Making the transition from a full-time day job to full-time freelance can be a scary thought.
I mean, for a lot of us that's the ultimate goal though, right? That's why we started this side hustle. To eventually turn it into something more. To eventually earn enough money to replace our existing income. And in the process have more time, freedom, and flexibility.
But how do you get there?
The truth is, everyone story will be different. Some people might have the financial stability to quit cold-turkey and hope for the best. Others will need to moonlight and side hustle for months, or even years, before they're ready.
This approach is commonly known as the Chicken Entrepreneur strategy.
It means keeping your day job until you're ready to make the leap.
And in my opinion, that's the safest and smartest way to transition from full-time day job to full-time freelance.
Make the transition when you're "ready"
The first thing you need to do is define what it means to be "ready." Again, this is going to be different for everyone. But you need some concrete ideas in place so that you know when it's time to make the transition.
As most of you know, I'm still in the chicken entrepreneur stage. I haven't met all of the criteria for what my "being ready" means. Here are some of the things that I would like to accomplish before taking my writing biz full-time:
Pay off my student loan debt
Consistently meet or exceed my current monthly income
Have 3 months of living expenses saved up
Have a steady stream of client work
Keep my day job until first baby is born
Remember, this is my story. Yours doesn't have to look the same! Because even though we might have the same "destination" in mind... we can take different roads to get there.
Right now, I've already met three of my five criteria.
Consistently meet or exceed my current monthly income. I'm making $3k-$5k with my writing business. I make just over $3k from my day job.
Have three months of living expenses saved up. As a freelancer, there are going to be times when you don't make as much money as you'd hoped that month. The work isn't always steady, and so you might have to dip into your savings every once in a while. I want a three month cushion in case that happens. Technically I already have this, but it's not "stashed away" just for that purpose. I plan on keeping my day job for at least another year. So I am flexible with my savings fund for now.
Have a steady stream of client work. Right now, I have enough clients to keep me busy. I consider my writing workload to be "full." It's tough to balance this while still working a day job. But I don't want to overload myself too much. I'm happy with the amount of work coming in.
The two criteria I have left on my list is to 1) pay off my student loans, and 2) keep my day job until first baby is born. Right now, it's just my husband and me (and our two dogs of course!). There isn't a huge "rush" for me to quit my day job. I'd rather keep working. There are a few reasons for that:
I recently took on a new job, and I am enjoying it much more than my last one. I'm happy there.
The income from my day-job will help me reach my goals faster.
My husband and I are currently on my health insurance plan. We have to be strategic about when and how we come off from that.
When it comes time for us to have a baby, I'll be able to use three months of paid maternity leave.
As you can see, there are a number of factors at play here. But this is what it means to be "ready" for me. Everyone's story will be different.
What does being ready look like for you? That's what you need to ask yourself in order to prepare for making the transition from full-time day job to full-time freelance.