Most freelancers started out by working “on the side“, while keeping the 9-5 job. A paycheck every 2 weeks provides that feeling of security. Doesn’t it?
Many then quit the day job to go freelance-only. Others keep the day job, and wonder if going solo would be such a good idea.
So, when is it ok to quit the day job and go freelance-only? When should you take the plunge?
Do not take that decision before you know exactly what you’re getting into. You have to be well prepared. Chances are, if you’re getting started, or if your freelance income doesn’t cover all your expenses, you’ll wanna keep your day job for a while, and freelance part-time.
Having a day job means you get paid every 2 weeks, so all the money you earn on the side is extra cash. If you don’t make a dime from designing websites for 2 months, it doesn’t matter, you still have a day job. No worries (except having to deal with your boss). ;)
But, when all of your income comes from your freelance work, you cannot afford not to have contracts. But it can (and probably will) happen.
You have to be able to survive with little or no income for some time. That depends on your expenses: car, rent, loan, etc…
Since you’ve been freelancing on the side for some time now, you probably have a pretty good idea how much money you make freelancing every month (average). Does that cover your monthly expenses?
If not, make sure you put some money aside, so you won’t go broke within the first 2 months. It will give you time to network, meet more people, contacts, find gigs and get your stuff together.
Avoid Seclusion – Social Circle
Of course when you work for a company, in an office, you meet people and you interact with them every day, you’re used to that. But when you freelance and work from home, that social circle isn’t there anymore. You cannot count of your “work buddies” to be there when you arrive at work, since you don’t have to leave the house (depends on your field of expertise).
But the thing is, you do have to get out of your nest. Even if most of your work is online or on your own, you still have to network and get out there. Re-create that social circle you have at your day job, find partners, and people you can rely on.
Don’t wait till you go solo to find business partners. You’ll have enough on your hands once you take the decision to go freelance only, you won’t really have time to for that.
Stay Up To Date
Usually when you work for a company, they pay for training, so you’re always up to date with the latest standards and all.
But when you freelance, that means money out of your pocket. Of course, don’t spend money you don’t have. If a course is necessary and you know you will get your money back in no time because of new knowledge/skills, it may be worth it.
If the company you work for offers some kind of paid training and is willing to pay for whatever courses you may need (related to your job, of course), take that opportunity and choose something that will help you in your freelance career.
When To Go Freelance-Only?
Some will always want to keep their day job because of the obvious benefits a full-time job has, but others can’t wait to “get outta there” and work on their own.
When is it “ok” then?
- When you make more money freelancing than you make at your day job.
- When your day job isn’t satisfying anymore, and you need new challenges.