How I Plan To Transition From Employee To Freelancer

Transitioning from employee to freelancer has been on my mind for months.

It always felt like there never seemed to be the right moment to make the change.

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Once the opportunity arose, I knew it was time to come up with a plan that would help make the transition a smooth one. My goal was to transition away from a full time job and being an employee to a freelancer.

After I made the decision to become a freelancer, I knew I needed to come up with a plan. I read countless articles for tips. I created monthly goals and checklists. 

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When I’m not at my day job, I’ve spent nearly every waking moment working on my freelance business.

Having a full-time job, my blog and side hustling is a lot to juggle.

My free time has suffered; I’ve traded in happy hours for consulting sessions after work.

Sunday Funday? Right now it’s a thing of the past. But I wouldn’t have it any other way right now!

Start side hustling early on

I knew the key to my success was to side hustle in addition to my full-time job.

By side hustling and working hard now, I am making the transition from employee to freelancer much easier.

Because I can’t afford to start freelancing from scratch, it makes more sense to side hustle in my spare time while at my full time job.

I am currently offering consulting services that are in the same field as my degree and similar to what I do at my day job.

I’ve been fortunate to find a network that helps match clients with professionals.

With over a decade of experience in my field (and what I went to school for), I am confident this side hustle will turn into part to full-time work. I love my line of work and am excited to see this side hustle grow.

My side hustle income for consulting so far:

  • July: $480 (2 clients)
  • August: $540 (3 clients)

While this doesn’t seem like very much, it’s because I just don’t have enough time in my day to work on this more.

I’ve had to turn down a couple of clients, but I’m confident my clients will increase once I have full-time availability.

Diversify sources of income

Consulting in my field isn’t the only freelance work I will be doing. 

I also plan to ramp up my career in the blogging world. In July I added a Services page to my blog. Shortly afterward, I began receiving emails from potential clients asking for my services!

It is really important for me to have more than one source of income.

I know that if I want to create my own income, I need to work with clients now before I fully transition from employee to freelancer.

This will allow me to remain diverse and utilize different markets to earn a living. While I expect to have multiple clients in both lines of work, I like that both fields are completely different.

Anticipate bills and budget for the future

With my pending move and my last day of work approaching, I have made sure to budget out my bills for the remainder of the year.

I know exactly how much I need to make a month to cover my bills, plan for one-off expenses (such as purchasing new tires for my car) and allow for some fun money.

Thanks to my savings accounts, I have tucked away the following:

  • An emergency fund for four months of rent
  • An emergency fund for two months of bills
  • Car maintenance (new tires, oil change, and tune up)
  • Moving across the country (gas, lodging, and food)
  • Pet Expenses (trips to the vet or meds)
  • Furniture fund (I am not taking any furniture with me and starting from scratch-this isn’t fully funded yet)
  • Christmas gifts and holiday travel (this isn’t fully funded yet)

Reviewing bills and expenses can be really stressful, but I feel really good about where I am with everything.

I love having separate savings accounts so I can sort and track everything. When it’s time to dip into a certain fund, there won’t be any stress or guilt associated with actually using the money.

Determine salary requirements as a freelancer

As a salaried employee, it’s easy for me to forget how much money I earn weekly or even on a daily basis.

I have become so used to getting paid every other week, that I actually had to sit down and figure out how much I make daily and even on an hourly basis.

Once I determined this number, I figured out how much freelance work I need to average a month to just cover my bills.

Then I looked at how much work I need to average a month to maintain my current salary.

That number was intimidating, but not out of reach. Perhaps not achievable at first, but certainly in the future.

Obtain health insurance

I know very little about health insurance and have always depended on what my employers have offered.

I have looked into new insurance briefly, but have a lot more research to do. As my coverage won’t end for a couple more months, I plan on spending a good amount of time comparing policies.

Due to prior health issues, having health insurance is a necessity. I plan on locking in a plan so there is no lapse in coverage.

I’m hoping this step will not be the hardest as I journey from employee to freelancer.

Find a coach, mentor or small network

It’s important to have someone you can connect to, whether it’s in person or online. 

I have a small group of online friends that I like being able to check in with. Even though we haven’t met in real life, these relationships I have formed are important and I really value their opinions and advice.

Act like a business owner

When working as an employee for someone else’s company, it’s easy to not be as invested in the company as the business owners.

