Freelancing 102: Balancing Two Jobs

Continuing this week’s series on going from F/T to F/T freelancing (and beyond), here are our lovely two CFC veterans on how to balance two jobs before you make the leap:

Heather ParlatoFrom Heather Parlato of Parlato Design Studio: I wouldn’t even consider trying to balance freelance work at a truly demanding job with long hours or no downtime. If transitioning to freelance is a big priority, but you’re at an agency that runs around the clock, I would seriously consider finding a job with a workable schedule, so you have both the time and mental energy to balance two schedules.

Though it may be tempting, don’t do anything to jeopardize your job by working on side projects at work if it’s frowned upon—you never know, they may be your next client! The trick to balance is getting to know yourself and how you work. Maybe you can get a little extra correspondence in before your workday, and then give yourself a couple hours of work after dinner, keeping in touch as needed through the day.

The other trick to freelancing in general is that you have to have a get-it-done attitude about work. Making the schedule is one thing, but you have to want to do it every day in order for it to work out. Many employed friends have said “I don’t think freelancing would work for me—I’d never work if I was at home without a boss,” which is funny to me, because if you choose something you love doing and you don’t have a boss, why wouldn’t you jump out of bed every day and get to it!?

Alisa BonsignoreFrom Alisa Bonsignore of Clarifying Complex Ideas: That can get ugly, and honestly, I don’t know that I could have done it now that I have a young kid. It’s long hours and merciless schedules, and kids don’t exactly tolerate Mommy being preoccupied with the computer. And don’t think that you can get anything done while they’re in the house. People assume that “working from home” means “working at home with the kiddo.” I’d be out of work if I did that. I can’t get anything done when he’s here, and frankly I’d rather have him in day care/preschool while I work so that I can give him my undivided attention when he’s at home.

If you’re thinking of going from full-time to freelance, the Creative Freelancer Conference (June 23-24, 2011 in Chicago) is the best place to get started.  (Early bird deadline is April 1st. Register now (or soon).

2 thoughts on “Freelancing 102: Balancing Two Jobs

  1. Eddie Garrison

    Nice post on something I am currently doing myself. I have the “normal 8-5 job; though I work 7:30 – 4:30, then I go to my home office and work on my graphic design business for at least 4-6 hours a night.

    I just started my business in May of last year so I am relatively new to the “dual threat” jobs that I have leapt into. Working 14 – 18 hour days at times does become taxing but I have never let it affect either my “real” job or my own business at anytime.

    I actually do all of my 8-5 job’s advertising and graphic design items so it makes it quite nice for both of us. They get to keep it somewhat “in house” and I get to build a relationship with them into the future. They also know I am working towards leaving them at some point in the future so it is nice to know they will be using me far after I am just doing graphic design.