The gig economy is on the rise, so independent work arrangements are rapidly growing in popularity. Self-employment often provides talented experts with freedom, flexibility, and — ironically — more stability than a full-time arrangement with a single company. If you're ready to begin freelancing (or running your own business) but aren't quite ready to give up your full-time job, we have good news: Doing both at the same time is easier than you might expect. Consider taking some exploratory steps into freelancing while keeping one foot planted in full time employment. As you do so, keep these tips in mind.
First, check your contract
Review the fine print you were handed on day one of your full time job (if you don't have your contract or agreement anymore, ask HR for a copy). Make sure your freelancing activities won't violate any of the terms you've agreed to. And then re-evaluate your relationship with your employer; if your freelance gigs don't hurt your employer, they shouldn't be a problem. Otherwise, consider asking to change the terms — or searching for a new employer that will allow you to make your own decisions about what you do with your personal time.
Keep your freelance work private
If your contract doesn't forbid you to do so, simply get to work. Start taking on freelance jobs and handling them when you're off the clock (and away from the building). You have no obligation to share or discuss your activities with your employer. Your freelancing gigs are your own business, and you have every right to keep your personal life classified.
Don't use company money, email, or resources
Company supplies and resources — including your company email account and phone — are off limits for freelancing gigs. Use your personal account and personal phone, and don't take calls or answer messages while you're on the clock at your full-time job. By setting this boundary, you accomplish two things: you show respect for your employer and you prevent potential confusion for yourself.
Don't stretch yourself too thin
If you're giving 100% at work, keep giving 100%. Stay present and focused while you're on the job. Most of us are not designed to work our hardest all day only to clock out and repeat the efforts at home.. At some point, something has to give. And if your performance at work starts to slip, your boss will probably notice before you do. When you hit your limit and you have to make a tough choice and cut back on one gig or the other, choose carefully.
For more on how to make the most of your time and talents by working for yourself, your freelance clients, or your full time employer, use the tips and resume-building resources at MyPerfectResume.