It’s easy to get intimidated about making the jump to freelancing, especially if you want to shift to a new area of work or you’ve worked in a salaried full-time position for many years.

At that point, the freelance life seems like a faraway land of unknown, mythological proportions (read: Brigadoon). Turns out…you can find that land! Let’s navigate the gaping conceptual mists, shall we?

**1. $$ **

You think you need: A Scrooge McDuck-size pile of cash.

In this world: Develop a healthy savings account. Experts recommend you have 6 months of savings ready to go in an emergency fund, and you may want more as a freelancer in case that cushion needs to become lifeboat-sized.

2. Skillz

You think you need: Brain surgery skills, Zuckerberg skills, bowhunting skills.

In this world: Do what you do best. Make a list of all your skills, polish those, and develop new line items to add every day. Instead of spending your days dreaming of how to fake a sudden penchant for web design, market those awesome talents you have now to potential clients.

3. Insurance

You think you need: Invincibility. Or: New life as a hermit, severing all contact with outside pathogens.

In this world: Health insurance. Let’s make a molehill out of this mountain – you need it and you can get it. (Pssst! Freelancers Union has great options for New York residents and more coming soon.) Do your research and invest in health insurance now, so you can focus on work and not worry about those future battle wounds.

4. Resources

You think you need: Diamond-encrusted laptop and/or rolodex of fancy networked connections.

In this world: You don’t need many bells & whistles when you’ve got skills (see above). For many successful freelancers out there, the World Wide Web is the best tool money can buy, or get for free at your local public library. Be diligent about creating connections, use your friends to start developing a client base, and be smart about posting your work online. Your hustle is going to create way more awesome opportunities than a $500 annual subscription to automaticfreelancejobfinder.com (according to anecdotal evidence).

5. Confidence

You think you need: Enough to do spec work for POTUS on solutions for world peace.

In this world: Gumption. Plain old gumption. Don’t let the uncertainty of flying solo prevent you from taking the plunge to independence. Be creative, be yourself, plow ahead. You will kick proverbial freelance ass and take names – names of clients who love your work and want to collaborate. Go!

Photo via flickr.