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How To Transition From A Full-Time Job To A Freelancing Gig

If you’ve been freelancing for a while now and you’re ready to own it, then this is the piece to read. Or maybe you’ve continued with your 9-to-5 while freelancing on the side to test whether you could make a full-time income doing what you love.

Either way, if you want to grow your business beyond a side hustle, then keep reading to see how one woman made the transition… and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

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Motion picture producer and creative entrepreneurship consultant Sazi Mbalekwa started her career as a production assistant before becoming a content producer. When things got monotonous, she decided to venture into freelancing. Here’s her journey.

What makes freelance work so alluring?

“I wanted to work with a variety of people and companies, and just be more in control of my time… I didn’t want to limit myself to just working at one production company,” explains Sazi.

How to register your business as a freelancer

Registering your business is simple. These are the steps to follow:

1/ Go on to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) Company Registration website. It will guide you on how to register a business.

2/ Next, you need to reserve a name for your business. (Note: You may have to fill in three different name options, just in case your first choice is taken already.) There is a cost involved in registering a business.

3/ Once you have your company name, you’ll need to pay an annual fee to keep that name reserved for you and keep your business active.

The lessons freelancing has taught Sazi

1/ You’ll need to brush up on your admin skills. Admin is the foundation of your business – you need to be able to track everything.

2/ You’ll need a good understanding of your financial statements because these will determine how you apply for funding. Maintain good financial records. And if you’re just super-bad at admin? “If you have enough money to hire someone to be in charge of it, I highly recommend that you do that,” says Sazi.

3/ As a freelancer, you need to be resilient. “I’ve had months of not getting producing gigs, which has resulted in me finding other ways to generate an income,” she says.

4/ See where you can monetise your other skills. “I’ve discovered certain skills that aren’t necessarily linked to my producing and motion picture work.”

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5/ “As a freelancer, you are completely on your own as opposed to when you work nine to five… You are the legal team, admin team, legal department and finance team. You have to know a little bit about everything.”

6/ “When you have new clients, you need to send the client some sort of contract, so they are liable to pay you.”

7/ Good to note: with nine to five jobs, you’re generally subsidised in terms of medical aid, provident and pension fund, but as an entrepreneur or freelancer, you’re on your own.

Why it may be a good idea to shift into freelancing during COVID-19

According to Sazi, it’s a good time to start looking at new money-making avenues. “This is a good time to look at what you can do outside of your nine-to-five [because] the normal business model is changing,” she says.

People who are putting in the work and finding creative ways to earn are going to thrive during this time, she believes. “I’m a big advocate for not working in the office every day, seeing the same people, doing the same thing… If you want financial freedom and liberation, then freelancing is an enjoyable path, but you have to put in the work.”

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Sacrifice is part of freelancing

With any decision, there are pros and cons. The same applies to freelance work – you must be willing to make sacrifices. “Unfortunately, when it comes to freelancing, there’s a lot of instability, but the more you work, the more stable your income becomes and things become easier,” says Sazi.

So if you’re in a situation where you don’t have financial dependents, give freelancing a chance, but be realistic about your situation. If you see yourself as a future entrepreneur, freelancing is a good step to take now… “because you are, in essence, the business owner, and sometimes the only employee in the business. You are the business.”

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Head on over to my IGTV for the second video of my Creative Entrepreneurship series. NEGOTIATING YOUR TIME Freelancing full time is not for all of us, a stable income and job security is important to most. However, it’s possible to have your bread buttered on both sides. 😉 In this video I speak about the two points you need to consider when negotiating with your employer to let you work from home on certain days of the week. Having 1 or 2 days to ‘work form home’ will free up some of your time in order for you to focus on your freelance endeavors or side hustle. This is the strategy I used when I still needed the stability and income of a full time job but also wanted to slowly ease my way into freelancing on the side. Enjoy

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