If you’ve been working at a full-time job and want to make the move to freelancing, there’s one question that’s at the top of your mind: How am I going to make enough money to support myself? And if you’ve got a family, this can make the possibility of freelancing even more daunting. Can you really cope with the feast-or-famine cycle that’s so common for freelancers? The feast part sounds awesome… the famine part, not so much. How can you get the freedom of freelancing, without taking on a huge risk for you or your family?

The simplest way to start freelancing – without taking on huge risks – is to slowly transition to it. You don’t have to quit your job and dive headfirst into freelancing. In fact, you really shouldn’t. Think about it. By quitting your job, you give up 100% of your income, in exchange for your time. And if you can immediately earn back your income with that time, great! But unless you’ve already laid the groundwork and landed clients, that’s just not going to happen.

Earn back your income before you quit your job

You can do that… slowly.

Spend a few hours a week working to land clients. And when you’ve booked enough freelance work to make up a percentage of your income, you can reduce your regular job hours by that amount.

For example, let’s say you book enough work to cover 10% of your total compensation. You can arrange to work half days on Friday. And with that half day on Friday, you’ve made some time to work on your freelancing business – without eating into your already busy schedule. You might even be able to get that half day off without a taking a reduction in pay… effectively giving yourself a raise :)

Book your work in advance

If you know that you have enough freelance work to make up 10% of your income for the month, you can take a half day off every week. Or two full days off in the month.

The most important thing is to have a plan

Don’t just assume that freelancing will work out right away. You’ve got a lot of skills to learn to do it effectively. And you’ve got to make sure you take care of your own business. Just remember that you won’t be stuck at your job forever. You can make the move to freelancing. Just be sure to transition slowly and smartly.