GUIDE • 3 mins

A Guide to Making the Switch from Full-time Employee to Freelancer

Publicist Team

In today’s digitally-driven era where you can hypothetically work remotely anywhere in the world and be your own boss, such a lifestyle has become the new “American Dream.” This dream is otherwise known as freelancing! If you’re like most, however, you’re probably still stuck in what’s known as the rat race. In other words, while freelancing might be your dream or goal, the 9-5 work life is still the pulse of your alarm clock each and every morning. While there’s certainly nothing inherently wrong with having a 9-5 career, it’s understandable to want to escape it and switch to a freelance-based career. Luckily, if this sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place! What follows is a guide to finally making the switch from full-time employee to freelancer… Let’s jump into it, shall we?!

Identify Your Expertise

It’s all fine and dandy to desire the freedom of a freelancing career, however, it all means nothing without a specific direction. In order to build a freelancing business, you need to first identify your expertise, whether it’s growth marketing, brand development, PR, creative, or otherwise; what skills do you possess and what are you going to offer your clients?

This answer is going to be different for everybody, and that’s okay! If you’re unsure of what your expertise might be, consider examining what you currently do for work, what you’re good at, and what you’re passionate about.

While this might require some soul searching and although it might not come to you right away, once you’ve claimed your expertise, it’s off to the races! Now all that’s left to do is take action.


Before deciding to make the ultimate decision to leave your job for a freelancing career, whether as a freelance social media manager, marketing freelancer, or otherwise, it’s important first to identify what type of freelance work you’re going to pursue; the last thing you want is no direction at all!


Define Your Worth

One of the perks of being your own boss is that you have the privilege of setting your own rates. While this might sound quite straightforward of a task, there are several things to consider before simply picking a number out of the sky…

Here are a few of the most important considerations that will help you transition smoothly when setting up the initial paywalls of your business: Do you want to be paid by the hour or by the project? Will you require payment in full or by milestone? Will you charge more or less than your competitors? What other upsells will you offer, if any?

Defining your worth doesn’t mean charging as much as you can or as little as you can to set yourself apart. Instead, it means making several calculated decisions and basing your rates honestly and in alignment with your skill and deliverables.

In the end, if you do it correctly, the end result will be a satisfied customer AND a satisfied self.

Ease into It

While it might be tempting to go all in right away, don’t! Instead, grow your freelance business slowly but surely by taking on one or two clients at a time while you continue to remain in your full-time position.

Not only will this ensure that you develop a reliable freelance business before quitting your current job but it will clarify whether or not it’s truly something you’re passionate about pursuing!

So, ease into it, and create a compelling routine that will allow you to both continue to be productive at work whilst still having the time and energy to build your freelance business on the side. Finally, don’t approach it with a rushed attitude but instead proceed with intention. The rest will fall into place as it should…

Don’t Forget About Taxes

Because freelancing does come with its cons, one of the most prominent being that of its unpredictable nature, it’s imperative that you get your finances in order, especially as someone who’s completely new to freelancing.

Apart from the obvious insurances that include savings and service fees, taxes are of the utmost importance when it comes to making the switch from a secure 9-5 to a temporarily turbulent but rewarding freelance career.

Why is it so important, you ask? Not only will you be tasked to handle them yourself but they differ greatly from being an employee, not to mention the obligations vary depending on a variety of factors.

To keep it simple, however, as a freelancer the bulk of your taxes will likely be made up of federal, state, and self-employment taxes. Do your due diligence and your wallet will thank you later…

Create Your Profile on Publicist!

Finally, if you’re confident enough in your skillset and you’re truly passionate about your pursuit, be sure to create your personal profile on Publicist as a means of having a professional portfolio; remember, the more entries the better!

What you’ll quickly learn is that without a professional portfolio that potential clients can conveniently access at their discretion, a lot of lost opportunities will, unfortunately, be the result.

Luckily, Publicist is a premium marketplace for all types of marketing, PR, and creative freelancers to host their portfolios, providing a one-stop-shop for businesses, brands, and organizations alike to find top-tiered talent like yourself.

Once you’ve identified your expertise, defined your worth, curated a compelling routine, sorted out the financials, and created your portfolio profile on Publicist, all that’s left to do is to take action and gradually make the switch!

Good luck!