Rules for Moonlighting as a Freelancer

So many designers I talk to are working for a company while freelancing on the side when projects come along. But for more and more of you, the goal is to build a freelance business and transition to full time freelance, whether you jump or are pushed first.

So in a recent podcast interview ( I asked Dana Manciagli, one of the speakers at CFC 2013 (this June 22-24 in San Francisco) and a 30+ year corporate veteran (who also built a freelance business as a speaker/author on the side), if it’s possible to have a full-time job AND be building a successful freelance business.

She responded with a resounding YES (she did it!) and outlined a few important rules to follow if you want to do it right:

  1. Never use company resources or time for your moonlighting.
  2. If there is a company moonlighting policy, review it and meet with a legal officer or chief operating officer to check that your moonlighting activities would conflict.
  3. Use precautions when engaging in social media for your freelance business. Learn the privacy settings on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Safest rule: Don’t tell your Facebook friends or your LinkedIn connections that you’re moonlighting. Don’t tweet about your moonlighting either. Even if your boss doesn’t follow your updates, someone else may and the word that you’re moonlighting could get back.  Here is an article about job-searching confidentially, which has some good tips for freelancers, too,
  4. If what you’re doing wouldn’t be viewed favorably, don’t tell anyone at the office. There is no such thing as a secret.

Check out Dana’s web site ( and YouTube channel ( for more tips on this topic as she prepares to launch her book, Cut The Crap, Get a Job! A New Job Search Process for a New Era.

What about you? Are there other rules you are finding it necessary to follow? Or is freelancing on the side what everyone does?

Join us at CFC June 22-24 in SF! Get $100 off (CFC only) if you combine promo code “ILISE” + Early Bird rate before March 15. Register here