How do I get started as a freelancer?

Well, if you are an impatient and adventurous type, you could throw caution to the wind, quit your job and just get stuck in to it. Who knows, it could work out for you! However, a great many people take a slower but virtually risk-free route to self-employment. Provided it’s permitted in your contract of employment, there’s nothing to stop you starting out by fitting smaller freelance projects in around your day job. 

Freelancing in your spare time – during evenings, weekends, annual leave, etc. – is an ideal way to ease yourself in to a new career, and there’s no better way to find out if self-employment is going to work for you. All the time you’re building contacts, growing a reputation, putting down a portfolio… and earning some extra cash! If you’re close to making the transition, you may be able to take it a step further and go down to part-time in your current job so you can say yes to bigger freelance projects.

If you are planning to run your business from home, you could even apply to your boss to let you do regular remote working. You’d still be doing your normal work, but you’d soon find out if you’re cut out for working long stretches by yourself on a permanent basis. (More on the pros and cons of remote working.)