In this episode we talk about how to transition away from a full time job to become a freelancer. This can be one of the scariest things to do as a creative, but ultimately, one of the most rewarding. Today we look at tons of key tips for easing this transition, from not burning bridges with your employers, to communicating your dreams with your loved ones.

Other Ways to Listen: Soundcloud | iTunes | Stitcher

Meet Your Hosts

The Honest Designers Show started when our founder Tom found he was regularly chatting and sharing tips with top designers; Ian Barnard, Lisa Glanz and Dustin Lee. We soon organised a weekly call where we would help each other with areas we were struggling with and try to give each other actionable feedback. Soon we realised that the collective experience of the group was proving so valuable for each of us, that we thought ‘why not share these conversations with the world?’.

And so, The Honest Designers Show was born! This podcast is an insight into how to succeed in the creative industry, as well as giving you a totally transparent, under the hood look at some of the tougher, less glamorous hurdles to overcome! We also tend to get a little goofy along the way, so this is a chance to get to know each of us a little better :). We’ve loved recording this show for you, and we hope that you find value and enjoyment in listening to it.


Please find full show notes for this episode below:

[1.00] This week we’re talking about transitioning from full time employment to freelancing
[1.50] Dustin’s experience going from employment at a bank to get into design
[3.15] How Dustin started to enjoy his design career and find more clients
[4.20] How Dustin laid the ground work early for his later transition into freelancing
[5.00] Dustin reduced the risk of jumping into freelancing, but building up some work before the shift
[6.00] Transitioning to freelancing is like having kids – you just find a way to make it work
[7.00] Lisa setup a business deal to facilitate her move into freelancing
[9.00] Like any transition, this is temporary. The stress will die down, and you will adjust
[11.40] Ian’s transition away from full time employment
[12.45] Ian built up some clients in his spare time, by not burning bridges with his old company
[14.30] Ian had his second child the day he left his job and went fully freelance
[16.30] How Downton Abbey was the catalyst for Ian’s calligraphy career!
[18.00] Stress was the main trigger for Ian exploring freelancing
[18.30] Ian split his time, working part time on a traditional job, and part time freelancing – to ease the transition
[19.45] Past employers can be one of the best sources of early freelance clients
[20.30] The importance of having a safety net or parachute for your transition to freelancing
[22.00] Do some realistic planning about money and lifestyle, before blindly going into freelancing. Consider savings etc…
[23.00] Consider side hustles and alternative income sources to help the transition to freelancing in terms of finances
[24.30] The caveat here is to pre-emptively try these passive income streams, as starting a freelance business will take up ALL your time
[25.30] A lot of people make the mistake of romanticising freelancing. It’s important to set clear goals though.
[26.30] Run the maths of your bills/costs etc… to help to plan what you need to achieve freelancing to survive
[27.30] By saving enough money to cover your bills, you can put all your energy into growing your business
[29.00] How do you focus on saving and scrimping when you have a family to support and keep happy?
[31.00] The importance of support from your partner
[33.00] Beyond money, be realistic about the lifestyle that comes with freelancing
[34.00] You can always go back. If the transition to freelancing fails, this doesn’t have to be permanent.
[35.30] Adjust your life to make the transition easier (consider cutting out rent, scaling back costs etc…)
[36.30] Realise that your earnings are going to vary every single month with freelancing, and so your lifestyle may also fluctuate alongside this
[38.00] Self discipline becomes so important in freelancing
[39.45] Freelancing doesn’t have to be a solo gig – consider partnerships etc… if this is a good fit for you
[41.00] Self belief is so crucial
[42.20] Self doubt is totally normal when transitioning to freelancing, so just push through it

The Honest Designers Show Podcast

How you can help

As this is a new show, we’d really appreciate your help spreading the word. If you enjoyed listening and found value in this episode, you can do these two things to help us:

1. Subscribe to The Honest Designers Show in iTunes
2. Leave us an honest rating/review in iTunes

Early reviews can make the world of difference for new podcasts being discovered, and it would mean the world to us if you were able to help.

Click to listen to The Honest Designers Show on iTunes

The Honest Designers Show Podcast

Here is a quick guide for how to leave a review on iTunes

Want Help From the Honest Designers?

We would love to help you with your creative journey! Simply use #honestdesigners on social media, and the four of us would love to check out what you’re working on, join the discussion and try to help wherever we can!

Join the discussion on Instagram

Join the discussion on Twitter

Let Us Know What You Think

We would absolutely love to know how you enjoyed this episode. We’ll be releasing a new episode each Wednesday, and look forward to hopefully answering many of your questions on the show.