If you are seeking to start an online business on the side, there are chances that you might have considered starting a freelancing work. Freelancing is one easy way to begin your entrepreneurship journey and start getting results quickly.
There are several reasons why you might want to do freelancing work. Maybe you need an additional source of income, or you want to be free from your 9 to 5 job and live the entrepreneur lifestyle.
However, most individuals seeking to try out entrepreneurship via freelancing are usually scared of leaving their current job behind. They fear they might fail in entrepreneurship after ditching their current job and then be faced with the reality of being broke.
Fortunately, you do not have to quit your current job to be successful with freelancing.
In this post, I’m going to show you proven techniques you can use to crush freelancing business while retaining your full-time job.
This might sound magical, but it works indeed. Perhaps you might have tried it out without success. Hence you feel that combining freelancing and your full-time job isn’t possible.
I really do understand. I know how stressed up you might be when trying to combine your full-time job with freelancing. It could be quite tiresome as such you might give up one for the other in the long run.
If you follow the tips explained in this post, you will realize that combining freelancing with your current job isn’t as difficult as you think.
This post contains advanced strategies and tactics. I’m not going to repeat the same old tips you’ve heard or seen a billion times already like ‘create an account and set up a gig on the best freelance websites’ or ‘request permission from your boss’ advice.
Instead, you’re going to see advanced strategies that are practical and works great.
How to Do Freelancing Work While Working Full-time
Managing your full-time job along with freelance work is a delicate task, one that requires total commitment.
It’s an operation that goes hand-in-hand, doing one better than the other can cause damage leading to endless problems on the other side. You need to understand how you can balance both sides.
Most people after figuring out they need to get a side hustle outside their usual work, they jump start into the freelance world without proper planning. In the end, they realize they have no map while roaming in a vast land seeking for treasure.
They don’t only get lost in between, but also, fail to complete their work, getting projects done poorly and failing to work effectively during working times.
All of these problems can rapidly portray incompetence that leads to unwanted disputes with clients, boss or even co-workers.
So that is the “why” of this article. At the day you’re just a worker; at night you’re a freelancer. Finding the balance is critical while arming yourself with the right tool that will help you manage the workload from both your full-time job and freelancing –efficiently.
Let’s get into the meat of this post.
1. Create a Balance.
This is the number one strategy you need to position yourself on the right track. It serves as a compass that harmonizes everything as you surf between these two careers.
Note that this is not a separation. Instead, we’re looking for ways to connect both without ruining the chemistry.
It’s like your business & personal life. The best I’ve seen, you don’t separate your business with your own life.
Ok, let’s make an illustration;
You’re a worker –an employee –and you do the 9-5 thing (get to work by 9 am; clock off work 5 pm). You get a cab/taxi and head off home; you cook some dinner.
Afterward, you sit on the couch and watch some TV – that’s what most people do by the way, and it’s actually OK.
But let’s turn the table around. This time you’re an entrepreneur –you own your company. When you’re running your own company, it’s far beyond just something you do; it’s who you are.
When it’s who you are, you don’t go off, and on mode, –you’re always ON. Thus, there’s no such thing as, “Ooh! Don’t want to work on weekends; I’m just going to rest for two weeks without doing anything”.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re going all in the whole time. Rather than aiming for a separation of the two; or let your business life dominates, you look for a way to better integrate the two by building your business around your lifestyle preference.
Life is all about balance. Most student comfortably balances their social life, school and even work without compromising any of the parties.
Now the big question; How do you balance both your freelancing work while keeping your full-time job?
- Know the Nature of your Work.
It’s tricky to find a balance between your full-time job and at the same time having a relentless pursuit for your freelancing work or side hustle. The recipe for tomato stew is quite different from that of shawarmas.
Most of the time you might have two major deadlines at both works, and thus, have to choose to prioritize one first over the other.
Ask yourself this question;
“What is the nature of my full-time job? Does it permits me to do extra activities in the day, or forces me to work strictly for hours on end till I get off work?”
It’s essential to know. You must observe the nature of your work. Gather enough information to see if it’s safe to play a side hustle around your full-time job.
The thing is, you must know your environment. Whenever you enter a new situation or career, you’re officially moving into a world with its social dynamic, rules and procedures. Just like a hunter, you must know the in and out of the forest and the ecosystem for survival and success.
Currently, I work as an in house web designer for a local tech brand. At the same time, I’m doing freelance WordPress website design on Fiverr, Upwork and my new agency. This year, I also created two niche sites I’m currently working on. Although I do not do all of the work myself, I’m managing all of these while keeping my current job as an employee.
