Break the Mold

Break the Mold: How to Leave the Cubical and Set Your Own Schedule

If you’re tired of the 9-to-5 grind, you’re not alone. Recent studies suggest that 50 percent of the US workforce will be contract or freelance service providers by 2020. A new revolution of on-demand workers, remote employment opportunities and millennials who understand the value of work/life balance have launched the gig economy. Keep reading for advice on how to break the corporate chains.

Can you afford to quit?

Unless you have no financial obligations, you will need to have a safety net of cash built up before turning in your notice. CNBC estimates that your bank account should be able to cover at least six months’ worth of expenses. This will give you time to establish a clientele and begin generating a steady income stream.

Advertising yourself

One of the biggest challenges for first-time entrepreneurs is self-promotion, which is essential to your success. You will need to set your fears aside and be willing to put yourself in the spotlight. Start by creating a name, logo and slogan for your business – there are lots of free online tools, like those from Oberlo, to help you with this step. Next, build a website and set up social media accounts. If you’ve registered your business, you should have listings online waiting to be claimed. explains that Google Places, Bing Local, and Yahoo Local will help you take advantage of people seeking your products and services. Don’t discount replying to advertisements on job boards – you may find there are plenty of opportunities to utilize your skills without being committed to a time clock.

Master your communication skills

Once you have your first clients, you have to keep them happy, and that largely revolves around how effectively you communicate your service offerings, fees and estimated delivery times. Be upfront and honest from the beginning – don’t try to sell a service you cannot offer. For instance, if you’re a graphic designer, don’t agree to also create a website for your client if you don’t understand the technical aspects of doing so. Overpromising and under-delivering is a recipe for disaster.

Best gig-based jobs for quick cash

If you’re ready to launch your gig-based business now but don’t know where to start, the following suggestions can help you get going.

  • Translation — As a freelance translator, you can leverage your expansive knowledge of foreign language to translate everything from news broadcasts to books and magazine articles for an international audience.
  • Photo Editing — Have an eye for detail and reasonable Photoshop skills? You can help businesses showcase their products and service in the most visually appealing way. A photo editor salary average is around $37,000 per year, but as an independent contractor, you can set your own rates and work as much or as little as you like.
  • Accounting — You don’t have to be a CPA to provide financial services for small businesses. All you need is experience balancing books and a professional demeanor.
  • Dog Sitting — If there’s one thing that’s universally true, it is that pet parents really love their critters, so much so that dog walking and pet sitting have become some of the most in-demand services available today. As an added benefit, your animal-loving tendencies will get you off the couch and give you a chance to exercise while you earn.
  • Photography — While the prevalence of smartphone cameras means everyone thinks they’re a photographer, it still takes a DSLR and an eye for lighting to capture important moments. If you have the right gear and free weekends, you can earn up to $70,000 per year photographing weddings and other special events.

The thought of leaving your career behind and launching your own business can be terrifying. If you are willing to put in the effort, deliver on what you promise, and have a passion for your work, you’ll find success and will enjoy being in charge of your own financial future.

For more freelance ideas, check out this list compiled by Forbes.

Image via Pixabay


Thank you to Lucy with for this great guest blog post! If you’d like to be a guest blogger for us, please email me at