A routine office job with a routine commute talking about the routine problems that take so. long. to. solve. allows for an anxious mind to go wild. But in freelance, one day you can have nothing and the next, there’s a deal. One day you can have a deal, and the next day there’s nothing. It’s hard to obsess about what could happen when there’s a revolving door of possibilities. And sure, with really stressful projects, living in the moment is super hard still and I’ll always have anxiety but now, I know how to live in the moment way better than before because…
I can do it! And So Can You! Time to Freelance!
You can, you can transition from office life to freelance life. And believe me, you won’t regret it.