Gut Check: Quitting Your Full-time Job for Your Freelance Career
It's 6:00 p.m. You're dead tired, but instead of an early night, you go to your "second job" - your freelance business.
Between writing articles, researching new assignments and invoicing for completed work, it will be well past midnight before you can even think of going to bed. How much longer can you keep this up, you wonder? If this sounds familiar, maybe it's time to quit your job and focus on your freelance career full-time.
One of the best ways to ensure success as a freelancer is to start part-time while holding a full-time job. However, when do you know it's time to let go of your job?
The following checklist will help you decide if it's time to make the leap from employee to full-time freelancer.
1. Money: If you started freelancing with the intention of one day quitting your full-time job, then that plan should have included setting income aside for this day.
Do you have six months to one year of expenses set aside? Is your business bringing in steady income? If you were able to devote 15-20 more hours per week to it, could you at least double what it brings in now?
Looking back over one to two years of numbers should give you enough data to do some smart (read, conservative) projections. Don't have at least 12 months of income data to analyze? Then my advice is not to quit - unless the business is exceeding all expectations and you are really raking in the profits.
Bottom line: If you have six to twelve months worth of expenses set aside and won't have to depend on your freelance income to pay you anything during this period, then maybe it's time to consider quitting, or at least switching roles (ie, working your job part-time and freelancing full-time).
2. Time: Do your freelance duties take up more than four hours a day? Do you work six to seven days a week just to stay on top of your workload?
If this is true and you have a steady stream of projects already lined up, then maybe it's time to make the move.
Note: Freelancing is an up and down business. Just because projects are lined up does not mean they will come to fruition. If these are steady clients that almost always come through (ie, they do an annual report every year and you have been doing it for the past two years), then you can "safely" count on the income.
However, be careful that the bulk of your income is not coming from 1-2 clients. Get 6, 7, 8 or more, steady clients - and constantly market to acquire new ones - before you even consider making the move.
3. Quality of Life: If the quality of your life is suffering because there are only 24 hours in the day and you need 56, then it's definitely time to consider quitting.
If you're working all the time and not spending time with family and friends, then both streams of income will start to suffer. If your freelance business has been humming along on training wheels for a while, then maybe it's time to make a real go of it.
What exactly does this mean? It means that you get up and put in a solid 8, 9, 10 hours (at least) a day to expand. I'm reminded of the quote, "An entrepreneur [freelancer] works 16 hours for himself, so he won't have to work 8 for someone else."
If you decide to make a go of freelancing full-time, then this is where the gloves come off; where the real work comes in. Here are some general guidelines to observe as you make the transition:
Leave your job on good terms: That means handing in proper notice, offering to train a replacement, be on call for finishing up any special projects - whatever it takes to let your previous employer know that you are a professional and won't leave them in the lurch.
After all, you never know if/when you will need to return or if your company will be able to refer clients or become a client themselves.
Prioritize: Managing yourself is a lot harder than being under someone else's tutelage. Develop the habit of writing a list of things to be accomplished. What works for me is at the end of every day, writing in my day planner what I need to accomplish the following day. It usually doesn't work out that way, but at least I have a plan if I start to stray, or feel like, "Now what do I do?"
Eat right and exercise: After all, if you don't take care of yourself, it jeopardizes all of your income.
About The Author
May be reprinted with inclusion of the following: Yuwanda Black is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and syndicated small business columnist whose focus is controlling your destiny through small business ownership. Her most recent e-books, How to Really Make a Living as an Editorial Freelancer and Advice from Successful Freelancers: How They Built Their Careers & How You Can Too! are available for immediate download at http://www.InkwellEditorial.com/bizguides.html Visit her on the web at http://www.EntrepreDoer.biz for a complete list of how-to, small business books and articles.
Character Motivation - Always Ask WHY
For many years, I've been a tutor for students undertaking courses in writing romance, crime or children's stories. In that time, I've marked thousands of assignments.
