How to Start a Freelancing work While having a Full-Time Job

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The word satisfaction only exists in the dictionary of humankind, but the world holds no meaning in real life; and especially when it comes to money, absolutely not. A man can never have enough. Then what options does that leave you with? You could either settle for the steady, secure and comfortable, and in some cases, not so comfortable source of income or you could work a bit harder and a bit longer to attain the financial capacity you dream of.


Alright, you find yourself agreeing with this age-old argument, but how do you put this thought into action? By doing it the millennial way- ‘freelancing’ as a side hustle. According to Financial Express, there were around 15 million freelancers in India as on 2015, with 23% freelancers enjoying a pay of ₹40 lakh or upwards per annum. Around 84% of Talent managers in the Asia Pacific region and 41% of IT firms globally, preferred freelancers partial to the lucrative labour cost savings of 20% that came with hiring gig workers. 


Freelancing has the work style that’s sought by many full-time employees or even students wanting to work part-time for the numerous benefits it offers:


  • Independence: India loves its independence, and the workforce of India is no different. You are not affiliated with a single employer for a specified period. You get to choose what you want to work on and with whom. You also get an absolute say over your workload and working style.


  • Flexibility: Are you sick of being in your formal attire five days a week? Would you find your work more enjoying lying in bed, with a mug of hot chocolate beside you? How about hanging out with friends and getting it done later? It’s alright to enjoy the flexible timings as long as you keep your promise and stick to the deadlines.


  • Adventure: You can dabble around different styles of work, have fun and grow along as you work. While your employed stint keeps you bound to a specific role or variety of work, freelancing sets you free. As long as your understanding of the undertaken work is sufficient and relevant, you have no reason to not play to your heart’s content. 


Ten steps to start a freelancing business while keeping your regular job


Have a vision: Now that you have decided on undertaking freelancing business, it is time to find the purpose for your business. Identify what you expect to reap from this venture. 


  • Are you in it solely for the money it brings? 
  • Is it because the work excites you? 
  • Is it only a pastime for you? 
  • Do you plan to take up freelancing full-time someday? 


Design your mission: Once you have the vision to guide yourself, pick a mission that serves as the pathway to your vision. Select your niche, the area you would be working on. Then working on a broader range of businesses, it would serve to pick a path that is narrow yet particular. In that particular niche, start your research, intern if you have to, and but up on your skills and ready them to the extent that they hold marketable value. 


Work on yourself: You feel ready to take on your freelancing journey, but you feel clueless and challenged. So for starters:


  • You could work on identifying your areas of interest. Exploring it could be done in your spare time. Attending camps, workshops, classes, trying them out with people that share the interest are some ways you could better grasp the subject. 
  • Integrate all your interests to form a service that is unique and interesting to you. For instance, your love for watching shows and soaps from multilingual background could let you create subtitle for shows in different languages. 
  • Cut off things that you can do without. Consider your priorities and interests you absolutely cannot let go of and cut off the rest so that you have enough time on your hands. 


Find your people: Finding the right people is quintessential for your business to have a reach as it would be useless to try and create works that nobody is seemingly interested in. Here are some places you can look for your target audience at-


  • Take a look at profiles on social media for you to ascertain if you have matching interests. Go on online discussion forums to find like-minded and go through discussions on topics of your niche. 
  • Google Search relevant articles to find profiles of people with a similar passion. Taking a look at your competition would give you an idea of the niche you’re trying to attain. 
  • Start a blog with content that speaks about your chosen field and share your work. Look up the comments section of your competitors as well as your blogs. Research questions on Quora related to your activity and engaged the readers with your answers and also check out the answers by other writers. 


Propose: A business proposal would make you desirable in the eyes of your prospective client. A good one at that could even gain you an edge over experienced freelancers. 


  • Start right and use them as a piece of evidence to what you are capable of. Try sending a cold email to your potential client showcasing your capability so that they feel assured of your required knowledge and skills. 
  • When communicating with the clients, put your thoughts into what you might be expected from your performance. Analyse and anticipate their expectations and reassure them without their needing to stress over every little detail, demonstrating that their project is in good hands. 
  • Add excerpts from your relevant work so as to let the client see the ways and the manner you have dealt in. This will help them decide if you are what they are looking for in their freelancer. 


