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Top Five Tips for Moonlighting as a Freelancer

This article is by Joe Daly

For those who want to bring in a little extra income, moonlighting as a freelancer is a popular choice. In fact, some of the most talented, sought-after freelancers in the business only work as a freelancer part-time. That is why I have put together these tips for moonlighting.

If you are considering taking up freelancing in your off hours in order to make a little extra cash, check out these tips for moonlighting as a freelancer. 

5 Tips for Starting Out as a Moonlighting Freelancer

Top Five Tips for Moonlighting as a Freelancer

Check out these 5 Tips for Starting Out Freelancing as your second job to help your family budget. 

1. Assess Your Priorities 

Before you begin moonlighting as a freelancer, you need to make sure that you get your priorities in order. Sometimes, people get so caught up in their side-career as a freelancer that they begin to neglect their day job. Unless you plan on retiring and freelancing full-time, though, this isn’t a good idea. Keep in mind that your day-job will likely continue to be your primary source of income, and treat it as such. 

If you have any other priorities outside of work, you will want to think about them as well. Working a full-time job and moonlighting as a freelancer doesn’t leave a person a lot of free time. If you have a family or friends, you’ll need to be upfront with them about your new schedule and try to set aside time for them as well.

Whatever your priorities are, you’ll need to get them in order and fully understand them before you add hours more work to your schedule each day. 

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2. Understand that Freelancing isn’t Always Easy

Understand that Freelancing isn’t Always Easy

When you’re on the outside looking in, freelancing may seem more like a hobby than it does a job. After all, any work that can be completed from your living room recliner can’t be too demanding, right?

The reality is, though, that freelancing can be very demanding. Clients are going to expect the same commitment and work out of a part-time freelancer as they would a full-time freelancer. There will be deadlines, and you’ll have to meet them come what may if you want to maintain your side-job as a freelancer. Sometimes, it can also be difficult to gauge how much work you are actually agreeing to take on. What first seemed like a quick, simple project can quickly turn into a big commitment.

None of this is meant to discourage you from moonlighting as a freelancer. It can certainly be done and can even be quite enjoyable as well. However, you should know what you are getting into. Freelancing requires just as much work and commitment as any job, and that’s something you need to be prepared for if you plan to take up moonlighting as a freelancer. 

3. Focus on One-and-Done Projects

Focus on One-and-Done Projects

One common piece of advice for full-time freelancers is to find long-term clients who can supply them with a steady stream of work. For moonlighting freelancers, though, the reverse is true, and you’ll probably be better off focusing on one-and-done projects. 

Sometimes it’s hard to make any long-term commitments when you are only freelancing part-time. With one-and-done projects, though, you know exactly what you are agreeing to each time. You can pick up a project to work on over the weekend, one to work on one night when you get off from your day job, or one to work on during any other block of time that you have available. 

Fortunately for moonlighting freelancers everywhere, one-and-done projects are easy to come by and are overall more common than long-term gigs, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding enough work to fill whatever time you may have available. 

4. Become a Time Management Pro

Become a Time Management Pro

In many ways, succeeding as a part-time freelancer often comes down to effective time management skills. When you’re working two jobs - no matter what those two jobs are – spare time is often in short supply, and you’ll need to learn how to make the most of every minute you have available.

Start by making a schedule complete with the times you’ll be at your day job, the times you want to devote to freelancing, and the times you want to save for personal enjoyment. Once you have time slots for each of these things, try not to let them bleed into one another. Moonlighting as a freelancer is a bit of a balancing act, and you don’t want to put too much emphasis on one part of your life if it’s going to be at the expense of other parts such as your career or personal life.

5. Don’t Get Burned Out

Don’t Get Burned Out

As nice as all the extra money would be, no one can work 24/7. Free time may be hard to come by when you start working two jobs, but you should certainly still set aside enough time to recharge and enjoy yourself a little bit. If you don’t, you’ll risk getting burned out, and then both your careers will suffer. 

Make sure you take good care of yourself. Take days off from time to time, get plenty of sleep, and get out of the house for some reason other than going to your job. These things are not only important for your mental and physical health, they’re also necessary if you want to keep up the enthusiasm and drive that is required to succeed at working as a freelancer while still maintaining a day job.


The popularity of freelancing has increased dramatically in recent years, and with it, the ability for people with a wide range of skill sets and interests to pick up extra work that they can complete from home has increased as well. 

Make no mistake – moonlighting as a freelancer is sometimes going to be a challenge. However, if you approach it with the right strategy and mindset, it can turn out to be a very rewarding pursuit. 

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