I understand every detail of free-hours for expansion and other things. I thought it was high time I expanded my horizon –to get a hustle, build my brand and become an entrepreneur while keeping my full-time job.
Knowing the nature of my work helped me to avoid costly mistakes as I create room doing a freelancing job.
- Expand your Horizon.
After knowing the nature of your work; it’s time to expand your Horizon. Gather every detail of your full-time job that gives you a chance to do your freelancing work better.
You must know whether or not you can freelance a little while at work or only after work closure –this could only happen after you successfully achieve the first step.
For me, it was quite simple; a website web designer for my local brand while freelancing on Fiverr as a WordPress website designer. It was the perfect niche for me.
I always return client’s messages on Fiverr to get them to place orders, then work on it immediately I get off my full-time job.
In Expanding your Horizon it could be very stressful, you have to do it yourself, and with a considerable amount of energy.
- Time management & Planning.
This factor is essential and would yield surprising results when combined with the two points I mentioned earlier.
Time management is very crucial in creating a balance for your freelancing business and full-time job. It helps you attain flexibility, accuracy, direction, and success. Freelance is sensitive, and it’s not a mere child’s play.
Without effective time management, it’s almost impossible to achieve success in freelancing while keeping your full-time job. Furthermore, you might procrastinate or get caught up with some social event; this could only double the amount of work for you the next day.
Schedule your goals and follow them strictly period!
Set your ultimate Goals to be achieved on a weekly bases, not daily. Make a realistic plan for those ultimate Goals scheduled to complete one or two daily.
Your ultimate goals might be to finish three massive projects for 7days –a week. You make them realistic by taking it one after the other on a daily bases. Breaking the goals down to smaller divisions might help as well.
Figure out the time that is convenient for you. What time do you feel more productive, early morning, evening or at night?
Also, be specific about when to start or finish the job. How many minutes breaks that is required? But you must stay on schedule.
Playing ahead is also essential, and for high-profile jobs that may pass the deadline, it’s advisable to ask for an extended time from your clients.
On no account should you plan to work on your freelancing projects during the hours of your full-time job, unless you usually have some free time within your work period. Otherwise, you can only chat/mail clients during work hours; get the order and put the job on your weekly schedule list.
No leftover projects from a full-time job should be left. Endeavor to finish all the task on the same day.
Try to get light projects done after you clock off work. All heavy freelancing work should be broken down into smaller units to make it more achievable.
If client demand an offer, be sure to give a reasonably extended period while battling with the close deadlines. Finish your work and get paid. Keep getting/buying reviews –build your gig.
Only Communicate through Email/quick Text. You can communicate with clients while at a full-time job –depending on the nature of work. If your work doesn’t permit you and you’re freelancing on Fiverr, you can switch your account offline, and then online immediately work is over.
You might lose opportunities but trust me it’s worth the risk, rather than staying online receiving a text you can’t return.
For me, the quick text was more convenient. Don’t communicate via call/video calls while at work –only for strict full-time workers. Furthermore, it’s advisable to communicate with clients through email. It’s efficient because it saves you time while at work.
If you’re not getting enough orders as desired, you can submit a certain amount of proposal right after work.
- Be Ready for The Challenge
Can you incur the pains and stress? If you can’t handle stress; you can’t handle success. Everyone wants to talk about the glamorous side of an entrepreneur. You see the car that they drive; the Ferrari or the Bentley or you know the vacation spots, and you say to yourself, ‘I want that too.’
The question is, do you have the ability to endure pain for an extended period? If you don’t put in the blood, sweat, and tears; sacrifice your time, sacrifice your nights out, give up your traits, you can’t be successful at freelancing and keeping your full-time job. Put in the right amount of work now. Suffer now and enjoy later.
If your full-time job doesn’t require your expertise on weekends; it’s time to work for a living. Nail all the remaining, or extra work from your freelancing that weekend –base on your weekly goals schedule.
I highly recommend cracking down those problematic projects. The weekend gives you ample opportunities to fulfill your freelance commitments. However, it’s also ideal for saving your most high-profile/ demanding projects for the weekends –as they require special attention.
Please Note you don’t take more work you can’t handle. It is the quickest way to failure. You shouldn’t take other jobs when you have enough at hand.
If you’re all about the money, know the specified amount of project you can handle a week that won’t disrupt your full-time job. Been productive/active is the key factor rather than overload that leads to fatigue and exhaustion.
2. Set Your Goals.
What are the intentions of running a freelancing business? Is it merely another stream of extra income set aside from your full-time job? Or do you want to be a full-time freelancer once you’ve earned a certain amount of money?