Present the Portfolio: Having the skill to produce decent work would gain you no work unless you actively reach out to your target clients with your portfolio. See that your portfolio boasts of:

  • Your expertise in the field you are looking to work in. Samples of projects undertaken which helps the client see how efficiently you have dealt with similar projects beforehand.


  • Attach your picture. Adding a face to the name makes people more comfortable as they don’t feel much of a stranger any longer. Write About You or Bio. It is said that the about page is the most visited as people want to know the kind of person who has written and the content and their relatability with them. 


  • Your contact information. Keep in mind that you respond at the earliest. Skills and educational qualifications relevant to your business. Testimonials about your work that attest to the quality you provide. 


Create a Content Marketing Strategy: It refers to the strategy you are going to involve so as to increase the reach of your content, increase the revenue and drive more traffic and overtime build a substantial presence for your content. To market your content:


  • Find out what makes up for your marketing goal. Is it the number of views, social shares, downloads or video views that determine the success of your strategy? Design your campaign to meet that goal. 
  • Research on your Target Audience. Find out what kind of audience you are looking for and what they look for in you as the content provider. 
  • Brainstorm ideas. Test out all your ideas and try each of it that you believe would garner their attention. Try taking the kelp of keyword research tools like Twinword ideas, Google Keyword Planner, etc., to see what would work. 
  • Make use of Social media. You can count upon social media to help you make the reach you are looking for. Decide upon the way you would market your content on social platforms- keeping it precise and straightforward. A creative poster, a 60-second video or a short podcast can be the tools for successful content marketing. 


Validate your Business Idea: Validating your business idea is simply a forecast, a prediction of the scale your business is likely to grow up to- the markets it will cover, the number of consumers it might have the potential to reach and so on. Presenting such a forecast for your business idea would help you find the target audience you want to work with. To validate your business ideas-



  • Play to your strengths. Flaunt what you have got. If writing is your thing, go ahead and write heartily. 
  • Ask for help. It is surreal to expect yourself to be already equipped with every skill possibly required for a successful project. You could make up for areas you lack by outsourcing from other freelancers or any other dependable source. 
  • Gain a competitive advantage. Offering what your competitor is also offering makes for no reason for your performance to be in better demand. Work on highlighting your competitive edge such as the cost structure, industrial experience, expertise or whatever it is that you have to offer, for your clients to develop a need for your services specifically. 

The right price: Value your talents and don’t hesitate to charge right. Why offer something of value for free when there are willing to pay for it? You can charge based on the prospects you are looking for- whether a high paying client for exclusive service or higher volume of projects for diversity, etc. Also, do take into account the resources used, whether material or immaterial such as the apparatus used, the electricity consumption, efforts and time put in while fixing your hourly rate so as to keep the price sustainable in the long run.


You could also make use of an online calculator to help you determine the rate you should be charging. It may seem logical to assume that charging less would let the prospective clients choose you. But it would do you good to remember that however less the price you offer your work for, then there will always be someone willing to charge lesser; someone that is working for the fun of it, someone with lesser living cost to worry about, someone only looking for little pocket money, etc. A client that values your work would readily and happily pay a high price as it is the quality of your work that eventually matters. 


Don’t get yourself fired or worse, sued: It certainly is easy to get lost in the novelty of being a freelancer, wanting to take up more independent projects or pushing your limits to test what you could earn. It is hence advised to stay grounded and see that you are not committing any of these mistakes-


  • Your results dipping with your regular employer, owing to your lack of focus and time allotment might eventually get you fired. Working on projects similar to the ones taken up by the company you work at might not be appreciated. 
  • Utilising the company’s resources, be it their material resources such as service subscription, or even you’re working office hours, might not receive appreciation from your employer. 
  • Undertaking work despite the company clearly expressing their disapproval. Mistakes like these intentional or not could lead you even to the extent of being sued. As independence loving Indian, the last thing you would want for yourself is getting entangled in legal litigation and the complexities it brings. 


An overview of the matter

Most people, despite wanting to take up freelancing hesitate to take up freelancing worrying they may turn out to be lacking. But take comfort in the common knowledge that everyone is probably going through the same. Even if they have conquered their fears, their relief lasts only for a while. Worry finds them once again as they face new challenges in their work. This stands true even for the best of freelancers. So let us give it a try and find out what we are made of. 


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