When I quit my full-time job, I made sure I was prepared for the risk. Here are some things you can do to brace yourself before heading out into the great unknown of the freelance life.
1. Brush Up Your Resume
This tip may seem obvious, but it’s one of the most important. One of the things I learned working at Creative Circle was that many, if not all skills I’ve learned up to this point in my career, are transferrable. I made sure I had a good resume that reflected how what I learned in my role at Creative Circle will help inform my practice as a copywriter and brand strategist for different clients. I’m a copywriter, so more often than not clients ask to see a portfolio of samples, but people do ask for my resume at times and I love having an updated one handy.
2. Update Your Portfolio
For a creative, nothing pairs better with a resume than a good website or portfolio demonstrating your work. I moved my website onto a new platform and gathered updated writing samples. Because many of the samples I have are content heavy and I’m trying to focus more on moving into branding and UX/UI copy, I do mention that I do this as well, so the user knows there’s more than meets the eye. I have a couple other ways that I’m working on building my book, in the meantime.
3. Network, Network, Network
Our world is largely digital these days but I’m a big believer of meeting someone face-to-face, and believe it or not, it makes a huge difference if you do it right. I’ve gotten great new clients and referrals from people who I’ve been able to look in the eye and shake hands with. When I quit my job, I knew I’d have to get back out there and begin meeting new people and prospective clients. I signed up for Eventbrite and made a point to attend one networking event a week if possible. When I go to these events, I’m ready to write down my website address and contact information to keep in touch, and I always request a business card for a follow-up or thank you note. In the future, I plan to have business cards of my own, but I’m rebranding myself at the moment, and my logo is still in the works!
4. Spread the Word
It’s hard to get in the habit of telling people about your work without feeling like you’re bragging. But if you don’t tell people you’re available for work, how will they know? I let all of the networks I’m plugged into know that I’m available for work and what type of projects I’m taking on. It’s great to have other people in on the news so they can help spread the word as well.
5. Know Your Target Audience
I knew that I wanted to go back into copywriting and brand strategy, but I didn’t want to be flying completely blind. I made a list of all the companies I’m interested in writing and strategizing for. Because these are mainly companies in the healthcare and tech spaces, I made sure I was plugged into specific resources, websites, and blogs, that would help increase my knowledge of these areas and thus, make me a better asset to clients.
6. Sign Up For a Staffing Agency
After working at Creative Circle, I knew that working with a staffing agency could be a great additional advocate for me in my search for opportunities. I let the Creative Circle team in New York City know that I’m interested in being a candidate for them and made sure that I was signed up for their email updates; I also regularly check the site for projects I’m interested in contributing to.
You can never be 100% prepared to quit your job, but it’s good to do as much as you can. By updating your resume and portfolio, networking, spreading the word, and knowing what audience you’re targeting, you’re sure to be headed in the right direction!
Allison is a former Creative Circle Account Executive, with a background in creative writing, content writing/strategy, publishing, and business development. Her world revolves around words and the relationships and interactions they inspire. Allison is now the Content Specialist at Raizlabs, a design and development firm in Boston and San Francisco.