Up, Up and Away
You’ve got money in the bank, a great plan for moving forward and the guts to make the leap. Now what?
The most important thing you can have in-hand when you leave full-time employment is several people or organizations that have already agreed to send work your way. Clients are your ticket to success as a freelancer, and if you can start out with a reliable few, you’re ahead of the game.
If at all possible, begin moonlighting while still employed. By creating your own business on the side, you can gauge your skill set, get a feel for the market, and create a portfolio of results and references before you hit the streets.
A word of caution: some businesses have regulations against employees operating side businesses, especially competing ones. Check out your company’s policy–and even if your company has no formal rules against moonlighting, make sure your “own” work takes place on your “own” time. Don’t use the company’s equipment or supplies, either–a sure sign of an amateur.
Another great move when launching yourself is to maintain a positive relationship with your former employer. Not only might they become a client themselves, they may be able to steer business in your direction. And they could be an important safety net–should you decided to return to the fold if things don’t work out on your own.