There are plenty of cases when people go to a popular training where the coaches take money for motivational induction of the “you can do it; just do it” kind, and then try to change their lives, but are very disappointed as a result and suffer from prolonged depression.
At first, after such pumping up with false positive attitudes, some people become very rude to their bosses, bang down their resignation letters and go “freewheeling.” Then they find out that they are not really very good at doing business and that the reality does not have much in common with the rosy pictures painted by the fancy of motivational coaches.
In reality it turns out that products don’t sell as well as expected, that clients are hard to find and even harder to keep, that you now spend more time and effort than at your previous job and that your income has gone down. What follows is a period of floundering and trying to find a solution. After that you try to get back on the job market.
That is why, if you have really decided to build your own business, learn a new profession or go freelance, you have to get your base ready.
First of all, this means saving money. You need to create a financial security cushion for at least a half a year to a year, so that you don’t have to waste time and energy worrying about money.
Another way (if you are pregnant, for example) is to have a clear agreement with your husband that he will support you for the next year or two without expecting you to go to work.
If you have a security cushion or your husband’s financial support, you will work on things that are truly important to your business and not try to find money to pay for groceries. Then you will achieve significant results much faster.
Before quitting your regular job, it makes sense to test your hypothesis. Make sure that what you are planning to do as a freelancer is in demand and is adequately paid for.
You will have to give up the social media, TV series, or whatever other entertainment you spend your time on and spend it instead on checking whether your expectations match reality and whether what you plan to do is profitable.
Try to take orders in the time you have freed up; even if the first three or five of them don’t bring much or simply bring you good reviews. You need to figure out what the process is like, how much time and energy it takes.
What else would be a good thing to do before resigning your job? While at work, optimize your time and spend the time you have freed up on honing the skills and knowledge you will need in the future. This will allow you to be more effective both in your job and as a freelancer .
There is a universal set of skills that practically everyone needs:
1. The ability to write cohesive, grammatically correct texts. This skill is important in any type of business in order to create the image of an expert and to promote your company. This skill is useful everywhere: in writing posts in social media, in business correspondence, in writing articles for your website or to be published in magazines .
2. The ability to speak in front of an audience. This is the skill you’ll need to do online presentations and to speak at conferences.
3. Teaching skills, the ability to train people. Promoting your products or services by using webinars that train people costs you nothing and creates a stream of clients who trust you since you have already taught them something. You will also have to train your employees.
4. Negotiations, the ability to convince people one-on-one. This is a skill you need both in your job when dealing with your boss or with colleagues and in freelancing when you deal with clients, employees or partners.
5. The ability to write exciting and interesting posts in social media, to find clients and partners that way.
If you haven’t mastered all of these skills, its makes sense to acquire them in advance, regardless of whether you go into freelancing or stay on at your job.
Another important point is that if you are planning to start your own business, it would make sense to get a job at a similar place for at least a month.
This is so that you can see from the inside how things work in real life, where the clients come from, how the work flow is organized, etc. Such experience will help you save time and other resources later on. You will not have to make silly mistakes; you’ll be able to do things the right way from the start.
So how can you actually believe in yourself and start freelancing?
First of all you need to realize that you have nothing to lose. If freelancing works out for you – great! If it doesn’t work out – it is not the end of the world. That is because in that six months to a year you will work on all your key skills as you never would have done staying at your old job.
Your market value as a professional will rise in that period of time because now you can do things that you could not do before. So with your new skills, you will be a much more valuable and useful employee at any job.
It is important to leave your job without slamming the door shut or leaving bad feelings behind; on the contrary, you should leave very politely and ethically, expressing your thanks as much as you can and explaining that you have no complaints, that you simply want to try your hand at doing something else and that you will be happy to come back if it doesn’t work out.
One of my clients, who was very much afraid of going freelance, had the most successful transition. Her company suddenly closed, but she was lucky – they were all paid their salaries for several months in advance. That amount served as her security cushion. The client was invited to join another company in a similar position right away. She doubted and worried, but in the end, she decided to take the chance and to go full tilt for her dream occupation.
Now, that woman works very successfully and much less than before. She does not have to get up early and drive to the office and she earns significantly more than in her previous job. She is happy – the dream job that brings in a lot of money is an ideal way for her. If she does decide to look for a new job, she is sure to find a similar position and salary.
If you are not likely to have a chance like my client did, try to use your vacation to get the experience you need. You can also try asking for unpaid leave, if you can, without, of course, advertising why you really need it – you can cite family reasons. Try out the new business without losing your old job.
If you do you preparations well, doing all of the above and you have the financial security cushion, the necessary skills, initial orders, clients and reviews, and if you learn to promote your services on social media, your confidence will grow and the transition to freelance will be much more comfortable psychologically.
You can always go back to your old job or to a similar one in another company. Meanwhile, make real the chance to build the life of your dreams.