Know Your Editing Choices
Each author has special editing needs. To save yourself time and money, look at the choices below and decide which kind of editing suits your needs.
Have You Plotted Your Story Before Writing It?
Creative Writing Tips -The writer, who doesn't have the time to plot, always finds the time to rewrite.Sound familiar?I've been guilty of this too, back in the early days of my writing apprenticeship.
8 Tips to Get Publishers to Notice You
If your articles aren't getting published very often, or you just want to increase the chances of them being published, then you will benefit from the tips in this article.1.
An Inside Look at Proofreading
This is the ideal topic for us all to think about. We do it everyday, especially those of us that use the Internet the majority of the time.
How To Build A Successful Freelance Editorial Career
In the current job market, many editorial freelancers have turned to freelance work as a matter of survival. I receive many queries from applicants regarding this part of the market.
Finish Your Book Already!
I owe the completion and success of my book to a big cardboard box that saw me through the entire process. I found this box and filled it with any and all information I could find on my topic 'advanced presentation skills for speakers and business presenters.
Writing Tips For Novice Authors
If you are reading this article then you probably have asked yourself at some point in your life, "Do I have what it takes to become an author?"I believe that successful authors, those who actually write and finish that novel, or book of poetry, or even that book of short stories, and see it all the way to publication, have certain characteristics.Characteristics of Authors1.
How to Finish Your Self-Published Book Fast
Started a book and then got bogged down? Like many of my bookcoaching clients do you say, "I have so many other demands, I just can't get to the book."This isn't procrastination or fear.
Got an Idea? Turn it into a Novel in Thirty Days or Less!
People can't believe I did it, but I did. I wrote my first novel, The League, in about 30 days.
How To Become a Freelance Grant Writer
What is a freelance grant writer? These individuals have a lot of power in their hands. When they work for companies, they are essentially trying to help gain free money for that company to help the company expand, do research, or to stay in business.
Four Easy Ways to Get a Book Written (Especially If You Dont Like to Write)
Becoming an author is probably a lot easier than you think. It's time to get that book out of your head and onto the printed page.
To Transcribe or Not To Transcribe Interviews?
11 Secrets from an Experienced InterviewerOne of the unwritten rules of writing a book, an article, orany sort of material that requires the writer to interviewexperts or people "in the know" is to tape record theconversation. Whether the recording occurs via phone or inperson is irrelevant.
Writing For Free: When & When Not to Do It!
Right off the bat, I want to say that there is no right or wrong answer to this topic. A lot depends on your end goal - to get a job, garner publicity, build a portfolio, etc.
Getting To Know Your Characters
Interesting characters that readers care about are the most important 'ingredients' in your novel.That might sound like a fairly sweeping statement, but think about it.
Write A Better Newsletter!
You've decided to write your very own Newsletter to promote your business, communicate with your customers, or just for FUN.You've read hundreds of newsletters.
A Few Keys to Writing Effective Dialogue
Every writer expends a great deal of creative energy developing a story line and limning well-balanced prose with evocative sentences. That's what writing is all about, after all.
Create A Dream Diary
How many times have you forced yourself to sit in front of a computer and waited for inspiration to strike?Most of us at some point, whether just starting out or even an experienced published writer, have suffered from the proverbial writers block or have struggled to kick-start their creativity.Sometimes ideas just flow and writing our article or story is easy.
How to Have an Effective Writing Group
The works you've written are numerous, ranging from short stories to even the novel, hidden in a storage bin (under the bed) collecting dust. But there comes a time when you must wipe away that dust, regain your pride, and prepare your babies for publication! But, how do you get such a critical, unbiased eye to analyze your works, offering both praise and criticism?It's simple-start a writing group!Creating a writing group is the easy part, but creating a functioning and beneficial writing group can be quite a task.
Suspense Novels Need Fast Starts
Suspense novels, unlike any other genre, need fast starts. Fans of suspense novels or their close relatives, thrillers, detective stories and mysteries, expect a fast-paced read.