A Guide to Balancing Freelance Work and a Full-Time Career

Updated October 6, 2023

Some people opt to take up freelancing and also maintain their full-time jobs. Such individuals seek extra income or are attempting independent consulting on a part-time basis before jumping in fully. Taking on freelance work while working a full-time job can be a lot to juggle.

Most freelance jobs allow you to set your schedules and work when it fits your program. But you also have to meet deadlines and client expectations. In addition, meeting your employer’s job deliverables throws another element in the works. In many instances, you find yourself stressed trying to satisfy both parties.

There are ways to balance a full-time job with freelance work. You can adopt the following tips to avoid conflict with your two career endeavors.


Be Upfront

In many cases, an employer will not know you do independent consulting work and your freelance client is in the dark about your full-time employment. In such cases, you find yourself serving one party at the expense of the other. You will encounter instances where deadlines from both parties coincide and have to make tough choices on who to let down.

You can avoid such precarious situations by coming clean with your employer and clients on your other commitments. Be upfront with both your full-time employer and your freelance clients about what you do and your schedule to foster good relations with both.

You will also need to disclose any potential conflicts of interest or time conflicts you foresee. Such disclosure allows you to re-negotiate timelines or enable the concerned parties to have contingency plans. Being honest upfront is advisable than dealing with more challenging problems later on.

Set Realistic Timelines

During your first stab at freelancing, it is tempting to take on any available job, sometimes with untenable deadlines. Taking up such assignments results in rushed work with the quality compromised. You can fall back on your full-time job deliverables because you have to devote all your time to the part-time urgent assignments.

Give yourself enough time to finish the job satisfactorily but also in a manner that meets the client’s needs. If you feel any of your masters provide unreasonable timelines, do not hesitate to re-negotiate the deliverable dates.

Use a calendar to lay out each step of a project and forecast any potential overlaps that could be problematic. Try to spread your work to avoid feeling overwhelmed or compelled to push back due dates. It is better to set a further out due date from the beginning than pushback mid-project.

Get Organized

Your full-time job is already a full plate and serving up more makes it an overflowing one. Getting organized is your arsenal to help you manage everything. Without proper organization, you will find that simple tasks get neglected, compromising a reputation you have invested so much time and effort to build.

Create a strategy for keeping track of all the moving parts within your workload. You need not monitor everything manually because project management platforms or excel templates that can help you with the tasks are readily available.

Such tools enable you to have one place that keeps all your notes, status updates, and due dates. You may have to invest time in creating/customizing a template to suit your needs, but it will end up saving you even more time in the long run.


You must weigh between your full-time and freelance work and decide which venture you should prioritize. You can have considerations like which represents a better growth potential, meets your livelihood needs, you have an interest in, etc. Your strategy and planning for your workload and career should reflect your priorities.

Queue all assignments coming through whichever venture you consider a priority first. Within your workload, prioritize the most pressing items with the flexibility to readjust your priorities with time. Your imports may change over time. For example, a freelance venture that seemed like a side hustle could grow into an entrepreneurship venture.

Take Days Off

When juggling freelance work and a full-time career, you discover you almost have no free time. You view any non-work hours, holidays, weekends, etc., as the time to catch up with your consultancy work. Sustained working without rest leads to burnout, making you less productive.

Rest is critical and helps to prevent fatigue. You must take some time off and set aside time to decompress and relax. Such time-outs let you rejuvenate physically & mentally and, you will be back at your prime state to produce better than before.

You can select a day in the week when you do not do any assignments and indulge in a passive activity or a hobby. When practicable, maintain the day as a work-free one and, you will be surprised how energetic you feel the day after.

Balance Your Work Schedules and Thrive

Balancing your part-time and full-time work may not come easy at first but, the more you practice, the more it comes together. Eventually, you will learn where you need to focus your energy and, the competition becomes less stiff. The discovery journey is an intriguing one and, some people transform part-time gigs to freelance entrepreneurship, reaping massive returns.

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