Making the Switch

I was unemployed for the better part of last year and started freelance web design between my full-time jobs. I freelance on the side today, but my day job is draining me. I want to be completely self employed, but I feel like my portfolio isn't big enough to make the switch yet. Is there a way to speed up my business, or are there sources of capital that can keep me afloat until I'm supporting myself. My day job overworks and underpays me, and I'm looking for an escape route.

  • Hey Nathan,

    I you can gradually make a switch by practicing on improving your skills add making personal projects to add to your portfolio. Once you've got a decent amount of work that your happy with to feature then you can start sending out emails looking for freelance work or check out Craigslist.

  • I would also look at sites that hire freelancers, but you need to be prepared to get into a bidding war in some cases. I generally don't recommend these, but starting out they are a good option to consider.

  • Please let us know more about your skills, length of experience, and languages you're fluent in.

    As a start, I'd recommend making a business plan. Then decide which types of organizations (or individuals) can use your services. After this visit your library and look over several books on net working and cold calling. Your library will also have directories.

    You may also want to do work for your favorite nonprofit organization, church, synagogue, or mosque. This is is a good way to start collecting samples.

    Only after organizing your thoughts, post a web site. It's a good idea to have an outline (or even write it out) before you start constructing the website.

    Be sure to tell us more about yourself and keep us posted. Good luck!!

  • Libraries aren't just for research. Look into any and all meetings that may take place at your local branches. Even a seminar on what you can contribute can be helpful. But if you're planning on a seminar yourself where you sell your services, make sure to check to make sure this is okay. Some librarians will say "no" if they think you're selling something, items or services, on their property.

    Also, put a Facebook page in addition to the website; if people can follow you, they can find you and your work.

  • I worked side jobs while employed for "pin money," but that turned out to set the ground work for free-lancing. Take this time to learn about bookkeeping, time management and other business-related skills. Okay, you want to do web design. What else, if anything, do you enjoy doing? Sports, reading, biking, art, nature? Find and participate regularly in your interest groups. There's still truth in that it's "who you know." My skills are diverse and so are the groups I join: Association for Professional Genealogists, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Lansdowne Business and Professional Association, Rose Tree-Media Optimist Club. Some organizations/groups I dumped because I either didn't see any work/marketing opportunities coming out of them or they just weren't a good fit. Sometimes it takes a while for people to become comfortable with you or for others to see you as someone who fits their plan which is why it is important to "show your face in the place" regularly. Guess what? Even as a free-lancer there's a good chance that you will be over-worked and under paid, but at least you're doing something you enjoy and have some control over!

    Best of luck!

  • Nate, I just tried unsuccessfully to look at your website. Firefox wouldn't let me connect and said your site is improperly constructed and therefore insecure.

    If you'll make the appropriate changes, I'll be happy to try again.

  • Hey Nathan,

    I you can gradually make a switch by practicing on improving your skills add making personal projects to add to your portfolio. Once you've got a decent amount of work that your happy with to feature then you can start sending out emails looking for freelance work or check out Craigslist.

  • I would also look at sites that hire freelancers, but you need to be prepared to get into a bidding war in some cases. I generally don't recommend these, but starting out they are a good option to consider.

  • Please let us know more about your skills, length of experience, and languages you're fluent in.

    As a start, I'd recommend making a business plan. Then decide which types of organizations (or individuals) can use your services. After this visit your library and look over several books on net working and cold calling. Your library will also have directories.

    You may also want to do work for your favorite nonprofit organization, church, synagogue, or mosque. This is is a good way to start collecting samples.

    Only after organizing your thoughts, post a web site. It's a good idea to have an outline (or even write it out) before you start constructing the website.

    Be sure to tell us more about yourself and keep us posted. Good luck!!

  • Libraries aren't just for research. Look into any and all meetings that may take place at your local branches. Even a seminar on what you can contribute can be helpful. But if you're planning on a seminar yourself where you sell your services, make sure to check to make sure this is okay. Some librarians will say "no" if they think you're selling something, items or services, on their property.

    Also, put a Facebook page in addition to the website; if people can follow you, they can find you and your work.

  • I worked side jobs while employed for "pin money," but that turned out to set the ground work for free-lancing. Take this time to learn about bookkeeping, time management and other business-related skills. Okay, you want to do web design. What else, if anything, do you enjoy doing? Sports, reading, biking, art, nature? Find and participate regularly in your interest groups. There's still truth in that it's "who you know." My skills are diverse and so are the groups I join: Association for Professional Genealogists, Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, Lansdowne Business and Professional Association, Rose Tree-Media Optimist Club. Some organizations/groups I dumped because I either didn't see any work/marketing opportunities coming out of them or they just weren't a good fit. Sometimes it takes a while for people to become comfortable with you or for others to see you as someone who fits their plan which is why it is important to "show your face in the place" regularly. Guess what? Even as a free-lancer there's a good chance that you will be over-worked and under paid, but at least you're doing something you enjoy and have some control over!

    Best of luck!

  • Nate, I just tried unsuccessfully to look at your website. Firefox wouldn't let me connect and said your site is improperly constructed and therefore insecure.

    If you'll make the appropriate changes, I'll be happy to try again.