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At times, we require a nudge to chase our dreams. Maybe you’re yearning for a work schedule that offers flexibility, or you seek a career imbued with a deeper sense of purpose. Maybe your ambition is to be your own boss and enhance your income. Freelancing could be the solution, but it’s essential to consider a few factors before you leave your current job and embark on this solo journey.
Am I becoming self-employed for the right reasons?
Embracing self-employment shouldn’t be a hasty decision. If your inclination towards freelancing stems from a dislike of your boss or dissatisfaction with your present job, it’s crucial to reconsider whether your reasons align with the demands of freelancing.
There are myriad compelling reasons to freelance: becoming your own boss, eliminating commute time to enhance family interaction, or just having more flexibility in your life.
It’s worth noting that leaving your job doesn’t necessarily mean a complete detachment.
Every employee has the right to request flexible work hours for any reason. Assuming your employer agrees, you can experiment with freelancing while maintaining the safety net of a steady income.
Gradually decreasing your work hours while you establish your freelance business can be an effective strategy to transition out of your job, mitigating financial concerns in the process.
How can I find work when becoming self-employed?
Securing projects as a freelancer is vital for your success. Without consistent work and stable income, you may face financial hardships.
Consider reaching out to your social network. There’s a likelihood that someone might know a person who needs a writer, photographer, IT consultant, or any professional in your field of expertise. Don’t hesitate to ask your friends and acquaintances – after all, support is part of friendship’s essence.Perhaps you need a more fulfilling career that provides purpose to your life. Or perhaps you simply want to work for yourself and earn more money. Freelancing might provide the answers.Click To TweetPerhaps you need a more fulfilling career that provides purpose to your life. Or perhaps you simply want to work for yourself and earn more money. Freelancing might provide the answers.
Regardless of your field, there’s likely an online marketplace or recruitment platform tailored to facilitate your job search. An array of freelance job websites await, especially beneficial if you’re at the beginning of your freelancing journey.
We advocate participating in networking events as an effective strategy to expand your business and connect with potential clients.
Will becoming self-employed fit in with my lifestyle?
Freelancing offers varying schedules to different individuals. Some may accomplish their tasks in the quiet of night while their children sleep, while others might start working at dawn before the world wakes up. Regardless of your lifestyle, ensure that freelancing aligns well with your operating style and work habits.
There’s little point in leaving the nine-to-five behind if you’re just exchanging it for a nine-to-five at your kitchen table. Making the most of a freelance lifestyle means working when you want to, and stopping work when you want to.
The inherent problem with the traditional ‘nine-to-five’ mindset is that it leaves many potential working hours unutilized. Today, most economies operate on a global scale, something that schedules established decades ago didn’t consider.
These traditional timings didn’t factor in the internet, voicemail, inboxes, notifications, or the flexibility that modern technology offers. It’s high time we adapt to these changes.
Essentially, if you wish to do something during typical working hours, there’s nothing hindering you. You can compensate for these hours later or simply accept the reduced earnings. This pursuit of freedom is often what motivates many freelancers to depart from conventional jobs.
Transitioning to self-employment often implies spending substantial time in solitude. This scenario suits those who are genuine introverts, but it might be challenging if you’re even a tad extroverted and thrive in the company of others. Freelancing, barring instances of business partnerships, usually entails working independently.
To mitigate feelings of seclusion and solitude, exploring a nearby co-working space could be a viable option.
While full-time employees are often confined to the travel permitted by their annual leave (unless they’re among the fortunate few in offices offering unlimited leave), those who opt for freelancing aren’t restricted by such regulations.
Indeed, with the ubiquity of online tasks and global WiFi, work can be undertaken virtually anywhere. Armed with a laptop, you can comfortably cater to your client’s needs poolside.
Am I self-motivated enough?
As a freelancer, the onus of your success lies solely on you. The guidance, mentorship, or encouragement typically provided by superiors and teammates in traditional jobs is absent. On challenging days, you’re the only one accountable, which can be a substantial responsibility to bear, emotionally and mentally.
Self-motivation is paramount in freelancing. It could mean compelling yourself to rise at 7 am daily (despite knowing you could laze till 10 am) or maintaining momentum even in the face of adversities.
You’ll need to push yourself out of your comfort zone to get new clients, so whether you hate speaking on the telephone or wearing a suit to a pitch, you’ll have to keep making yourself plug away at your business because you’re the single driving force that keeps it all going.
One of the leading studies on startups in the last 25 years was conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
They found 14 traits of successful entrepreneurs:
- High initiative / personal responsibility
- Internal locus of control (the belief that people’s behavior determines what happens to them and that they’re in control of their own behavior)
- Tolerance of ambiguity (the ability to keep an open mind while receiving contradictory or unexpected evidence)
- Low fear of failure
- Moderate risk-taking
- Long-term involvement
- Money as a measure, not merely an end
- Use of feedback
- Continuous pragmatic problem-solving
- Use of resources
- Self-imposed standards
- Clear goal-setting
They accepted that ticking all 14 boxes was a tall order, which is why he said that strengths in some areas could compensate for weaknesses in others. Count up how many you’ve got – is the number you end up with high enough?
Can I afford to become self-employed?
The startup costs of launching your own business can vary greatly depending on what type of industry you’re in. For example, if you were looking to start a freelance photography business, your upfront costs for the latest equipment may be higher than that of say, an editor or journalist.
Money will feel tight at times and when you’re starting out, you’ll feel stressed about it. That’s totally normal, and it’s fine as long as you know how to deal with the stress.
It’s worth remembering that when you set your day rate or hourly rate, you’ll need to factor in that as a freelancer you don’t get paid for days when you’re sick or on holiday. Remember to calculate for weekends, bank holidays, and other times when you won’t be earning any money.
One of the big financial stories in 2018 was the news that UK wage growth had slumped to its lowest rate in six months, these figures don’t really cover the self-employed though as it can be hard to measure trends in self-employed
Using a work hours calculator can help you to understand how much you get paid in your current employed role for each hour of your time, versus what you would need to average your earnings out to go fully freelance. But all that matters is what rate you can charge and how often you’ll have work. Because of this, freelancing is still a big financial risk because there’s no guaranteed income, holiday pay, or sick pay.
Some months might be more flush than others, and in your months where you’re not earning much, will you be okay with that? We recommend having some savings in the bank before going freelance, so in the leaner months you’re able to keep yourself afloat by paying bills, rent, etc.
Am I properly prepared to become self-employed?
There’s no point leaving a full-time job when you’ve only got a month’s worth of freelancing in the calendar.
Consider what freelance work you have secured and how long it’s likely to go on for. Along with that, you need to figure out how you’re going to find more work. Get as much lined up as you possibly can.
Also, think about any future commitments or events that might be coming up in the not-so-distant future. Are you sure you’ll still be able to afford that holiday in six months’ time if you quit your office job now? Is your boiler about to pack in and need replacing?
Is Now The Right Time?
Lots of skilled professionals who dream of a freelance lifestyle tell themselves they’ll leave their job and start a business when the time is right – but speak to any seasoned business owner and you’ll discover the right time never comes along.
Rather than waiting for the perfect moment, look for a moment that’s good enough. The chance to dive right into a big freelance contract, or move to a part-time role with your current employer, giving you some free time to build up your business.
So, if you’re brimming with enthusiasm and entrepreneurial zeal, why not just go for it? Print off that resignation letter, give it to your boss, and join the growing ranks of high-earning, mobile, happy, healthy freelancers who have left their nine-to-five jobs behind.
The Freelancer’s Bible will help those new to freelancing learn the ropes, and will help those who’ve been freelancing for a while grow and expand.