To be on the safer side, you need to know the reason why you’re freelancing or want to.
After considering what you want to achieve, it’s time to commit to it, by setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound goals. Defining your goals serve as a map to your destination.
It’s after you’ve defined your goals can you be able to achieve success.
3. Select a Suitable & Profitable Niche.
After you might have defined your goal, it’s time to find yourself a suitable and profitable Niche.
The one thing you must put to heart in the freelancing world is it’s like a general market, where many people occupy a particular field within which they must compete for attention and survival.’
The crowded the field; the harder it becomes to explore there. Rendering such service that is highly competitive is extremely difficult to find success as you must struggle to get attention, and win the few clients that come to your path.
I do WordPress website design, and it’s a super competitive niche. However, I’m still making headway since I’ve been in this niche for years.
I must warn you, in selecting your niche, have the mindset of coming to dominate rather than to compete.
The mistake of choosing a random niche often occur because you see others treading and making a living from a particular niche and you decide to join them. But it’s what is behind the eyes that count; you’re not aware of the difficulties they face.
In selecting a freelancing niche, the game you must play must be different from the majority. So find a niche you can dominate. However, it’s not simple to find such a niche.
In the beginning, you should choose a field that you’re interested in and pretty good at it. Secondly, you look for side paths that capture your interest. E.g. Maybe a web developer.
When you’ve succeeded in this initial step, you can make a move to narrow your field down. For example, instead of being a general web developer that creates all kinds of web stuff, you can narrow it down to building sites on WordPress. You can even go more in-depth and focus on only e-commerce websites on WordPress.
You can continue this process of narrowing your field until you eventually hit an unoccupied niche. The secret is, the narrower, the better. Another thing to keep in mind is, the niche should correspond to your uniqueness in some ways.
Narrowing your field brings you to a given niche that sets you apart from the majority. Moreover, there is lesser competition for price, clients or rat-race.
Choosing a profitable niche for your freelance business will eventually attract the rightful clients that seek quality rather than prices bargaining.
4. Choose The Right clients.
After choosing a profitable niche then you can proceed towards selecting the right clients. In freelancing, everything depends on the target client.
You need to study the type of clients you want thoroughly, and choose only those that value the services you render.
The right clients are those that need your particular skill or knowledge; those whom you provide solutions to their problems –in your niche. Also, those who see in you the quality of work you can offer and are willing to pay at your given price.
The perfect clients allow for the ideal price. In choosing the rightful client, you build a reputation within your niche as you accept similar clients that buy the same services from you.
5. Get to Your Client’s Heart.
If you’re looking forward to starting freelancing, you need to know how to get to your client’s heart. What does that imply?
It’s making your client feel safe and confident about buying your service. Getting to your client’s heart is done mainly by communicating with your client in a conversational tone; not being too formal, but rather in a casual and welcoming way while remaining professional.
Your client needs to feel you’re the rightful person to get their task done among the hundred offering the same service.
Be more concerned about helping your client achieve their goals rather than making money for yourself. Whenever a client is approaching you for a task, make sure you discuss with your client and thoroughly understand the project before giving a quote.
This gives your client the feeling that you are genuinely concerned about the task and not all about the money.
Moreover, this brings us to the study of human relationships. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a businessman, parent, housewife, sale clerk or what-not. The one denominator to all success and happiness of freelancing is a client.
Generally in business, if you learn how to deal with people, you will have gone about 85 percent to the way down to success –this is as true to freelancing.
It’s not just about a client dropping you an email, giving you a bell or message you. 80% chances of you getting that job depend mainly on how you communicate with them. A professional display of human relation is the primary ingredient.
It’s not merely getting along that’s the solution, but also learning how to get along with your client while avoiding trouble. Maybe your client might be the timid or dumb type of person who doesn’t really know what he or she wants. How are you going to handle them?
What counts is your way to get along well with clients that brings you personal satisfaction without trampling on their egos.
There are four facts you must understand about clients.
- They’re all interested in themselves and what they want more than in anything else.
- Clients want to feel safe and important.
- There’s a craving in every client for the approval of others so that he/she can approve of him/herself.
Over the years of freelancing, I managed to have learned these rules by observation. I’ve lost many jobs just because I couldn’t communicate professionally with my client.
The key is the choice of words. How you structured your sentences, your points are short and sweet –clear and straight to the point –all in a conversational tone.
The primary ingredient of getting along with your clients to secure that job is as followed:
- Make your client feel important
If you’re on Fiverr, either your image, banner, or display profile might have attracted clients, or your gig title/description can as well set the right tone to get them to contact you.
