Freelance Friday: How to Balance Freelance Writing When You Have a Day Job

December 2nd, 2016 by Chris Henson

This blog is part of our Freelance Friday series, where we discuss everything and anything related to freelancing. If you are a freelance writer and are looking for additional work, consider applying at Search Influence.

The “gig economy” has arrived, and it is booming. According to a study conducted by Intuit, 40% of American workers will be independent contractors by 2020.

Thanks to technology, many workers are no longer tied to a specific location, much less a traditional office setting.  This means freelancers can select contract jobs from anywhere, and employers can pick the best people from a larger pool of applicants for specific projects.

It’s happening everywhere and it’s easy to get started—even if you already have a full-time job.

You may ask yourself, why would you want to freelance on the side if you already have a full-time job? Well, I am glad you asked because there are several terrific reasons why:

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  • You Can Make More Money
    • Who doesn’t need a little extra cash these days? Freelancing gigs pay on a wide spectrum depending on numerous factors (experience, skill, time, etc.), but they always pay. You should never freelance for free! The extra money also gives you a bit more security should you lose your day job or find yourself in between jobs.
  • Test out Self-employment
    • Thinking about making a career change? Or just want more freedom when it comes to your work schedule? Freelancing on the side offers you a trial run before committing to a major life change.
  • Build Your Skills
    • As mentioned earlier, pay can vary based on your skill. Freelancing on the side offers you a chance to develop and expand your skills, which will put you on firmer ground should you decide to switch it up and try freelancing as your full-time job–it can even help increase your skills in your current job!
  • Develop Valuable Connections
    • Like most jobs, freelancing is all about who you know. Connecting yourself with the right people will lead to more/better opportunities and the chance to expand your skills. This too can help with your full-time job.
  • Discover Your Passion
    • If you are looking to freelance, it might mean you are not happy in your current job. Freelancing may help guide you down the right path towards a more fulfilling career and a happier you. Find what you love to do and make it work for you!

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If you decide to freelance while you still have a full-time job, there are also a few things you can do to ensure a balance that works for you and doesn’t cause friction.

  • Be Honest and Transparent
    • Don’t hide your freelancing gig from people, including your boss. This will only arouse suspicion and harbor mistrust if discovered. Check your current employment agreement or contract first to make sure freelancing won’t ruffle any feathers.
  • Keep Freelancing on Your Own Time and Your Own Dime
    • This is incredibly important to keeping the peace in your double life—don’t cross the streams!

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Keeping your dual work lives separate will go a long way in avoiding problems and keeping you focused solely on one job at a time, which will ultimately produce the best results. Give 100% to each during their given times.

  • Focus on Time Management
    • Time management is key. You essentially have two jobs, and there are only so many hours in the day to get all that work done. Because of this, it is crucial that you do not take on more work than you can handle, especially on the freelance side.
  • Do Work in the Evening and on Weekends
    • In order to fulfill the previous two points, working in the evenings after work and on the weekends (or whatever days you have off) is unavoidable. Remember, freelancing is your side gig, therefore it has to be done on your time off.
  • Build a Support Network
    • Most freelancing work is a solitary endeavor, but it doesn’t mean you have to always be alone. Like any job, having support from those you trust and can bounce ideas off of will only benefit you. This can even include current co-workers, especially if your freelancing work falls in the same field.

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