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10 Ways Quitting Your Full-Time Job Could Make You More Money

If you aren't happy with your full-time job, but the fear of losing a steady income is holding you back from trying something new, read on. We've asked personal finance and employment experts for tips on thriving in the "gig economy."

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Build your skill set for less

Instead of paying a pricey tuition at a local college to pick up a new skill, sign up for massive open online courses (MOOCs), which are often free or low-cost. “Available to anyone with an Internet connection, MOOCs offer high-quality virtual courses from some of the world’s best universities,” reports Forbes. “You’ll find courses in computer programming, engineering, graphic design, leadership, and many other subjects. They even have integrated programs that build to certificates or degrees which can help you demonstrate your knowledge to others.” Here’s where you can take 600 classes online for free.

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Know where to look for jobs

While LinkedIn, and especially its LinkedIn ProFinder, is always a great place to start, seek out the job sites that are tailored for contract workers. Freelancer.com, for one, has job listings for everything from software development to graphic design to data entry. This work can often be done remotely.

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Don’t quit your job cold turkey

Before Kayla Sloan quit her full-time job, she started freelancing on the side to begin building up her client base. Now, as a freelance writer and content creator, she earns five times what she made at her previous full-time job. Here are more ways you can make extra cash fast.

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Price your rates so you can cover benefits and other expenses

Before you set your rates, factor in your added costs, including self-employment tax, health insurance, retirement savings, office supplies, etc. “This may mean charging double what you used to earn per hour in order to cover these things that you’ll have to pay for yourself,” advises Sloan.

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Build your client list 

Of course, you’ll want to let your colleagues, past and present, know that you’re available for freelance work and network like crazy. You could also approach your current company about staying on with them in a contract capacity. Be sure to follow these 12 new networking rules that really work.

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Combine forces

Another strategy is connecting with agencies that provide similar services as you. “Often, they’ll have overflow work that they can pass on to you,” says Dayne Shudam, founder of Ghost Blog Writers. “It may pay a little less, but the agency will often handle some of the work such as communicating with clients and invoicing.”

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Be creative when responding to job postings

Don’t be put off by job listings for full-time positions; you should still apply. “Companies create job listings with intentions of hiring in-house people, but will often hire contractors because there is less paperwork and regulation or because a contractor can provide more specialized work,” Shudam says. Or they may hire you on a short-term position while they’re looking for the right person to fill the full-time job. Here’s how to answer that trick question: “Why should I hire you?”

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Let your name be your best advertisement

It goes without saying that you need to build a stellar reputation. “Make sure you are building quality and meaningful relationships with your employers,” shares Entrepreneur Magazine. “By becoming a hiring manager’s favorite, you might even get access to unadvertised opportunities that you never knew were a possibility. And having great relationships not only increases the chances you will be hired again, it also increases the likelihood that managers will refer you to others.”

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Be prepared to work hard

Going above and beyond for a client will be your new standard, says Shudam. That may mean answering emails at all hours of the day and accepting that at times you may lose money, if a client needs a revise you hadn’t budgeted for. “It’s part of the risk/reward with working on your own,” Shudam says. Make sure you have these 17 “soft skills” companies are looking for.

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Realize there’s lots of competition

The hard truth is that you’re not going to get every job you apply for, and that’s part of the gig culture. “Getting passed over on one job doesn’t prevent you from consideration for the next,” explains Entrepreneur Magazine. “Keep an open mind, be persistent, and always maintain a positive outlook with your respective employers. You never know when the right opportunity will come along, and you want to make sure you are the one on their speed dial.” If you’re ready to make your freelancing dreams a reality, read on for expert tips on how to quit your day job.

Erica Lamberg
Erica Lamberg is an experienced travel and business writer based in suburban Philadelphia. Specializing in family travel, cruise experiences, and tips for enriching and affordable vacations. Beyond travel, Erica writes about personal finance, health and parenting topics. Her writing credits include Reader’s Digest, USA Today, Parents Magazine, Oprah Magazine and U.S. News & World Report. Her favorite city is Paris and she dreams about visiting Greece and Israel. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and is married with two children.