If you’ve had a full-time 9 to 5 job for most of your working life, transitioning to being self-employed can be incredibly scary. You might have many unanswered questions: Will I ever have the financial freedom I’m looking for? Will I be able to make sure my family is secure? Will I be happy? 

Fortunately, there is a lot of opportunity for self-employment and remote work, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when many industries are moving online. If you want to leave your 9 to 5 for good and start working for yourself, follow these tips to help you transition completely. 

Find Out What Motivates You

The first step is finding out what industry you want to move into. What motivates you? Do you want to be a copywriter, website designer, artist, teacher, or programmer? Finding your true passion can be the start of an incredible self-employment career. Finding something you truly love will feel less like work, so make sure you know what you really want to do. 

Distance Yourself From Your Current Job

When you start your self-employment journey, it probably won’t be time to quit your regular job just yet. As a result, it might feel frustrating to work at that job knowing you have another passion, but the reality is that your 9 to 5 is just a cog in the machine that’s making your dream happen. 

Distance yourself mentally from this job and know it’s part of a larger goal. This will help you feel more comfortable going there every day while you get your self-employment gig rolling. 

Pay Attention To Your Unique Skills

While knowing what job you genuinely want to do is important, taking note of the skills you already have is also essential. For example, if you know a coding language, you can start working on your programming skills online with a class or skills test. Typically, the skills you have already accumulated will at least somewhat align with your future goals and dreams. 

Adjust Your “Work Mindset”

Your “work mindset” is the mindset you have surrounding your job. If your job is torturous or completely unenjoyable, you likely won’t want to continue it. You need to start understanding that a job is a means to an end, meaning it’s a way to support yourself through your dreams to get what you want; the job itself is not the ultimate goal! 

If you shift your mindset to allow yourself to integrate this, you won’t be as miserable at your current job. Plus, you will understand yourself better as you embark on your new self-employment journey.

Research Your Desired Industry

This tip is especially true for those who want to move into an entirely different industry or position than their current job. To be successful in your chosen industry, you need to research the demand and the market for your skills. 

Those who have been successful in your desired industry have likely been doing it for many years. Therefore, you need to be crafty and resourceful to stand out from others. This research will help you figure out the creative ways to market yourself. And if you’re worried about your level of education, don’t be. There are plenty of high-paying jobs you can get without a degree

Have A Business Plan

Every successful self-employed person has a business plan, whether they own their own business or do freelance work. A business plan is a formal document containing your business’s goals, the timeline during which you will achieve them, and how exactly you plan to go about it.

Sit down and consider your ultimate goals for self-employment (whether through owning a business or doing freelance). Then, make a concrete plan of how to get there. It can help if you write all of these thoughts in a journal. 

Get Your Finances In Order 

To be self-employed, you must be very careful about your finances. Make sure you have solid control and understand your finances, assets, and accounts before attempting to become self-employed. 

Understand the benefits and pay you are currently getting from your 9 to 5 job and figure out how you can transition to self-employment financially. Will you be able to make enough money to maintain your lifestyle through self-employment? How long will it take you to build up enough income? Do you have money saved in the meantime to supplement your self-employment plans?

Figure Out An Insurance Plan

If you plan on leaving your current job, it also means leaving your employment benefits, including your insurance and retirement contributions. Therefore, before you actually transition fully to self-employment, you need to have a new insurance plan nailed down.

You don’t want any lapse in health coverage in case of emergency, so plan accordingly. You can purchase insurance plans from various companies. Make sure to put in the research to see which one will work best for you and your family. 

Find People Who Have Already Done It

While researching your chosen industry, find people who have done what you want to do and are thriving. If you can, try and get in touch with professionals who could potentially mentor you. With professional social media sites like LinkedIn, you can effortlessly search for other people who are in the same industry as you and connect with them. 

Consider Doing Part-Time First

Rather than jumping in head-first to a self-employed role, consider doing part-time self-employment first before leaving your 9 to 5. Not only will this help you maintain a stable income while pursuing your dreams, but it will also help you ease into the self-employment lifestyle rather than diving in and becoming confused or overwhelmed. 

Know How You’ll Handle Taxes

Taxes are a huge part of being self-employed. Being self-employed means you need to take money out of your own checks to give to the government at the end of the fiscal year, whether you pay your taxes quarterly or all at once. 

If you don’t plan ahead of time for how much money you need to put aside for taxes, it will become very overwhelming, and you could even go into debt at the end of the year. So whether you hire someone to do your taxes or do them yourself, figure out how you’ll handle this vital issue. 

Live Below Your Means

When you start with self-employment, it’s essential to understand that your earnings will most likely not equal what you make at your regular job for quite some time. With that in mind, you should learn how best to live below your means. 

Maintaining your usual lifestyle could prove difficult through self-employment at first, so figure out the expenses or habits you can cut back on to save money. 

Know When It’s Time To Quit 

When you have finally established yourself through self-employment and feel comfortable, decide when it’s finally time to quit your 9 to 5 job and transition to self-employment full-time. 

After quitting your 9 to 5, you can focus entirely on your new business or freelance work and dedicate all your time to that. Knowing when to quit is important, but ensure you have enough footing to support yourself through self-employment alone before leaving your primary job. 

Being your own is a fantastic way to work and can change your life immensely. However, figuring out how your transition will work before you actually take the leap will make all the difference.