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Freelance Web Developer Manual

Transition From Part Time to Full Time Free Lancer

A project of Frontntweaks.com
Author: Gerald Watanabe

Part Time To Full Time

 

The age old question for those who have a side hustle or part-time web development gig.

Is it time to go full time?
Any signs to show me now is the time?
What is the formula to quit my job and go full time?

Unfortunately, there is no special formula or specialized checklist that you can fill in to say yes, “I Meet all the requirements”. I just hope the material presented below can help clear all the confusion and mystery that is going through your mind.

Waiting for that Right Time

 

Never Happen
If you are waiting for a specific situation or condition to come to fruition, that may never transpire.

Here are a few pointers I learned from others before I stepped into the freelance world.
1. The longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to sell and advertise your brand: Going full time gives you all the time to promote your business (you need to be determined and focused!).
2. One successful freelancer mentioned that a good point of reference is when your part-time income is 85% of what you need to survive ( I think this bar is kind of high).
Another better indicator:

  • If your side hustle can pay some of the bills and still have some left over for savings, go for it.
  • If you have enough to buy a new computer or even put it into your savings, but the following month have nothing, you may not be ready yet.
  • If you are overwhelmed with so much work and you have to turn down jobs, I think you are ready to quit your full-time job.


3. If you are not already a part-time freelancer, you should start out as one to test the waters, before going from 0 to full-time from the start.
Why? This can be a real-time practice run:

  • Finding and working with clients.
  • Finishing projects on time.
  • Handling difficult and stressful clients.
  • Experiencing invoicing and taxes.

Determining Factors

 

Here are a few things for you to think about to help kickstart your life-changing decision:

1) That Inner Voice

It’s safe to say that the decisions we make in life are usually made with our head or our heart.
But, a lot of the time with specific big life decisions, our heads will use all the logic it can to persuade us to stay in the safe zone when it comes to finalizing those big career decisions.
Many people find themselves torn when it comes to their career change.
They know and feel deep down inside that something isn’t right and they struggle with taking a chance to actually make a change in their career. [Why You Should Trust Your Gut Intuition When It Comes To Your Career] [1]

A lot has to do with what your heart is showing you, or as some say that gut feeling.
It’s a still, peaceful calling that has been tugging at you for the past few months or even years.

2) Don’t look at another freelancer’s success or failure

Instead of trying to be as good as or better than others, focus your energy on being the very best version of yourself. Next time you catch yourself using someone else’s life as a benchmark for your own worth, stop. [Accept your journey: Stop comparing yourself with others] [2]

Everyone has a different situation:
Not all single people have the same life events.

  • Do you still live with your parents, or are you on your own?
  • If divorced, are you responsible for alimony and child support?
  • Are you still in school?
  • These are huge factors in determining your financial needs.

Married freelancers have a more complex setting.
They have to think about others besides themselves:

  • Is there agreement with your spouse on becoming a full-timer?
    Everyone needs to be on the same page.
  • Are you the primary breadwinner in the family?
  • Do you have children to support?
  • Does your wife work?
  • Are you a caregiver to special needs children or older parents?

Everyone is wired differently, you and your life circumstances are unique, so do not compare yourself to others.
What works for them may not fit your needs and vice versa.

3. Other Supplemental Income
There may be a handful of freelancers that have paying gigs not related to web design or development.
It may not be a steady income, but something that could go into the savings or help pay for expenses.
Examples could be a wedding photographer, print T-Shirts, auto repairs, or a musician in a band.
Everything adds up and this additional source of income could help you get through each month, especially during the initial years.

4) How prepared are you?
See the chapter on Setting Up Your Freelance Business

Just a few quick thoughts on being prepared:

  • Savings – important, you need to cover those lean months.
  • Health plan – if married, are you covered under your spouse’s plan?
    Or you may have to look into obtaining an individual plan for now.
  • Retirement investments?
    Solo 401K, Traditional or Roth IRA, SEP IRA, Simple IRA.
    A caution on Human nature, if you don’t start now, you will keep putting it off.
    Time will fly by very quickly putting you in a difficult situation later.

