Transitioning From Full-Time to Freelance Work
Pursuing Your Dream Job
Do you dream of leaving your secure, full-time job to pursue a job of your dreams, or possibly starting your own business? Does working freelance or in a contract job scare you or excite you?
In October, 2007, I decided to walk away from a secure, full-time job in IT in Health Care to pursue my dream of working as a freelance Instructional Designer and Technical Writer. I had been working in IT in Health Care environments for almost 20 years. While still working full-time and before I made the "big" change, I felt like I needed some help, so I bought the book, "Do What You Love for the Rest of Your Life: A Practical Guide to Career Change and Personal Renewal" by Bob Griffiths which pretty much changed my life. I read it religiously, taking notes, reading them over and over, completing every exercise in the book to help me assess my skills and set my goals. I was on a mission to move ahead and pursue my dream. I also remember saying more than once to a few close friends and my family that I wanted a job where I worked half the hours and make double the pay. Others who I talked to who moved into freelance or started their own business told me it was all possible. I believed in the law of attraction so by recited what I wanted, and I pictured myself already succeeding. I didn’t tell everyone under the sun about what I was doing and how I was pursuing my dream.
I remember reading about how it's important to have a transitional job, possibly a contract job to move towards first for some job security, while building up clients and moving towards freelance work. So that's just what I did. I searched for one and landed the contract job of my dreams, 15 min. from my house, flexible hours and a higher hourly rate. The people there were the nicest bunch of people I ever worked with and they all loved to do what I loved to do. I never experienced that before. In other jobs, people weren't happy in their work and I craved to be around people who loved what they did and had a passion for it everyday.
Do What You Love for the Rest of Your Life by Bob Griffiths
Tips When Transitioning to New Job
If you do decide to leave the security of your full-time job, here are a few things to remember along the way:
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Believe in yourself
- See yourself succeeding
- Save as much money as you can before and during the transition so you have a cushion of funds as you pursue your dreams
- If you are carrying health insurance for yourself and other family members, research how much it would cost to switch and have another family member cover health insurance; if that’s not possible, look into health insurance plans online for freelance or contract workers.
- Don’t look back, only look forward and picture yourself being successful and doing what you always wanted to do
Working As a Freelancer – The First Year
The first year I worked almost full-time hours at the contract job, but also took on other projects by joining an online freelance job website. I continue to receive projects from the first company I worked for as a contractor. I have two other steady clients, and to boost my income and fill in gaps, I sometimes look for side projects on guru.com, where I am a member.
If things slow down sometimes, I also use any free time to write more and network online via Facebook and Linkedin. I absolutely love writing, and my dream would be to write some instructional books and some inspiring books and be very successful. As an Instructional Designer and Technical Writer, I enjoy writing instructions and creating training videos. Those are just 2 of my passions. I also love helping others. I think random acts of kindness are the most important thing a person can do to feel good. So as you are transitioning to a new freelance job or contract job, help others along the way. Consider starting a blog to share your story with others, or write how-to articles about topics you know a lot about.
Working From Home
When working as a freelancer or pursuing a contract position, you may have the opportunity to work from home vs. working onsite. Some freelance jobs allow you to work from home 100% of the time and some may require you to travel. And some may be a combination of the two. Working from a home office definitely has advantages, including freedom and flexible hours. If you work from home 100% of the time, the biggest adjustment is not seeing people in an office environment and not being face-to-face with people everyday. The ideal situation is if you have periodic onsite meetings but then the flexibility of working from your home office some of the time.
Recently, I had an offsite meeting at a large organization and on the way to the meeting room, there was a huge area that contained at least 50 cubicles. At that moment, I thought about how grateful I was to not have to report to a cubicle each and everyday, which I did for many years. Instead, I am able to work from home a large part of the time, minus traveling and periodic face-to-face meetings, and I can make time to go to the gym, take an afternoon off when I need to and have a wonderful view of my backyard instead of being in a cubicle or office with no windows.
Are You a Freelance Contractor?
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This is Only the Beginning
I will say that this is only the beginning for me and I have another many dreams that await me. By taking chances, taking new paths in life, working hard, and most of all, being positive and believing in yourself, you can have the freelance job (or jobs) of your dreams!
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