You need to appreciate their effort, forgetting their foot in the door –accomplishing the initial step of the business process –that is getting in touch with you. E.g.
Clients: “Hey, I’ve been going around in search of the perfect person to help get my project fixed. Many had disappointed me, but you have an interesting gig.”
You: “Thanks, I appreciate your effort of taking the initiative to get in touch with me, you’re highly welcome. How can I be of help to you?”
Note: it must not be the same format but, attend to your client in such a polite and conservational way.
Making your client feel important it’s more than just speaking politely with them. Another thing to be considered is to respond quickly. Attending to your client’s need as soon as you can, portrays a sense of importance –shows that you care about them.
You should be like a doctor attending to a patient that just had a severe accident. Your quick response and unaltered attention show how much you care about what your client has to present.
- Make your client Feel Safe
How do you make your client feel safe? How do you get them to know you’re the right person for the job?
There are five things I recommend you consider while trying to make your clients feel safe, and they are:
1. Learn English
English is not as easy as you think it is. English is the first key to communication. It’s true because most of the buyers communicate in English although the language might not be their native.
It’s essential to tell what you can do for your client and also understand what he/she needs from you.
2. Use Words Carefully
It’s hard to make people listen. Clients are mostly consumed with their desires, thoughts and have little or no time for yours. The trick is to get them to listen to you while you say what they want to hear.
You have to fill their ears with whatever is pleasant to them, and that is the choice of words.
The choice of words highly determines whether or not you’re going to get the job. In your choice of words, please don’t be too soft or too strong –remember balance is the key.
Therefore, don’t get me wrong by sounding too formal; showing you’re pretty good at grammar. I highly recommend the use of easy-to-understand words — also, no method of slang or idioms, clichés or even proverbs.
You must portray an atmosphere of warmth, feelings, and genuineness while remaining professional. You must never sound rude, or arrogant because you might lose the job. Remember others are offering the same service as you are –even better.
3. Never send Custom Offer.
Don’t be perceived as a scammer or money chaser. You’re there to help solve your costumer’s problems, in turn, get paid for your good works. Thus, never send custom offer right after your buyer tells you what they want. E.g.
Client: “I want you to write a two thousand words formal article on business strategies, can you help me?”
You: “Yes, I can help [and you issue a custom offer of $300] here’s your custom offer, please accept that and let’s start.”
In my opinion, most client would flee right after that custom offer or even behave more strictly towards you. Before any fixed price or job, you need to make a proper discussion with your client, and without that, the job suffers.
So instead of sending instant custom offers, put in your best to make decent conversation and try to understand his/her problem. Also, if you can or can’t provide the solution, tell them.
4. Sell the pen.
Tell them what you’ve got; why you’re the right person to handle the job. To achieve this, maybe you can tell them you have something special for them; this could be a support, advice, or even a source file.
Provide anything that is exclusively in support to win their trust and hold them for a second project. Secondly, if you’re doing this, you must sell your strengths. Show them relevant work samples, past projects that demonstrate your expertise. Selling the pen brings us to another strategy which is proving your worth.
5. Prove You’re Worth Their Time
Clients are trap in their world. Thus, this makes them quite stubborn and hard to convince. The only way to get them out is to set up proves that demonstrate your expertise.
Generally, you need to play by their rules, adapt to what they have for you, enjoy their compliant and finally provide a trace of the solution to get the job.
The only way to better sell your services is to demonstrate to your clients that you can create what they want entirely.
The need for portfolio building is required here. But, before that, it’s much easier when you have a library of related work to that of your client’s. It is the fastest way to create an example of what you can deliver.
The secret is once you’ve understood what your client need, it’s time to display your portfolio –even if it’s a sample of that specific project they want. But it must be impressive enough to awake a desire in your clients.
Your portfolio serves as a humble journey to demonstrate your expertise. E.g., if you’re an SEO writer and a client demand an SEO article from you.
You can say “this sounds like something I’ll be happy to help get done. My website is a living prove [and you send a link to your website on a special article relating to SEO article]”
The portfolio serves as a representation of what you can do for your clients.
If your client resists your efforts, it’s because you haven’t gone far enough to help reduce the intensity of their doubts about your motives.
The truth is you don’t need much prove, but one appropriate action can convey you are worth the job.
I hope this article guides you on how to start freelancing work while keeping your full-time job. It’s high time you got some extra cash despite your full-time job. That said, go check out these best freelance websites you can join today and start offering your services.
I’ll also like to hear from you. Does the strategy in this post sound like something you can apply? Do let me know your thoughts via the comment.
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