5) Do you really hate your current job

  • Does it give you constant stress and anxiety?
  • Is it a dead-end job?
  • No future advancement possibilities?
  • Not using your talents and skills?

6) You already have a portfolio
Since you already completed a few projects as a side hustle, you can promote your completed projects.
Yes, they can be the simple sites you built for your yourself, friends, and family.

7) You already have selected your specialization
You got to be good at what you do. Trying to be a Jack of All Trades and Master of None can be your downfall.
Be good at something:
Wordpress, Expression Engine, Backend development, Build plugins, Build Apps, Teaching Tutorials, etc.

8) Accountability partner
Find another developer or designer, a friend, your spouse.
Someone to push you, especially during the difficult times which can be very, very discouraging.

The most dangerous position to be in is when you are successful during the early stages of your freelance business.
You will have the feeling of “This is easy.”
So you begin slacking off, losing that determined focus and desire that got you where you are.
This is when your accountability partner needs to say, “Keep the pedal to the metal!”

9) Social Media

According to estimates, the number of worldwide social media users reached 2.34 billion and is expected to grow to some 2.95 billion by 2020. [Percentage of U.S. population with a social media profile from 2008 to 2018] [3]

As a freelancer, you need to advertise yourself and let the world know what you do.
You need a social media structure in place such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. to build your network and expand your reach.

10) The Basic Necessities

  • Your business name.
  • Live business website.
  • Office space set up
  • Business cards to pass out.
  • Excited, ready to go.
    If there is no excitment, maybe this is not for you.

11) Finally, be willing to go out and meet people
Outside of your family and friends, don’t expect your phone to be burning with job requests by just sitting around and waiting.
Just because you have a nice business website, so do hundreds of other freelancers who are also searching and waiting for clients.
Go meet people anywhere: little league games, PTA, meetups, hackathons, conferences, any kind of meeting, even when standing in line at the DMV at City Hall.
The goal is to meet and create a relationship with strangers.
In the majority of the time, that famous question, “What do you do for a living?” will come up.
That’s when you pull out your business card, which should be on you at all times.

When you read through these items, it kind of looks like a checklist.
But it’s just some ammunition for your thought process. If you feel good about these issues, then you should confidently be able to jump into the full-time arena.

The First Year

 

First year the hardest
For the majority of those who make the big move, the first year can be hard for the following reasons:

  • Some of you may have to hold two jobs at the start.
    • Less family time.
    • Less time for hobbies and fun things.
    • Less time for sleep.
  • Loose Security/Benefits Leaving full time job.
    • No steady monthly paycheck.
    • No sick leave.
    • Find your own health/dental plans.
    • No automatic weekends and holidays off.

Keep the Faith, once you gain traction, things should start falling into place.
In other words, the freelance lifestyle will get better, just as you had envisioned:

  • Make your own hours.
  • Work from home.
  • Choose your customers.
  • Helping the small business and non-profits.
  • Doing what you love doing.

“Even on a cloudy day, the sun is shining somewhere!” [Author Unknown]

Finally

 

I hope this chapter is of help for those who are sitting on the fence.
For some, it will be a slow transition, while others will jump in immediately without hesitation.

So whether you make the move now or at the end of the year:

  • Set your goals.
  • Have your plan ready.
  • Make sure the necessary preparations are in place.

At the end of the day, you can finally be doing what you love to do!


References

1. Why You Should Trust Your Gut Intuition When It Comes To Your Career. HappenToYourCareer.com

2. Accept your journey: Stop comparing yourself with others. ThriveGlobal.com Sandra Nolan, Feb 2, 2018

3. Percentage of U.S. population with a social media profile from 2008 to 2018. Statista
 


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