5 Secrets to Freelancing Around Your Day Job

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Do you dream of quitting your job and going it on your own? Not so fast. Building a freelance business while working a full-time job is difficult.

It is possible though with some juggling and creativity. You’ve got creativity in spades though, right? That — and a fierce sense of independence — are the likely culprits that drew you to freelancing.

Before you ditch your day job, use those creative muscles to find ways to build your freelancing business while you continue to earn your full-time paycheck.

Looking to make part-time freelancing a way of life, rather than a temporary way to build your clients and savings account before going full-time? These secrets will definitely work for you too.


Focusing on your employer’s needs rather than your own will help you be successful in getting your request approved.

Depending on how long your commute is, you can gain valuable time to devote to marketing and writing by working from home one or more days per week. Get approval from your current supervisor by proving how telecommuting will help the company — remind them that telecommuters are less stressed and more focused, telecommuting saves employers money, and it is a valuable tool in preserving business continuity. Focusing on your employer’s needs rather than your own will help you be successful in getting your request approved.

Once you get approval, make sure you use the added time wisely. It can be so easy to sleep in or watch the evening news “just this once.” But “just this once” has a habit of becoming the order of the day much too easily. Create a schedule for your new commute and stick to it.

Follow the Rules

The thing about freelancing is that it can be more exciting than your day job. So when an interview subject can only meet smack dab in the middle of your work day, you will probably want to jump at the chance. Depending on your work environment, you may or may not be able to do that.

Follow the guidelines laid out by your supervisor and your employee handbook to ensure that you keep your day job as long as you want to before striking out on your own. If you are in doubt, ask if you can take that meeting with a potential client at 3pm on a Wednesday. Unless you are in a position where you need to keep your freelancing secret, you should be just fine.

Be Flexible

Use pockets of time to run your business. Got a half hour before you leave for work? Send prospecting emails. A full lunch hour? Brown bag it and write in the company lunch room. Or schedule interviews during that time and find a quiet place to conduct them. I use the bluetooth capability in my car so I can easily take notes.

Do you have two hours after the kids are in bed? Two uninterrupted hours to write? Sounds like heaven to me. Get to work on the words and make the most of that time.

Go Portable

My car and my cell phone are two important parts of my portable office. So are my netbook and my Circa notebook. I bought one of those big purses that will hold the netbook, notebook, and any research materials I need. This means I can work on my personal projects or client work on my lunch hour, while waiting at the doctor’s office, or anytime I find myself with extra time while away from home.

Make a list of the five tools you need to do your work, then put them together into a portable work kit. Take your kit with you everywhere so you are always prepared.

Enlist Support

I have a toddler, so my mornings, evenings, and weekends are a lot more chaotic than they used to be BK (before kids). I also have an amazing husband who takes my writing career seriously and pitches in to help whenever I need him. Think about who can watch the kids, do the dishes, or clean the house, then ask them to do it so you can reclaim that time to write.

Again, make sure you use this time for actual writing, marketing, and the other essential tasks of the freelancer. Surfing the web doesn’t count.

How do you balance client work and your day job?

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by SimpleFoto.

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