Ditch the 9 to 5 With a Successful Freelance Hustle

Why Freelancing Is the Best Side Hustle If You Want to Quit Your 9-5 This Year

Many people think of freelancing as a “go big or go home” lifestyle. You’re either a full-time freelancer who is hitting all your goals or you’re just dabbling. But the truth is freelancing is a great side hustle and it’s the best side hustle if you want to quit your 9-5 this year.

While having a part-time job on the side for a big organization can feel like a steadier and easier way to quit your 9-5, it really isn’t. If you quit your 9-5 and pivoted your part-time job into a full-time one, all you’ve done is trade one boss for another, without gaining any more freedom and probably not much more money

On the other hand, freelancing allows you to be your own boss. This means you get to set your hours, rates, and business rules. And if you’re stuck in a full-time job you desperately want to quit for whatever reason, freelancing is the best way for you to make that happen.

A freelancing side hustle allows you to:

Test Your Plan

We all have different hopes and dreams. Some of us get them organized into a plan, maybe even a business plan. But plans are just dreams unless you start executing them. Maybe your plan is to be a jewelry designer on Etsy. That seems like a reasonable plan as there are other jewelry designers on Etsy and the pieces you design are unique and everyone you show them to loves them.

But maybe it’s not a realistic plan as a full-time freelance hustle. Maybe it turns out that a pair of earrings takes you 10 hours to design and create. Maybe the most your audience will pay for them is $40, which breaks down to just $4 per hour.

Finding this out while you’re working part-time on your dream part-time is a lot better than finding it out once you’ve quit your job and are relying on your new career’s income to support your entire life.

Build Your Business Slowly as You Have Time

Freelancing as a side-hustle around your 9-5 allows you to build your business slowly. It takes the money pressure off and buys you time to make mistakes and learn from them. There is going to be a learning curve with any new adventure or project so giving yourself the time to acquire new skills and processes will make the adventure a lot easier.

There is nothing quite the pressure of “crap, how am I going to pay rent?” to make your adventure suck. Knowing your expenses are covered will allow you to experiment and pivot as you discover new things about your business and about what being in business entails.

Choose Your Projects and Clients

You probably want to leave your 9-5 job because there is something about your projects and/or colleagues that you just aren’t thrilled about. Replacing them with shitty clients or projects isn’t going to make your life better.

Freelancing as a side hustle allows you the financial security to choose your clients and projects with care, ensuring that they are all projects that you are excited to work on and that pay well. The last thing you want is for your new income source to be a point of stress because you had to take on shitty clients or projects in order to have the money for essentials like rent or groceries

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Raise Your Rates to What Your Skills Are Worth

As a full-time employee, you earn less per hour because you have the safety net of having 40 hours per week’s worth of income and of having your benefits. As a freelancer, you’ll need to charge more per hour in order to balance things out but it can feel scary to ask for that much money when you’re first starting out and have a poor gauge of what your skills are actually worth (spoiler: it’s probably more than you’re charging.)

Starting out while knowing your basic expenses are covered allows you to raise your rates as your skills improve (or you just prove to yourself how awesome you are.) This can mean that your income will grow faster than for freelancers who are nervous about raising their rates to match their skill level.

Establish a Financial Safety Net Before Taking the Leap

Different parts of the year can be slower or busier depending on your industry. If you sell physical products, you may find the end of the year to be busiest. If you’re a portrait photographer, you might be busiest around holidays like Valentine’s Day or the fall, in anticipation of holiday cards.

Other times during the year may be slower and during your first year as a freelancer, you may not know what those busy and slow times are. Having a safety net can mean peace of mind during those slower times.

While you should always be contributing to a financial safety net for yourself, whether you’re a freelancer or a full-time employee, it can be hard. You can always use your freelancing side hustle money to build this safety net and now would be a good time to pay off any outstanding short-term debts you have (think credit card, not mortgage.)

Pivot Industries, If You Want

A freelance side hustle allows you the ability to experiment and pivot without risking your income. For example, if you’re a marketer who wants to pivot into website design, having a freelance side hustle is a great way to start. You can build up your reputation, portfolio and skillset, without taking the financial hit pivoting industries as a freelancer can cause.

Also, if you end up hating your new industry, you don’t have to stay with it. You can choose another and see if you like this better. The flexibility of a freelance side hustle is invaluable as it gives you the freedom to experiment and figure out what you like best without the expense or risk of going back to school or taking the leap and realizing it’s not viable or you hate some part of it you’d never realized was a thing.

Taking the freelance leap into a new career you hate is not the goal so use the fact you have a freelance side hustle to test different industries and see what you like best.

Decide When You’re Ready to Take the Leap

With a freelance side hustle, you have complete control over your timeline from 9-5 employee to full-time freelancer. You can decide what you need to have in place in order to take the leap — like a certain size safety net or a set amount of money coming in every month.

It’s a good idea to set those parameters in advance and then when you hit them, take the leap and quit your 9-5 job. Otherwise, you may end up hating your 9-5, working hard on your freelance hustle and being too scared to quit even though you no longer need the 9-5.

The most important thing you can do when preparing to quit your 9-5 job is to make a plan and follow it. You should have clear goals and an action plan that you have written down and that you are committed to and following on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.

If you need help figuring out your goals, check out our guide on setting effective goals. If you need help reaching your goals, consider the Freelance Marketing Plan & Goal Setting Workbook. This is the Freelance Hustle system for helping you plan how to grow your side hustle to a full-time income or to grow your full-time freelance income.

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