I essentially go to work, do my job, and go home. While I focus on one aspect of the business, there are different departments that focus on marketing, advertising, HR, and other parts of the company.

Starting and running a freelance business won’t be easy. Every aspect of running the business will be up to me. I won’t have anyone else to rely on except myself. 

The exciting part is that I’m the CEO of my future! It’s up to me to make the most of my freelance business.

Final thoughts

It’s a leap of faith to take the plunge from being a full time employee to freelancer but I’m confident about my journey. Using the steps above will certainly make the process easier!

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  1. Awesome Goals……No doubt you will achieve all of them. You have the right attitude and drive !!!

    1. Thanks Steve πŸ™‚

  2. Congratulations! It’s a tough, but exciting journey. I recently celebrated my one-year anniversary as a FT freelancer. I’ve more than doubled my income and it feels great. Carrie is the best and helped me a ton when I first started.

    1. Congrats on your 1 year, how exciting! I didn’t know you worked with Carrie either, awesome!

  3. My husband is planning to leave his job in the somewhat near future to focus 100% on freelance work. It is very exciting but also a little bit scary! We are also doing a lot of the things you mentioned here in preparation. I think establishing your side business as best you can before taking the plunge is key. Good for you! It sounds like you really have things under control!

    1. Thanks Jess! Congrats to your hubby for making the switch. I’d love to read more about it on your blog!

  4. Carrie O. says:

    Hi Kristin,
    I noticed that Carrie over at Careful Cents has a paid service called “The Client Connection”. Looks like it helps connect freelancers and clients. Have you tried it? Thanks!

    1. Hey! I plan on applying once I am freelancing full time. I’m not into job boards, and I think this is a much more personal way of connecting the two. I would definitely reach out to her though! After my first coaching meeting and thanks to Carrie’s network, one of her other clients emailed me wanting to use my services πŸ™‚

      1. Carrie O. says:

        That’s great that one of Carrie’s client’s reached out to you for services! I went ahead and emailed her over the weekend with a few questions about The Client Connection but I haven’t heard back from her yet.

  5. Ah this post could not have come at a better time. I’ve been working on an escape plan to go from full-timer to freelancer and I’ll be honest, it’s scary as heck!! There’s so much routine with a corporate job and everything is so predictable. I’m thinking to soften the financial blow I’ll see if my work will agree to hire me on a contractor basis – my job is very project-based so they’ll only pay me when I actually work. I’m being as optimistic as I can that they’ll say yes lol.

    Looking forward to hearing more about your transition πŸ™‚

    1. That’s a really great tip! I wish I could do that with my company, but it’s not really an option. I am definitely scared, but it’s more of an excited scared!

  6. I’m impressed with all the saving you’ve done in preparation for your move! That’s the best thing to do to prepare to take to plunge and leave your job. I’m also glad that you’re trying to diversify your income, that’s so important and it’s currently a goal of mine as well.

    1. Thanks! Taking the plunge is crazy and I wouldn’t have been able to a year ago. Right now it’s really the perfect time!

  7. As a new blogger, the transition to a full time freelance writer seems impossible. As I continue to read other’s journeys I become less confident that I’m doing my journey to financial freedom correctly.

    It looks like your well on your way to transitioning and maybe I’ll take some of your helpful tips and incorporate them to work in my favor as well!

    1. I launched this blog about a year ago and it has definitely been a lot of trial and error. I don’t plan on doing a ton of writing as a freelancer and am focusing more on niche work. I’m hoping this will bring in about 25% off my income for just getting started. The rest of my income will come from my day job which has absolutely nothing to do with blogging πŸ™‚ I’ll be writing a ton more about it in the next couple months documenting my transition.

  8. I really love to read a post like this one, like what you did to decide to be a freelancer from an 8 hour office work. I know some freelancers that are successful right now and they made a good decision.

    1. Thanks Kate! It’s definitely been in the works for a while and has taken me a lot of prep work. I’m a little nervous for sure, but it seems like the right time.

  9. Yep, the absolute biggest thing in transitioning to freelance is to have existing customers. Of course, all that financial padding is important too.

    It sounds like you’re on your way to getting to a feasible, reliable income on the side. And until you can fully cover your bills, the income will at least defray the amount you have to take out of the emergency fund.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks! I am really excited to freelance full time!

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