The best time to start freelancing is long before you’ve graduated college—getting into the game early allows you to build a network before you have to pay rent. Here’s what you need to know before you start freelancing to set yourself up for success.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job (Yet)
The goal of freelancing is to get to a place where you feel comfortable quitting your “day job,” but that’s likely unrealistic at the start. Holding onto security while growing your freelancing business is the best way to understand what it feels like to be self-employed while gaining the benefits of guaranteed work. Try freelancing on the weekends or after work to get a sense of what it’s like without sacrificing stability.
If you don’t have a day job, that’s even better! Freelancing from your dorm room comes with similar benefits as internship opportunities (except you get paid).
It Takes Time
There’s a reason not everyone becomes a freelancer: it requires a significant time commitment before you see major results. Networking is essential, so don’t be surprised when weeks go by without a client. Once you build up a solid list of clients and they start recommending you to other businesses, you’ll notice a lot more regular work (but don’t expect to experience that for a while).
Make a Retirement Plan
If you think it’s too early to consider retirement, you’re wrong. Many Americans don’t have a retirement plan at all, so make sure you don’t become one of them. For freelancers, there’s no better option than a Solo 401(k). It allows you to make significant contributions (25 percent of your income or $58,000) and is for small businesses and the self-employed.
Now that you understand what you need to know before you start freelancing, you can take steps toward being your own boss (and steps away from a 9-5 office job)!