On January 1, 2013, I'll have completed my transition from my day job to being a full-time freelance web designer. How did I do it? To find out, listen to Episode 104: Become a Full-Time Freelance Developer of the Your Website Engineer podcast (one of my favorite podcasts). In this episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with host Dustin Hartzler about my planning, steps, and advice for aspiring freelancers.
Test the waters; moonlight to test your technical and business skills. Make sure you can find clients, whether local or global.
Set goals and work hard to meet them.
Talk to people who are freelancers, self-employed, or business owners. Take them out to coffee or lunch and ask them to share their experience (successes and failures).
Get involved in the local business community to accelerate your learning. You're also likely to find new clients. Depending on your city, your local chamber of commerce may be a good place to start.
Get free business counseling from SCORE. They provide advice and resources related to business planning, legal, finance, tax, accounting, marketing, operations, and more.
Create a business plan that includes how you'll market, how you'll find clients, your financial goals and projections, your business processes, etc. Also include a contingency plan that answers the question: What will I do if I can't make it as freelancer? Will you bring in business partners, go get a job, or do something else?