I left the biggest whale for last. Freelancing is a life form in itself, but probably the best preparation for some bloody client or stakeholder discussions and you can learn a lot not just about how to present your work, but also what businesses are looking for in design.
For soft landing I would say the best is to look around within your closer circles, or just share the interest on socials and maybe someone might start a new business and your timing is just perfect (which rarely the case TBH). Just don’t forget to set the terms openly, that you’re doing this for strengthening your overall presence as a designer (and also a contract is a good idea) so not really NDA candidate.
After you’re comfortable with hectic guidelines and demanding non-design parties you’re ready to go out there, and fish on larger sites like Upwork and Freelancer, but brace yourself because these sites are heavy on competition too.
I would say if someone likes this form of solving issues in the short term, it might become quickly an alternative of getting a full-time position, but as a newbie it’s quite hard to survive and you’re truly left to learn everything on your own, not just in design operations, but also the business itself. If you’re looking for a resource because you like it, this is an excellent guide.