How To Leave Your 9-5 And Become a Freelancer

You are here because of two reasons: 

  • You’re tired of your 9-5, and you want to go freelance immediately.
  • Or, you’ve heard one or two things about freelancing, and it sounds like fun. Now you are set to try it out.

Either way, you are in the right place! 

Imagine waking up during YOUR time of the day to resume work… or being able to control YOUR work life, time, and clients. 

Yes, it sounds appealing. And this is the life freelancing offers: FREEDOM.

Transitioning from 9-5 to go freelance is a fantastic idea. Studies reveal that 45% of people who tried remote work decided to remain remote. Most graphic designers, writers, programmers, and other industry professionals are waving their office positions goodbye to embrace freelancing. This is because freelancing gives you the work freedom you earnestly desire. Many thanks to the internet, you can choose your clients and work projects, anywhere and anytime. In this article, we highlighted five steps to help you start your freelance career. 

  • Have a genuine reason

Freelancing comes with a lot of benefits. But like every other business, it has its disadvantages. For instance, unlike 9-5, you don’t get benefits such as paid leave, insurance coverages, etc. It’s not advisable to leave your job because your boss keeps throwing temper tantrums. Or because your new colleague is rude to you.

Deciding to go freelance is much easier when you have little or no responsibilities. For a student who is looking to freelance, the decision can be to get extra funds. But if you have a family, transitioning can cause a dent in your finances, leaving your family off the hook.

Before you leave your 9-5 job, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Why am I going freelance? 
  2. Do I have enough clients to begin with? 
  3. What are my long and short-term goals?
  • Research on your next steps

Micheal, a former 9-5 worker, shared his experience about going freelance, 

I read many materials on the internet, and I made connections with other developers on Twitter and LinkedIn. I wouldn’t have been able to succeed at transitioning without effective research.”

Today, Google makes it easier to learn access helpful resources in any field. All you need—blogs, eBooks, books, etc— to advance your career as a freelancer is on the internet. 

You need to research on:

  1. Your skills: 

What services will you be offering your clients? What skills are needed to succeed in your chosen career or field? You need to affirm these questions before going freelance. 

  1. Your clients: 

Not everyone needs your services. Most expert freelancers prefer to specialize in a particular niche to reduce the competition rate. When you understand who your clients are, it will be easier to find them and pitch your services. 

  1. Your working rate: 

As a beginner, you might have to reduce your rates to get a few clients. But you can research your industry to know the average salary rate.

  1. Your obstacles: 

Familiarize yourself with the common pitfalls faced by other freelancers, and think of ways to avoid them in your freelance career. 

  1. Your competition: 

How competitive is your industry or niche? If it’s over-saturated, you should consider learning high-income skills which are less saturated. Also when doing your research, It’s better to have the results written out. 

  • Make plans

With your concluded research, make plans which will help you transition successfully. You can start with short-term goals. For instance, you can decide to earn a minimum of $1000 for the first three months. Breaking your goals into milestones makes them easily achievable. If you have a plan in place, transitioning will be easier.

Understand that as a freelancer, you have to market your skills. You will need to replace low-paying clients with high-paying ones. And most importantly, clients that value your services. You should also have a strategy to get new clients.

  • Start freelancing as a side hustle

Before you go freelance completely, start freelancing as a side hustle. Tell people in your network about the skills and services you offer. Start networking with other new freelancers in your niche. Pitch your services to clients via marketplaces, social media, or your website. This way, you will be fully prepared when you finally transition to a  full-time freelancer. Also, it will be easier to know if you’ll thrive in the freelance industry or not. 

If you don’t have any skills, now is the best time to develop your skills. Build skills that are relevant for your industry.

  • Have an emergency fund

Before you transition into freelancing, you need to have an emergency fund. This is because there are times when invoicing will be late. To avoid a financial crisis, you need to save funds for the future. Setting up emergency funds for your new career will require you to cut off expenses. You have to trim your monthly budget to essentials only. You can reduce extra costs such as gas, new accessories or gadgets, etc.

This fund should cover your basic expenses, plus other costs that your new career will require. 

Calculate all these expenses and start saving up for them. You can save up for the next 3-6 months, depending on your industry. If you have a family, you can save for six to twelve months worth of expenses.

  • Get a Mentor/Coach

By getting a mentor or a coach, you are saving yourself from heartaches and mistakes. Going into freelancing requires skills and knowledge about the freelance industry, you need a mentor to guide you, so you don’t make mistakes. Your Mentor/Coach should be someone who has enough experience in your new career. 


Going freelance is a great idea. You can consider the steps we shared above to help you through the way. Did you leave your 9-5 to go freelance? Share your experiences in the comments section below.


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