How to combine main work and freelancing

Quite often, psychologists in their articles recommend potential clients to abandon the factors that make life boring and monotonous. For example, when the main work becomes a routine, does not bring moral satisfaction (and the desired material reward), they advise changing or diversifying the type of activity.

No, they’re not calling for quitting “service” that brings a steady income and going “nowhere.” And only talk about the expediency of trying yourself in freelance, more precisely, to combine the main employment with the business that will allow you to realize from a professional point of view and bring additional income. And only when new horizons are mastered, say connoisseurs of human souls, you can safely cut off the ends and go on a free professional voyage.

The recommendation is useful. However, in practice, it is not so easy to combine the main work with part-time work. Not everyone is able to:

  • solve professional problems in double volume;
  • switch from one practice to another without compromising the result;
  • comply with deadline – the deadlines determined by the boss or customer for the implementation of a particular project.

Freelancers are free workers, only at first glance “happy people who work when they want, and do not adapt to anyone.” In practice, if a professional wants to have a stable income, he must make a “name” for himself, constantly expand the client base, communicate with customers, be able to profitably present and sell the fruits of his activities.

And if you have to combine part-time work with the main work, then there is even less time and effort to solve these problems. So is it possible to effectively combine, and how to work “part-time”?

Inform your supervisor

Quite often, the customer, completely satisfied with the result of cooperation with a freelancer, decides to invite him “on a salary”. After all, it is much more profitable to have, as they say, a ready-made specialist at hand than to hire him to perform each project. Having discovered a talent in a freelance worker, an enterprising businessman wants this talent to bring money to the company. After all, if the businessman himself paid for the freelancer’s service, then other entrepreneurs will also pay. And the income can already be sent to the account of the company.

For freelancers, this option is interesting because you will not need to look for orders every month. He is offered a salary – a stable income, which, regardless of the weather outside the window and fluctuations on stock exchanges, will “settle” in his pocket.

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Mutually beneficial cooperation, at first glance. But there is one “but” in this scheme. It is very important at the first stage of negotiations with a potential employer to determine the volume of orders that you will perform as part of your job duties. It is also worth warning the employer that in your free time from the main projects, you intend to continue working on freelancing. Clarify whether third-party projects will contradict the terms of the contract, discuss the schedule of employment at the main place of work.

And in the future, try to completely eliminate possible conflicts of interest. For example, a designer should not undertake the design of the site of direct competitors of the employer, as this is unethical in relation to his company and to potential customers.

The mentioned rules are suitable for those who are just planning to get a job. And for those who are already working and decided to try themselves in parallel in free creativity, there is a “package” of recommendations:

  • Clearly distinguish between the time of the main work and the management of your own orders. Do not stay overtime in the office, as in this case you will not have time to perform the amount of “your” work that you planned.
  • Discuss your work schedule with your main employer. If both of you are satisfied with remote cooperation, then this will save time on moving home-office-home, which means that there will be additional hours for day and project work. Everyone wins.
  • You can agree with the management to reduce the lunch break. If you have time to have a snack in 15 minutes, then you can limit yourself to a short pause. And the freed up time can be spent on work and finish the working day earlier than the rest of the employees.

It is best not to hide from the employer additional obligations that you have assumed outside of the main activity. In the end, you discussed the scope of the duties under the employment contract. And what you do in your free time is your personal business. Well, seeing the interest of customers in you, the employer will see in you a competitive, sought-after specialist.

Love what you do

Ideally, you need to love your job at the main job and no less you need to be interested, to be carried away by what you plan to earn in free spaces. In the context of combining project work with the main schedule, the love of what you do in freelance is even more important. After all, all free time, weekends, calendar holidays will now be devoted to project activities.

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The desire to develop, grow professionally, improve skills: without it it is impossible to successfully prove yourself in freelance activities, since the competition here is very high. The customer will immediately feel your potential, and to get an order, you need to really get carried away with a new project.

By the way, building up professional skills in freelancing will definitely help in the main activity. Management will definitely evaluate new skills, even if your work outside the office is not directly related to the main activity. For example, a marketer at the main place of work will need design skills acquired during the implementation of a private project. A programmer will be able to use professional knowledge in the field of SMM promotion. Love your work equally, and dividends in the form of a portfolio with successfully implemented projects will not be long in coming.

How to organize the process?

There have already been recommendations not to plunge headlong into freelancing, burning bridges at the place where they worked for many years. Organize your workflows correctly, it will help to successfully combine the two things.

Do not overestimate your strength and capabilities

If you are motivated to freelancing by the need for additional income, it is very important to objectively assess your strength. You need to take on exactly the amount of obligations that you are able to provide.

The main mistake of many novice freelancers is that they, blinded by the possibility of enrichment, gain more orders than they can fulfill by the agreed deadline. In a rush to have time for everything, many of these specialists focus on project work to the detriment of the main one. Both activities are affected.

  • Try to realistically assess your capabilities. To begin with, agree to a small additional project. This will allow you to practically calculate how much time it takes to perform certain amounts of work.
  • Control your appetite, and then, although it sounds rude, you can choke. Afraid of missing out? Negotiate flexible deadlines with the client. If he disagrees, then it’s not your client.
  • Don’t say no. It sounds much more spectacular: “My schedule does not allow you to take your project into work, if the deadlines are not changed. I don’t want the rush to hurt quality.” This will increase your reputation in the eyes of a potential customer, and he will be accommodating in matters of shifting deadlines.
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Manage your time wisely

Be sure to plan both works. Many freelancers talk about a “free” schedule, but they do not imply a refusal to make calendar plans, but the ability to build them “for yourself”. You can’t do without clear work planning. And it is very important to observe the built schedule. It is enough to skip one day and it will be difficult to implement the project by the specified date, since the next day you will have to perform twice the amount of work.

  • In the schedule, clearly prescribe what professional tasks you should solve by a particular time, and strictly adhere to it. Then you can do everything.
  • Don’t forget to consider the few hours of “reset” required to take a break from one activity and switch to another when planning.
  • Include short pauses in your schedule. It is better to prescribe them in advance, so as not to reproach yourself for drinking a mug of coffee and, conversely, not to slack off from work, justifying yourself with the need for a “smoke break”.

Stick to the plan. If it is compiled competently, you will have time to do everything.


For someone who takes on additional obligations in addition to the main work, difficult times are coming. You will have to work hard, perhaps forget about the weekend. You can not let down the company that provided the main place of work. Also, you can not disappoint the customer. Be mindful of the goals for which all this was started, and keep motivated. You will succeed!

What’s the takeaway from all of this?

Both freelancing in its pure form and combining the main work with parallel tasks is not suitable for everyone. In the absence of internal self-organization, it will be difficult for a specialist to perform external projects on time and qualitatively. It will not be easy to find yourself in freelance people who have not learned to “sell” themselves and their work, as you need to be able to clearly express your thoughts, demonstrate your advantages over competitors, defend the completed project.

For those who “grew” from the shell of the main sphere of employment, but are not ready to go into free swimming, experts recommend focusing on self-development. Learn new techniques, practice skills, learn.

This will bring positive results at the place of work, and even professional successes can become an impetus to try yourself in freelance activities, as self-confidence will be added. Good luck!


Written by Shubham

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