The new business world is made up of creating your own path. Sitting at the same desk for over forty hours a week just won't cut it. As full-time work becomes even more challenging to secure, more and more people are tempted by the prospect of earning their income with freelance gigs. However, while this choice offers a certain level of flexibility and freedom, there are pitfalls, not the least of which is income uncertainty. This guide will help you build an income out of freelance gigs instead of relying on long-term employment.

Start With Gigs on the Side

Earning income through gigs can be uncertain, so it is best to avoid a massive financial risk by quitting your day job straight away. It is a good idea to start by working on gigs around your current day job and save up a safety net of funds such as four months expenses before you make the jump to full-time gig work. This financial safety net will allow you to get a head start on your new gig career.

In your spare time, you can start researching gigs and freelance opportunities. Starting to work on gigs on the side will allow you to start building up a client base, while feeling financially secure.

Just remember: There's no such thing as a perfect gig, so you may need to be prepared to take on paying jobs you may not like. However, you will gain valuable experience managing client expectations. You will also be able to build your portfolio and showcase your abilities while you make the transition to a freelancing full-time.

Pick an Expertise

While some people make a full-time income choosing gigs across multiple disciplines, this can result in a very hectic and stressful lifestyle. Choosing just one or two areas of expertise will allow you to specialize and command higher prices. Go after what you feel most passionate about and offer that. Specializing can also allow you to stand out from the crowd in a smaller marketplace.

Set Your Goals

When building a full-time career, one of the most important steps is knowing where you currently are and where you actually want to be. Many people feel a little daunted by the prospect of goal setting, but at the very least determine an amount of money you want to make each month. When you don't have a paycheck coming in like clockwork, you need to know how much you must earn to survive and thrive. Your goal setting can also include professional and personal goals, but you need to have confidence that you can cover all your financial obligations.

If you set an annual income, this will allow you to calculate an effective hourly rate. For example, if your financial goal is $60,000 a year, you will need to divide it by how many business days there are in the year. This figure is approximately 250, but it will vary year on year. If there are 250 business days, this will work out at needing to make $240 a day. Divide this by eight to determine your hourly rate on a typical day, which would work out at $30. This calculation does not mean that you would actually charge $30 per hour for each project, but it does offer an appropriate goal.

Learn the Details of Running a Business

When you begin working on gigs, you will need to realize that you are operating a business, first and foremost. You should be prepared to invest in promotional materials, file freelance tax returns and negotiate your own contracts. You will need to be prepared to market yourself and network in your niche.

To effectively run a successful business, you will need to track your habits, and you may need to make subtle changes. You may find that checking social media or answering emails is compromising your productivity, so you will need to schedule your time properly. While there are some who make money by dabbling in gigs, if you want to be taken seriously, you will need to take your work seriously.

Published on: Dec 22, 2015