It can be easy to quickly get wrapped up in the allure of a full-time freelance world. The flexibility, the ownership, the potential for income uncapped by corporate salary structures…is it quitting time yet?
If you already have a side hustle up and running on top of your full-time job, this feeling is likely further amplified by double duty and drive. You have a taste for what’s possible with your skill set and the light at the end of the tunnel feels oh so close.
For the sake of your current and future sanity, how do you know when it’s time to make the leap from being a full-time employee to a full-time entrepreneur? Here are 5 steps you’ll need to take your side hustle to the next level.
Step 1: Paint the Full Financial Picture
There’s a reason people push the importance of being financially savvy on freelancers. Even when you’re invoicing enough to make a living and then some, every client’s payment schedule is bound to be different. Meaning you’ll likely no longer have that convenient bi-weekly paycheck to rely on.
Additionally, there are other factors to consider such as taxes, health insurance premiums, and retirement savings plans. Not to mention the base of savings you’ll want to have on hand in the event that you lose a client or struggle to find work down the road. Before accepting the benefits of working for yourself, make sure you’re well aware and prepared for the potential financial burdens that come as part of the package.
Step 2: Understand How You Work Solo
Being in control of your own schedule is all fun and games until you find yourself up against the deadline wire after one too many weekdays wasted away on the couch. No one’s perfect and unproductive days are bound to happen, even for the most seasoned of freelancers and small business owners. But be real with yourself upfront and develop a process around creating an environment that allows you to work both efficiently and effectively.
Step 3: Know Your Brand
Knowing your brand isn’t just about flashy logos and pretty websites. It’s about understanding your value. Why should a client invest in your product or services to get the job done?
Develop a uniform pitch that can be further developed over time. Lining up templates for pitch decks, contracts, and the like ahead of time will also help you feel that much more confident when finally out there full-time on your own.
Step 4: Have a Plan for Scaling Up
Your current base of clients won’t necessarily be your forever base of clients. Celebrate every customer win…but don’t take them for granted either. Read up on some of the best tactics for generating leads as a solopreneur, trialing and erroring what works for your business as you go.
Step 5: Be Honest with Yourself
The phrase, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” may be cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or untrue. Take a good hard look at the logistics required to take your side hustle to the next level. Be realistic about your situation, but also leave some room for chance. Best laid plans can only go so far, after all, without the confidence and determination to make them a reality.