Keeping Your Day Job - Online Freelancing as a Sideline to Full-Time Employment
Full-time online freelancing provides the greatest potential for reward, but also carries the most risk. This is especially true if you are already employed in a traditional job—if you decide to leave your position to strike out on your own, and it doesn’t work out as you hoped, you really can’t count on being able to return to where you were. Especially in our current economy, putting yourself among the millions trying to find a full-time job is a very risky move.
One of the primary ways that people reduce risk in the world of finance and investing is diversification: spreading out one’s money over a variety of investments, rather than putting all of one’s eggs in the same proverbial basket. You can apply the same principles to your career, by starting up online freelancing as a sideline business while continuing your full-time employment.
In addition to the obvious advantage of this mixed approach—you can try out online freelancing without the danger associated with quitting your job—there are other plusses as well. For one thing, there’s less pressure: you can learn about online freelancing at your own pace, and if it takes a while to get established, it doesn’t really matter. You earn extra money, and extra money is always good, isn’t it? :) And assuming you have benefits as part of your regular job, you continue to, well, benefit from them—a great advantage over full-time freelancing.
Of course, the main drawback to going part-time instead of full-time is that you’re doing less work, so you’re earning less as well. But there are a couple of other disadvantages as well. For one, it’s in many ways harder to do this when also working a full-time job—it’s like having a second job, and that can be taxing. Also, while it’s good that you can take more time to ease into the freelancing lifestyle, some people find it hard to get up to speed when they are only putting in a few hours a week.
On the whole, I think the pros have the cons beat here, and I recommend this approach for those who are new to the freelancing game. If you do start online freelancing on the side, here are a few issues that I recommend keeping in mind:
One final and perhaps most important caveat: if you try this, be reasonable about how you do it. While combining full-time employment and part-time freelancing can be a way to reduce financial risk, it carries one big risk of its own: it’s an invitation to workaholism. It’s fine to decide to devote 10 or even 20 hours a week to freelancing in addition to regular business hours, if the rest of your life makes it a viable option. But if you try to do too much, something will suffer. If becoming a freelancer means neglecting your relationships, your sleep or your health, then you are paying too high a price, and need to back off and consider a different approach.
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The Online Freelancing Guide (http://www.FreelancingGuide.net)
Last Site Update: October 21, 2011
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