Rob Palmer I have been blogging and living the digital nomad lifestyle since 1999. I help people create an online income so they can go anywhere, do anything and be anyone.

Going Solo: 9 Tips to Navigate the Transition to Full-Time Freelancing

4 min read

Freelancing can be a great career, but you need a plan to help you make it from full-time employee to full-time freelancer.

What You Will Learn

  • How to make a smooth transition from full-time job to full-time freelancer 
  • Apps you can use to help you work more efficiently
  • Tips and advice on becoming a successful freelancer

The Freelance Plan

The rise of the solopreneur – essentially an entrepreneur who prefers to remain solo, with no intention of employing a large staff – presents a model for a new way of life for lots of people.

Witnessing the freedom that solopreneurs create for themselves, from setting their own hours to being choosy about the projects they take on, is enticing to just about everyone. Freedom to travel, freedom to pursue passions, freedom from long commutes: These are just a few of the perks.

But there are risks. Going out on your own means you are solely responsible for your own health and economic well-being. There is no guaranteed paycheck from someone else’s company at the end of the week.

This can seem scary and risky, but there are plenty of success stories to emulate. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into solopreneurship, here are a few pointers to get you started down a solid path.

Getting Ready: Preparing to Become Your Own Boss

Before you make the big leap, you need to prepare. Here are some important matters to pay attention to:

Get Your Bills in Order

To have any chance at being successful, you need a solid foundation. So before you give up that day job, make sure you take the time to pay off debt and get your monthly bills under control — the fewer the better.

If you can rein in spending and create a realistic monthly budget, you can then set out on your own to bring in enough income to comfortably cover these expenses.

One way to get started might be to consolidate your debt into one low-interest credit card. There are plenty of resources online to help you find the card that’s right for you.

Have a Backup Plan

Just like Wile E. Coyote, you should always have a Plan B. One way to lessen your stress while you get your business up and running is to have some savings to fall back on, just in case you encounter a rough start.

Have some money saved to help you in slow times.

Before you give up your steady paycheck from the company, make sure you build up some cash reserves to cover expenses during any lean times.

One easy and painless way is to use an app that uses rounding up to help you save. Each time you spend, your purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar. Set it up once and forget about it; the next time you check, you’ll be shocked at how fast you’ll build your reserves.

Nail Down Legal Requirements

Consult with a lawyer about which type of business structure you should set up for the most protection. Depending on the type of work you are doing, there are structures to help you protect your assets.

Just like Wile E. Coyote, you should always have a Plan B. One way to lessen your stress while you get your business up and running is to have some savings to fall back on, just in case you encounter a rough start.

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Also, if you are selling your own creations, you’ll want to make use of copyrights, trademarks, and fair use laws.

Understand Taxes

One of the biggest gotchas for solopreneurs can be taxes. You must understand that once you go solo, you will have to cover extra taxes. Make sure you are disciplined and set aside money from each gig to pay your taxes. Otherwise, you’ll be facing a huge bill, plus potential penalties and fines, at the end of the year

Costs to Consider When Going Solo

As a freelancer, you will incur certain costs. Make sure you are aware of all your upcoming expenses and prepared for them.

Track Your Expenses

As a solopreneur, you’ll need to keep track of expenses for tax deductions. This is one area where an app can be a huge help, allowing you to track your mileage and other expenses in real time. Some even provide links to tax prep software.

Then you won’t have to sift through mounds of tiny pieces of paper come tax time; just upload your data, and all your expenses will be tallied.

Pay Quarterly and Self-Employment Taxes

It bears repeating that many solopreneurs get tripped up due to inadequate tax planning. Taxes can be complicated when going solo, so your best bet is to hire a tax accountant or make use of readily available tax preparation tools.

For example, a free self-employment tax calculator can help you figure out how much you owe and provide other helpful advice on quarterly taxes.

Plan for Inventory Storage

If your business involves selling a physical product, you’ll likely need to consider the cost of storing inventory. As success allows your business to expand, you may find that keeping all your products in your living room is no longer an option.

Before that stage, consider planning for storage options by going online to find the best rates on storage units.

Creating Your Solo Income Stream

Once you turn freelance, you need to ensure that the money keeps flowing. Here’s how to generate the income you need.

Maintain Marketing

Now that you’ve prepared yourself for going solo by cutting your expenses and understanding what your costs will be, it’s time to figure out where your income will come from and focus on bringing it in. You’ll want to identify your customers and let them know you are ready for business.

The most important thing to remember about marketing is that it is ongoing. To provide income in a steady and reliable stream, you’ll need to pay attention to your marketing every day, or at the very least, every week.  

Manage Your Time

One of the best ways to increase success is to get really good at time management. Most people are unaware of exactly how much time is wasted daily on tasks that don’t bring in income. This doesn’t mean you have to work all the time, though; as a solopreneur, you’re likely looking for a solid work/life balance.

The best way to achieve this is to make optimal use of your work time by consulting an app or online tool. One of these can help you track your time down to the second with a simple mouse click — and later view helpful reports that show exactly where your time is going. Link this to your income records, and you will really know how to spend your time wisely.


The rise of the solopreneur – presents a model for a new way of life for lots of people. Witnessing the freedom that solopreneurs create for themselves, from setting their own hours to being choosy about the projects they take on, is enticing to just about everyone. Freedom to travel, freedom to pursue passions, freedom from long commutes. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge into solopreneurship, here are a few pointers to get you started down a solid path.

Go Solo, Go Freelance

Going solo, whether you are picking up work in the gig market or opening a small shop to sell your creations, can be an exciting adventure. The key is to plan the use of both your money and time, so you’re putting effort into what you love and not into worrying about your financial health.

This article is a guest post by Laura Gayle from BusinessWomanGuide.org


Rob Palmer I have been blogging and living the digital nomad lifestyle since 1999. I help people create an online income so they can go anywhere, do anything and be anyone.
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