How to Turn Your Freelance Gig Into a Career

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If you've gotten a freelance job or two and love managing your own time and work, you may wonder how you can take this side gig and turn it into your full-time career.

Theoretically, there's no limit to what you can earn when you work for yourself. The more you work, the more you can make because you're not capped by what your boss puts on your paycheck.

Ready to make the leap? Here's how you can take action to turn your freelance gig into your new career.

Make Sure Your Work Is Sustainable

The most important thing to consider before quitting your day job and freelancing full time? Is your freelance work sustainable over the long haul.

Three good months is a lot easier to put together than three good years. Make sure you freelance for long enough to see if your work is seasonal. Are there slow and busy periods? If so, you need to financially plan for lulls in income when work is slower.

Keeping your freelance work as a gig on the side also allows you to make sure the work you do isn't based on trends or fads that will quickly fade. Try to freelance and work your day job for at least one year so you can get a sense for the sustainability of your freelance life.

Build a Network

Word of mouth is a powerful tool for new freelancers. Before you switch to full-time self-employment, spend time building a network of professionals who might need your services or could refer you to someone who does.

Consider joining a local networking group like BNI (Business Networking International). You can also network online and make industry connections via social media.

Connect with one of the many online communities that exist for freelancers. These are great resources for leads, support, and advice from other freelancers. The Being Boss Facebook group is a good example.

Promote Yourself

You need to do more than just connect with people and grow your network. You also need to build your own platform and then promote your work.

Set up a website and showcase your skills through a blog or portfolio. Get on social media and share your work. Reach out to other websites, blogs, and podcasts and see if you can guest post or get an interview on their show.

Don't be afraid to cold email brands and people who might need what you offer. Be polite and never pushy. You want to invite them to learn more about you, not nag them about investing in your work.

Make sure people know about what you do and tell them about the value you provide. If people don't know you're now a full-time freelancer looking for work, they can't send people your way. When they know about you and what you do, it's easy for others to make referrals and keep your pipeline of prospective projects full.