If you’re thinking of starting your own business — or you’re in the process of doing it — you’ve probably read all the advice you can get your hands on. If that’s the case, you’re no stranger to the tip of picking up moonlighting jobs. If you work a full-time job, it’s considered a savvy move to also work by moonlight — as in, you should continue to work at night after you’ve spent all day at your other job. It seems like a pretty straightforward solution to enhance your career. Why not use all the hours available to work toward your dream job?
Well, moonlighting is hard. At least, it was for me. It was so challenging I couldn’t handle it effectively. I tried to force myself into it for a long time, but with a demanding day job with a ton of responsibility, my brain was fried at the end of the day, and my eyes could hardly stand to look into a computer screen any longer. It took me two months to write a single blog post. That’s not good or professional. The truth is not everyone can moonlight and balance their mental and physical health. Fortunately though, that doesn’t mean those of us who can’t hack it are stuck trudging in our 9-to-5 jobs forever. Consider these three strategies to prepare yourself to make the leap to full-time freelancer.
1. Build Your Email List
My email list is the easiest way for me to get clients and sales. To be honest, I wish I’d built one while I was working in my corporate job. Setting your list up to build itself doesn’t actually take that much time or energy — but it is an effective tool to drive your business forward.
All you need to do is create a lead magnet (which only takes about 30 minutes), and hook your email collection form to an email software. MailChimp is free to use for your first 2,000 subscribers, and it’s likely you’ll kick into full-time freelancing before you ever get to that number. Once you have your lead magnet live on your site with an opt-in box, any traffic that comes to your site will have the option to join your email list, which you can use to officially open your business when the time comes, and you need to start booking clients.
2. Update Your Portfolio
Here’s a secret: Your portfolio doesn’t need to be exclusive to the clients you serve in your new freelance business. You’re allowed to put work you’ve done in your corporate career in there. And keeping this thing up-to-date before you fully immerse yourself in your new business is a simple way to maintain your image as an expert service provider — even if you aren’t into moonlight work.
3. Publicize Your Offerings and Prices
While you’re still in the transitional phase to full-time freelancing, make your offerings public. This advertisement will tell your site visitors you’re available to be hired, and if they want, they can get in touch to solidify a spot on your calendar when you make the leap. Even if they don’t get in touch, this plants a seed in their minds that you are out there, they can hire you and they can measure their budget ideas against your quotes.
In the end, if moonlighting jobs work for you, more power to you. Go for it, and I wish you nothing but the best. But if you’re like me and have a brain that tends not to be able to juggle too much work in a day before spinning out, know that your dreams of a successful freelance career don’t have to crash at the end of the day, too. There are ways you can work within your skill set and mental energy to build a successful online presence before you make the leap into full-time freelancing. All you need is a little planning.