It could very well be that you want to experience what it’s like to do freelance work. Maybe you want to see if the stories of how you can “be your own boss” or how you can “work on your own terms” are true. Maybe you’re a full-time employee just looking to earn extra money on the side, or you want to pursue your passions outside of your regular nine-to-five. Perhaps you’re a fresh graduate who wants to add more experience to your resume, or you’re someone who wants to add value to your current work by acquiring new skills. Maybe you want to take a step towards starting your own business and want to test the waters, or you have special circumstances that doesn’t allow you to work full hours. Maybe you just need a safety net in case life throws you hurdles such as suddenly losing your permanent job.
If you answered yes to some or all of the above, part-time freelancing may be for you. Yes, there’s such a thing. Freelancing isn’t just for full-time road warriors or work-from-home aficionados. Different strokes for different folks, or so they say, and sometimes doing work on the side is the way to go. Here’s our guide to moonlighting.
To moonlight or not to moonlight?
Thinking about quitting your current work and do full-time freelancing instead? Stop. Don’t quit just yet. Keep your day job for now. Ease your way into the next one or perhaps a full-time freelancing career, but don’t rush on your decisions.
Part-time freelancing can give you a general feel of how it will be once you decide that you wish to go full-time. Many people show interest in tackling freelancing but are not sure how to start, or are uncertain if it is a good fit for their lifestyle, or if it is even possible to exist on freelancing at all. Keeping one foot in the safe zone may just be your anchor in keeping financial security. Moonlighting will give you an idea of how your freelance track might look like.
At the same time, part-time freelancing can let you earn extra on the side while you’re building up on working towards what you really want to do in life. Additionally, part-time freelance work might just be your ticket to getting to know more people in the industry you want to pursue, such as meeting potential clients and/or partners for future dealings.
Part-time freelancing may seem easy, but it’s not without its challenges. Be prepared to encounter some of these hurdles.
- Time Management - Start planning ahead. Part-time freelancing will mean having to juggle your day job and your part-time job. You will have to arrange your schedule to accommodate both your own and your clients. Keep track of your deadlines. In most cases, freelancers negotiate to add a buffer of a day or two on top of the client’s initial deadline for some leeway. The worst-case scenario is that you send in work on time (your buffered deadline), and the best-case scenario is that you get to send in work earlier than expected (client’s deadline).
- Your Personal Workspace – As a part-time freelancer, you will have to determine your workspace. It can be at home, outside, at a coffee shop, or rented space. Claim it as your work-time space.Make sure distractions are non-existent and that the nearest form of entertainment requires some sort of work to get to. Try to keep your full-time job and your part-time jobs separate, and your home life as well.
- Keep Track of Your Savings - Part of the reason why you started freelancing part-time was to earn extra cash. Probably it was to help you save up for that gaming PC, a new car part to replace the fading headlights, that makeup collection that your best friend has been raving about, or probably just want those new boots that you’ve been meaning to buy. These are all well and good reasons but don’t forget to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of why you started taking up freelancing the the first place. It could probably be to start a business in the near future, or you have the intention of saving up for a rainy day. Whatever the reason may be, it will mean requiring a capital of some sort to keep afloat. Perhaps reconsider buying a PC part instead of the whole shebang or an alternative brand of makeup that’s just as good as your best friend’s brand but at a fraction of the cost. It’s easy to get carried away if you have other sources of income, but doing part-time freelancing can be lucrative if you’re smart about it.
- Networking – Moonlighting can sometimes mean shorter project durations or lower earnings. You may need several small jobs to actually earn something substantial. Part of surviving as a freelancer is the network it provides for opportunities, projects, or probable partners for business ventures. Most likely, you won’t get that if you’re always stuck at home. Our advice? Simple. Get out there. Join conventions on weekends, try out a coworking space to meet other freelancers and collaborate, network online, attend networking events (even those that are not directly related to your field of expertise), and, chances are, the more people you know, more opportunities will come your way.
Finally, go out there and test the waters. There’s nothing to lose in trying out new things to expand your horizons or to create your own path towards what you’re passionate about.
The trick is to prepare a resume and portfolio, and jump right in. Don’t know where to begin? Here’s a list of some of the jobs you can try out.