Don’t you just hate corporate life? Sitting on an ergonomic chair is not really ergonomic; looking at a computer monitor while talking to your cubicle neighbor. There’s no one around at 8 in the morning too— it’s just you and that guy who cleans the corridor. And freelancing isn’t like this.
A five-year career as a corporate slave, following the rules of the game when you should be making your own rules, has left you empty, disappointed, and craving some freedom. You can’t put down the laptop or mobile phone and think of something else anymore. That’s why you landed on this page– you’ve finally decided it’s time to switch to freelancing and start making a living your way.
But don’t go too fast. There are some things you must take care of first. Ready to get serious about escaping the daily grind?
How to switch to freelancing seamlessly
Full-time employees know that their company covers some of their expenses and provides health insurance. Nonetheless, these benefits also have a cost: your paycheck. On average, employees now spend 25% of their take-home pay on child care, family care, and health care expenses. But do you know what freelancers spend? Only 15%.
It’s time to start working toward the kind of financial freedom that can only be achieved by becoming your own boss. The good news is that you don’t have to quit your job immediately and start hustling right away. There are ways you can make the transition without causing any significant disruptions in your life.
It’s important to know what motivates you and makes you want to pull your hair out. Is it about having a rigid schedule that doesn’t allow for any flexibility? Is it feeling like you’re not appreciated for your hard work?
Understanding why you want to strike out on your own will help keep you motivated when things get tough. The main reason people fail at freelancing isn’t that they aren’t good enough or talented enough— it’s because they don’t understand why they’re doing it or what their goal is.
Monitor your expenses
If you want to make this move, the first step is setting up a budget for yourself. This means figuring out how much money you need each month to feed yourself, saving for yourself, and preparing for your future all at the same time.
Budgeting is essential when you’re trying to make this switch because, in freelancing, no boss is dictating you what to do. There are no consistent paychecks with the same uniform amount every month. In freelancing, money, and opportunities fluctuate. You need to prepare for that.
Build an emergency fund
As previously mentioned, you don’t have to quit your full-time job yet. You need to prepare first, and one of the things you have to prepare is a financial blanket. Now, what is this composed of? This financial blanket, also called an emergency fund, ideally consists of 3-6 months’ worth of your expenses.
So if you are spending 20,000 pesos a month, you need to have 60,000 for a 3-month worth of the emergency fund. This is important because when you finally quit, there’s no guarantee of closing a loan from the bank for emergency expenses. There’s also no consistent insurance remittance that your institution takes care of.
What you need before freelancing:
Your transition from full-time employee to freelancer doesn’t have to be scary (or stressful). All it takes is careful planning and a commitment to take that leap, considering that you already did the first three things we listed above.
Step 1: Make a plan
It’s easy to think about freelancing as being able to work whenever you want, but if you don’t have a plan when you start, it’s easy for that freedom to turn into chaos. Start by making a plan for the following things:
- Should I continue my Pag-Ibig, PHILHEALTH, and SSS contributions?
- How much time am I willing to spend working?
- Do I have to apply as a voluntary taxpayer?
Step 2: Commit to freelancing
It’s time—you’ve made your plan, and now all that’s left is to do it! If, at first, it feels scary, remember: millions of people are doing this every day. And many of them don’t even like their jobs as much as you do.
Commit to your decision, hold yourself accountable, and show up every day. Here are little tips to quickly get clients:
- Set up your LinkedIn profile.
- Optimize your Facebook account.
- Write your resume with excellent keywords. They matter.
Step 3: Learn how to sell yourself in freelancing
When you start freelancing, you are no longer an employee. You are someone’s business partner, so you technically work together. Hence, you don’t work for them. So, you need to keep that idea straight and get yourself used to it.
Also, whether it’s crafting a compelling resume, writing an excellent cover letter, or interviewing like a boss, you’ll need to learn how to sell yourself. If you can’t communicate why you’re such a fantastic person who deserves to be paid how much you want, you won’t get the pay.
The value of freelance over full-time employment is not simply based on your hourly rate. Instead, be mindful that as a freelancer, you have the freedom to structure your job in a way that can both support your family and give you time for yourself.
A lot of people think that freelancing is about getting more pay for less work. The truth is that freelancing is about getting paid what you’re worth. That often means working hard to get paid well. But it also means not sacrificing other parts of your life that are important to you—like health and fitness, family time, or hobbies and passions outside of work.
Hopefully, we’ve been able to inspire you to take the plunge into freelancing, but don’t take our word for it—give it a try and see how you feel. Remember, too, that every situation is different; sometimes, the transition can be challenging and painful, while it can seem like a natural thing at other times.
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