As profitable and satisfying as full-time freelancing can be, a part-time freelancing business has its merits, too. For one, you have the security of a salaried position to make it through the inevitable lean season. Also, depending on the job, you’ll still be covered by employee health benefits – something many full-time freelancers still struggle with.
But, who has the time to work a day job, run a freelance business, and still meet family and personal commitments? How can you juggle all three (or more) responsibilities without going nuts – or driving your loved ones away?
Fear not, my friends. It can be done.
If something’s worth doing, it’s worth all of your attention. Compartmentalize your day into different segments: family time, freelancing time, etc. Don’t let them bleed into each other except in the direst of circumstances. Set firm operating hours for your freelance business, and stay within that window. Not only will it keep you from getting overworked; the time limit can also help you stay focused.
Begin with Bite Size Projects
When you start your part-time freelancing gig, It’s a good idea to go for small, quick-turnover projects like articles and sales letters – especially if you only have a couple of hours in a day.
There are many advantages to this. Firstly, it’s a quick way to earn clips for your portfolio. Second, many smaller projects can be better for your cash flow than big ones that only pay in full upon completion. Third, you don’t have to worry about the project losing momentum over time just because you don’t have the hours to do the whole thing in one go.
Take the Long View
Just because your projects are small and immediate doesn’t mean they can’t have long-term benefits. If you can stick close to your chosen niche, you’ll lay a solid foundation for taking your freelance business full-time later on.
And while we’re on the topic of foundation, set aside some time for your own marketing! Build a website to hold all those clips you’re getting, and put up some client testimonials while you’re at it. If you have the time to spare, start a blog on a topic you’re passionate about. The constant updates will be good for your site rankings, and clients will be able to sneak a peek at how well you write.
Don’t Ditch the Fun Stuff
All work and no play makes the freelancer burn out. Fast.
You’ve got a lot of commitments but don’t stretch yourself too thin. Be as ruthless with your personal time as you are with your work time. If any of your clients try to intrude on your family Sunday, be firm, and tell them it has to wait. Then, once you’ve come from your (all too brief) break, you’ll be refreshed and productive all over again!
So, there you have it. Once you’ve got a rhythm going, you’ll be able to sustain this work arrangement for as long as you need – whether you plan to write part-time for a while, or eventually expand into a full-time business.
Patrick Icasas is a freelance writer, marketing professional, and former project manager based out of Ontario, Canada. His work has appeared on numerous corporate blogs, websites, and print marketing materials in the technology and manufacturing space.