Freelancing on the side: How to find the time to start a freelance business

Freelancing on the side is an appealing idea. But following your dream to freelance as a full-time freelance business seems too hard to do, so you stick to what pays the bills and keep your day job. Sound familiar?

You do what needs done to get by, but does that mean you should shelve your passion?

Absolutely not.

Although it might seem impossible to find the time to make your passion your job, it’s 100% doable. It starts with your commitment and then figuring out the best way for you to carve out the time to make it happen.

Are you ready to make your passion your job?

There’s no doubt that money is what you need to put food on the table. But what if you could make good money, driven by passion?

I myself was fortunate enough to discover my passion for graphic design early on while in high school. Since then, graphic design is all I’ve wanted to do. When I wasn’t in art class, I’d be drawing. When I wasn’t at school, I’d be in my room designing on my computer. Every decision I’ve made has been to land me a career in graphic design. As soon as I learned what freelancing was, I poured every spare moment I had into it.

However, that’s not the case for everyone. I don’t know what your current day job and how demanding it is or your situation in life, but regardless of all that, there’s always a way for you to carve out the time to start freelancing if it’s what you want.

Making sacrifices

In order to make time to do anything, you have to sacrifice. This is something you do almost on a daily basis. A few common examples:

  • You give up a few minutes to help your significant other with something.
  • You take a day to help a friend move.
  • You give up your seat on the bus for someone.

Sacrificing doesn’t have to sound so bad. You sacrifice for the good of others, so why not make sacrifices for your own well-being?

I love watching Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, playing video games, and browsing the internet too, but those aren’t things that will make a successful living. No one will remember you for watching Netflix. Doing something valuable with your time is what will.

There are times to relax and be with family, but what if you can spend 30 minutes a day devoted to your passion? This would inevitably lead to a life of doing what you love!

Don’t take my word for it—Look at the people you aspire to be. They started somewhere, made sacrifices, put their time to good use, and it’s paying off. That’s the mindset you need.

It’s hard to come home after work only to work some more, but you’ll do it if it’s something you truly enjoy and want in life.

Working a day job

Chances are you currently have a day job that’s paying your bills. You might think this is the biggest setback to starting a freelance career, but it’s actually the first step!

That’s right – your day job is the foundation to getting started on your own. If you don’t have a day job, then you must find one. Why? Because you can expect not to earn much money from your freelancing for a while.

Your day job doesn’t have to be in the same field of work that your freelancing is either. I’d actually recommend against it, so you’re not getting burnt out at work just to come home and do the same thing. You should feel excited to get home and work on your freelancing.

The goal with your day job is to let it cover your bills while you get off the ground.

Work your day job, but don’t let it take up too much of your life. Do what’s needed, then when you’re off the clock, shift.

Your day job is just that – a day job. Your real job is your passion. That’s what you want to dream about at night. Even if at first you don’t spend as much time on your freelancing as on your day job, make it count more so it feels like it’s the #1 thing in your life.

When you should consider carving out the time to start freelancing:

  • If you’re unhappy at your current job and want something more.
  • If you have a deep desire to create and make something of your own.
  • If you’re thinking about all the work and tasks waiting for you at home that you could be doing to grow.

How I left my day job

Through my two years in college I was working a part-time job in the print department of an office supply store. Alongside school and my day job, I was also freelancing. Client work was sparse at the time, so majority of my freelancing efforts were spent on personal projects – growing my design skills, and building an online presence.

Right around graduation my freelance work started to take off. I wasn’t making a livable income by any means, but I had work, and it was building. I was getting to the point where all I could think about during class or at my day job was the amount of work waiting for me at home. The worst feeling was waking up, cranking out work I loved to do, then having to shut it down to put on my uniform and go to my day job for the rest of the day.

It was hard finding motivation to work after getting home from my day job, but I knew which work I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and it wasn’t slaving over a Xerox machine printing people’s documents.

I made it clear with my employer months ahead of time that I was starting a career in graphic design. I was a great worker, but I could no longer take on extra hours. After putting more and more time into my freelancing efforts, I continued to slowly lessen my hours at my part-time job.

When my college graduation came around, I had enough freelance projects to keep me afloat, and if I wanted to take a risk, now was my chance. I slowly made the transition to working more on my freelancing to the point where I put in my two weeks notice.

I’m not going to lie, it was a very scary and daunting situation. Here I was, fresh out of college, no experience in running a business, trying to make a name for myself. However, I am where I am because of these decisions, sacrifices, and risks.

I now make double what I was making at my day job, but the best part is, there’s no cap to how much I can earn as a freelancer. I’m entirely responsible for my own income. That’s liberating and scary all at the same time, and I love it – way more than when I was freelancing on the side.

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