There’s nothing quite as frustrating as wanting to quit your job, but not being financially secure enough to do it. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait it out until you save enough money to jump ship. In fact, there’s a way to quit your job and turn it into a killer contract gig so that you can still make money while you plot your next move.
Levo spoke to experts as well as folks who have managed to make this strategic jump from full-time to the freedom of freelance, and with a bit of finesse, making a smooth transition from full-time to freelance at your company is totally possible. Here’s how to do it.
Don’t be spontaneous
Flying by the seat of your pants is not the best option here. “Have a plan,” David Arnold, who runs the executive search firm Arnold Partner, LLC, told Levo. “[Don’t] do it recklessly or spontaneously.”
Arnold suggests digging up hard evidence of how you’ve helped the company, such as documenting money you’ve saved the company, processes you’ve improved, or time you’ve saved. “Any of these are value creators,” he added.
Do some soul-searching
Be honest with yourself—are you what your company is looking for in a freelance employee?
“Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager who is looking for a contractor and make a list of what you would pay for, how much, what skills and experience, results you would hire,” said Dr. Tracey Wilen, author of Employed For Life: 21st Century Career Trends. “Then assess: is this you?
If you’re missing some key components, work on them before you pull the trigger on your contract gig, Wilen said.
Use your skill-sets—even if they’re unrelated to your last job
Rachel Levitt used to work at an ice cream shop, but she decided she didn’t want to come back as a server. “I had been finishing up an unrelated internship doing graphic design, so I suggested that I could offer my services in that way to help [the ice cream shop] build its online presence,” Levitt told Levo.
Use successful projects as leverage
When writer and editor Erika Smith decided to move publications, she continued her work on a freelance basis with her last job to continue regular columns she had been working on.
“I had a set number of articles to publish per week, including several regular posts/”columns” that I’d been writing for them for a while, as well as some social media work, and I would come into the office for meetings around once a month,” Smith told Levo.
Talk to your boss
Communication is key here, said Wilen.
“If you are dead-set on leaving to be a freelancer, it may be worth discussing it with your manager before you quit, depending on the relationship, and s/he might be fine with the transition due to unknown factor such as cutbacks, budget restrictions,” Wilen told Levo.
But have a plan ready to show your employer, Arnold said. “Approach your boss with your plan to transition by showing [them] your value creation and devotion to the job/company and your desire to stay on as a contractor,” he said.