You have to act smart to freelance along with a full-time job. Here are 10 things you can do to find time for freelancing along with a full-time job.
When you have a full-time job, it is really tough to be able to find time to freelance but it isn’t impossible. I have done it in from 2005 to 2007ish time and it isn’t as tough as it may sound. You should be ready to work over weekends as well as when you are back from job.
You have to work harder but more importantly, you should work smarter to be able to freelance along with a full-time job. Here are 10 things you can do to find time to freelance even when you have a full-time job.
1. Wake Up Earlier
I am more of a morning guy than a late nighter so I prefer to wake up early. If you are a night owl, try to find a couple of hours in the night. The idea is to be able to work for a couple of hours daily.
Waking up early isn’t easy and I had the discipline to sleep early or else it can be really tiring physically and mentally to be able to wake up early on a consistent basis. Often disciplines aren’t enough and I had to work for clients before going to bed as well.
Being a morning person, I still wake-up around 5 AM in the morning because it is the time when I am most creative and so I prefer to write in the morning.
2. Switch Job
Some jobs require more time than others. Switch job which isn’t too challenging mentally and can be switched off when you leave the office.
Apart from being switched off from office work when at home, make sure it doesn’t demand irregular working hours. If it does, it is time to switch over to a job which isn’t as highly paid as your current job but still helps you manage your basic expenses and allows you more time after working hours.
In the world of programming, a product based company has more fixed work hours apart from launch days for their employees than a service based company who serves clients.
3. Personal Transportation
You should not waste too much energy commuting to work because it is important you save energy to be able to dedicate more time with enough energy to freelancing.
If you can live at a nearby place, it is better but if you can’t prefer a personal mode of transport over a public transport to save time and energy.
I used a bike to commute to my job and I still remember my office was exactly 9.6 Km. I could reach my office in under 30 mins which used to save me a lot of time commuting but more importantly save a lot of energy to be able to work when I am back home.
4. Only Small Jobs
You may be fascinated with big ticket projects in the world of freelancing but it is important to know what you can work for and deliver on time.
Big projects will have a timeline which can be tough for a part-time freelancer to deliver on time but for small projects, a weekend of work may be enough to get ahead of the timeline and deliver on time.
Yes, you have to work more to find more clients for smaller jobs but it also means you can build more reputation on top freelancing sites with smaller jobs.
5. Avoid Multiple Jobs at a Time
Know your limitations is the most important aspect to be able to work smart.
Pick smaller ticket size job doesn’t mean you can take up multiple jobs at a time. If you have too many clients to handle, client interaction can eat up your valuable time and you can have issues with delivery for each of those clients.
It is better to do one project at a time when you have a full-time job and when you are about to finish the project, look for the next client.
Even today I still follow a maximum number of client threshold which is 3. It means at any given point of time, I won’t work for more than 3 clients. It helps me under promise and over deliver but more importantly never miss a deadline.
6. Use of Leaves
Still quite new to the freelancing world and couple of hours of daily work may not be enough. Some tasks can take lot more time than you initially anticipated or client needed something done more urgently than you can work in your part-time availability.
This is when you have to be smarter to work on weekends as well as on holidays to speed up your delivery but if you aren’t able to manage things with weekends and holidays, use a leave to stay at home to manage your client delivery.
Again this isn’t very recommended and should be used only in the time of utter crisis.
7. Eliminate Time Waster
How much time you watch TV or movies or Youtube videos or even just interacting on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter? Can you eliminate them from your life for few years? If you can’t eliminate them completely, you should reduce the time for them.
I was a die hard gamer in my college days and I still remember when I used to play Age of Empires III, Commandos II, Need for Speed III, Diablo II, and many such games not for hours but for days and weeks at a stretch. When I started my job along with Go4Expert forum and freelancing on Elance, I had to quit games completely.
You can’t do it all alone and you don’t need to do it all alone.
When you are in a job, you have an advantage. Some of your colleagues may have similar expertise. Take help from them and outsource some of your work to them. Very few people will mind the extra money they can make on the sideline.
9. Passive Source of Income
Freelance is an active way of doing business online but you should also focus to create revenue sources which are more passive in nature.
Forums, membership sites, blogs, software as a service (SaaS), mobile apps, are some of the passive ways to make money online and you should always try to build them over time to add to your overall income.
10. Part-Time Job
Negotiate with your employer to convert you from a full-time employee to part-time employee. If they don’t have an option for being a part-timer, ask if you can work from home.
Many companies have policies for work from home as it can save the costly real estate space. Again if your present employer doesn’t allow, you can switch jobs and often you will find startups prefer hiring experienced developer part-time.
Finally Quit the Job
If you have any kind of debt, pay it off and then calculate the minimum survival amount you need on a monthly basis.
You are making some money doing part-time freelancing and see how much more is needed to reach the minimum survival amount level. One can easily double (or even triple) part-time freelance income when he or she works full-time.
The minimum survival amount for me back in 2008 was ₹25k. Opt for a 6 to 8 months of minimum survival amount as a cash balance in the bank account. I had a balance of 8 months of my minimum survival amount and few months of additional minimum survival amount was coming from my last salary, leave encashment and provident fund withdrawal.
Finally, if you have all odds covered, time to pull the trigger and be a freelancer.
Further Reading …