great advice so far! I definitely agree with everything said, keep it quiet and to yourself.
I have been doing freelance + full time for a while now to help get myself growth and intellectual stimulation while not giving up a steady paycheck and benefits. Although, I will say, I have occasionally quit jobs and just been freelance for a few months here and there, and having my own health insurance was really not that big of a deal. I live in California and the system here is super easy to use and I actually like my HC plan better as a freelancer than what I had full time, and I don’t pay that much more for it. The only reason I even went back to full time is because my freelance clients convince me to come work for them full time… somehow I get sucked in but I definitely prefer being freelance!
I think the NDA is a great idea, although most clients I’ve worked with respect the fact that I have a full time job, they have never asked me to disclose anything or talk about my other work. If you’re working with someone who is pressuring you, definitely drop them right away. Don’t get mixed up with shady people!
It’s on your resume and LinkedIn profile where you are f/t employed, so that’s no secret, but you can set boundaries on your work hours. Like I would tell clients, okay, I can give you my Sundays. So whatever you have for me by Friday night, email it to me, and I can get it done on Sunday. This allowed them to give me a reasonable amount of work to get done in a day because they knew what kind of time frame they were working with.
I’ve tried working for clients like 1 hour before or after work on weekdays. I personally find this extremely difficult, I’m just tired after working 8+ hours and then to switch gears is hard. But if you’re really pumped about something maybe this would work for you.
For me, I always say, about 10-12 hours outside of my F/T job is the max I can give to freelance. You also need recovery time. I can do more for short stints, like one or two projects here or there, but not ongoing, I would burn out to quickly and my f/t work would suffer.
My personal goal was always work freelance until I have 3 months living expenses saved up, and then you can afford to quit f/t and go full freelance. Life kind of happens and it never quite works out the way you think it will, but I think this is a nice goal to work towards.
I would look into getting an LLC, then get a business checking account with the LLC. This way you can keep all your expenses (like software) and income separate from personal income, which makes it easier to tally up at the end of the year. It’s still all just reported through you when you do your taxes, but you do need to know how much freelance income you got. I suggest not getting an LLC in NY where it’s expensive and a lot of work, many people form them in Delaware or in the state where they’re from. Many states do not require you to live in the place where you form the LLC. There are lots of blogs and podcasts about going freelance, I listen to these to get tips about what to think about or consider.
Connections are also really important. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, go to events (or virtual events) or reach out to people via LinkedIn or Instagram. I think it takes a while to form a “brand” of your own and get that self confidence, at least for me it did!
Oh, other things, try to research what the freelance rates are for your field. I suggest charging by the hour and not per project. You’ll always get taken advantage of if it’s per project.
Hope this is helpful! Good luck!