Making the transition from a secure full-time job to freelancing is difficult. It can feel like a leap into the unknown and with no concrete evidence that you'll generate enough money, many freelancers will put-off the jump for longer than they actually need to.
Here's how to make the switch from full-time to freelance without it feeling overwhelming:
1. Look at your employment contract
Before you find yourself day-dreaming at your desk of a freelance, work from home life, it's important to know if your plans are actually realistic.
Many businesses will include a niggle in their contract where you agree to not work for anyone else. This includes yourself as a freelancer, so you may be going against the terms you agreed to if you start freelance writing whilst still at your full-time job.
2. Speak to your boss
Speak to your boss to avoid any chances of a sour-ending relationship when you do make the jump. Word of mouth is the best form of referral, after all.
Having a good, open and clear relationship with your boss will make things easier both now and further down the line when you're ready to leave and make the transition from full-time to freelance much easier.
3. Set up a plan
Once you've agreed that it is legally possible to start your freelancing business whilst you're in a full-time job, I'd always recommend that you set up a plan or road-map of where you see things going. It helps both your boss and yourself know what's happening, and doesn't leave you in a mess when you tell your boss that you're leaving and he expected you to stay for another few months.
Your plan doesn't have to be long-winded; simply put an average time on when you'd like to make the transition from full-time to freelance (and when you think it's viable).
4. Building your portfolio
Before you dive straight in with pitching, make sure that you've got a portfolio of relevant content to back you up. Let's face it, someone isn't going to want to hire you if you can't prove that you can do the work!
If you're currently in a full-time job, building your portfolio is hard. Trust me, I've been there and done it. But, it's manageable.
The best way to start is to define your niche and handpick some publications that post related content. Write a relevant piece and pitch it to an editor there.
Don't get a response? Don't worry - write another piece and try pitching to another contact.
Soon enough you'll have a list of high-profile publications that contain your bylines that you can use to fill your portfolio.
You'll have to work for free to begin with, but in the long-run it proves your knowledge and can even pick you up a few new clients along the way.
This post first appeared on elisedopson.co.uk.