First off, congratulations! Congratulations on deciding to take the leap from a comfortable full-time position to the wild world of freelance. While you may be a bit unnerved right now, it’ll soon be okay. This post is meant to help you put the past behind you and begin rocking it in the world of freelance. Let’s get started.

Don’t Burn Your Bridges (Or Do)

As a general rule, don’t burn your bridges. This is especially important if you’ll be freelancing in the same industry when you worked for someone else. Reason being, you may want to keep your connections and reputation intact. Plus, quitting in a dramatic fashion really doesn’t have any upsides. It may feel good for a few minutes or hours but there’s no need to make others feel bad and leave the office in “style”.

When I left my full-time job in finance, I made sure to tell people one by one. I emphasized that it’s not because I didn’t like it where I was at. Rather, I wanted to go after something else. There’s no need to say negative things. Remember, your colleagues will still be working for someone else in the company you would be disparaging.

Although I read a book once where the author cited his friend. He said his friend was taking the leap into self-employment. This friend actually made it a point to burn every bridge with his company that he could. He told everyone off with gusto. He said he had to do this. Otherwise, he would chicken out and come groveling back, begging for his old job. He did this so they wouldn’t allow him to come back. His only obvious choice would be to succeed at freelance.

There’s No Break

I left my day job at mid-day. I’m guessing the company did this to keep its ex-employees from getting drinks with former colleagues after work. That could lead to a mass exodus. Once I got home, I went straight to work. If you truly want to succeed as a freelancer, you need to be serious. Only take advantage of working for yourself when it’s really fun to do so. There will be difficulties starting out but don’t give up. Learn to overcome the difficulties and keep pushing on. No one would be able to climb a mountain if the sides were smooth.

Keep a Routine

When I started freelancing, I thought it was awesome to be out of a stuffy office routine. I wore sandals, I didn’t keep a regular schedule, I didn’t even keep regular meals. But over time, I moved back to my former ways. After all, there’s a reason why people put shoes on to go to work. How we present ourselves on the outside is how we feel on the inside. Every freelancer I know agrees. Make yourself presentable. Though don’t overwork yourself. Make it a point to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Focus on the Main Goal

It’s easy to be busy. I could throw all of my loose change on the ground and spend the next thirty minutes sorting the coins by mint date. As you can see, just because something takes time doesn’t mean it’s worth your time. Realize that spending hours picking the font for your business card is not worthy of your time. Focus on your number one priority. Why are you freelancing? What service are you offering? Make sure you’re serving as many people as possible. As long as you’re giving people what they want, you’ll get what you want.

Plus, don’t you want to focus on your main goal? After all, you’re so good at it you had the confidence to decide to quit your job. So go after it! Furthermore, it won’t be long before you have enough money to bring on help. Consider hiring a virtual assistant for things like social media management, blog writing, graphic design, email handling, new customer acquisition, etc. I listened to a lecture by one of the highest paid recruiters in the country. She realized that if she would only focus on recruiting, she could get paid I think it was $400 per hour. If anything came across her desk that wasn’t $400 per hour work, she passed it along to her assistant. You may want to do the same. Further suggestions on not getting distracted can be found here.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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