Making the decision to leave a full-time job behind to further your freelance work isn’t easy. However, making this leap of faith often gives freelancers the opportunity to explore an incredible new career path. While the initial transition period can be a bit challenging at first, learning new skills and concepts allow freelancers to thrive in their new line of work.
Knowing what you know now, what would you do if you could start your freelance career all over again? I asked three freelancers what kind of advice they would give the younger versions of themselves before they took their side hustles full-time. Here’s what they said.
1. Love what you do.
Sillie Mugo is an Artist and Content Creator. Mugo describes herself as a corporate dropout turned full-time artist. Prior to starting her freelance career, Mugo spent every waking moment where she wasn’t working 9 to 5 finishing her custom paintings. She would ship orders during breaks and lunches at work and spend nights and weekends working on her art.
In February 2019, Mugo decided to quit her corporate job. That same month, her artwork was featured in HomeGoods and Marshalls.
The timing couldn’t have been better. Mugo is now celebrating her two-year anniversary of becoming a full-time freelancer and feels confident that she made a leap that was aligned with her purpose.
“I always say if I won the Lottery, I would still do this work for free,” says Mugo. “Make sure what you’re doing is something you really enjoy!”
2. Create a strong, loyal support system.
We often hear that “your vibe attracts your tribe” and this is especially true of individuals pursuing full-time freelance work. A reliable support system made up of close friends, family, and mentors will act as your cheerleaders. They will encourage you to keep reaching for the stars.
Tracey Gee, Founder of Tracey Gee LLC, coaches leaders of tomorrow that are ready to invest in their personal growth and leadership development. Gee, who made the leap into full-time freelance this year, loves working for herself. Her freelancer journey has been full of hustling and taking risks, none of which she would have been able to do without a loyal partner and friends who believed in her and her dreams.
Gee advises anyone choosing full-time freelance to surround themselves with people who believe in them. At the same time, Gee says not to forget about what makes you, and your work, unique. How you stand out from the crowd helps put you on the map.
“There isn’t just one ‘right’ way to build your business,” Gee says. “I believe there are many ways to imagine and create your dream business. Pay attention to who you are authentically. Let your personality shine through. Because it is truly one of the best things you have going for you.”
3. This is the right moment.
In January 2019, Cynthia D. Harris, MBA realized she rarely felt the sunshine on her face. She arrived to work before the sun came out and often left the office after the sun went down for the evening. That spring, Harris decided to turn her part-time freelance hustle into a full-time hustle.
Through her consulting firm 8:28 Consulting, LLC, Harris helps brands get close to their consumers through qualitative research and marketing strategy consulting. She spent 2019 travelling around the world and building her client base across Europe, Africa, and South America. Her experience as a freelancer has exceeded her expectations. Harris works with multiple brands concurrently and finds that this work stimulates her thinking in new and exciting ways.
How often do we find ourselves putting off following our dreams because it’s not the “right” moment or the timing isn’t perfect? The one piece of advice Harris would give anyone who feels ready to go full-time with their freelance is simple. Go for it!
“Don’t wait for the proverbial ‘right’ moment,” Harris says. “Simply trust yourself. In the occasional moments I feel fear, I intentionally stop and seek inspiration. It consistently helps me continue down this freelance journey with joy! Trust your training and trust that planting seeds of hard work turns into a beautiful garden of opportunity.”