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Should You Quit Your Job and Become a Freelancer?

Taking control of your work schedule and workload and becoming your own boss has its appeal, but is that life for you? Should you become a self-employed freelancer?

If you’re undecided about starting a freelancing business, ask yourself the following questions. You may surprise yourself with your readiness to take your career in a new direction. Or you may need more time to re-evaluate your options. Either way, these questions will help you decide if freelancing is for you.

What are the challenges of freelancing?

If you’ve always been an employee, the sudden income instability may be frightening. Before you start, ensure that you have three to six months’ savings to pay your bills. You’ll be taking risks that you didn’t when you had a job.

As a freelancer, it’s your responsibility to find work for yourself, either by networking or creating a profile on a gig platform such as Upwork. When you begin working on your own, you’ll need to manage your time and goals wisely. Even if you have a job that lasts three months, you’ll be looking ahead to line up the next gig to start four months from now. Otherwise, when your contract finishes, you could find yourself without an income when your contract finishes.

As a freelancer, you may experience months with several clients and projects and months with a lot of free time on your hands. Setting aside savings will help with unforeseen expenses during these dry months.

Some people prefer to ease into freelancing gradually by working in the evenings and on weekends while working full-time. Others work a part-time job while supplementing their income with freelancing. They may choose to freelance full time only after they have an established, steady client base.

What skills do you need?

Your success as a freelancer will also depend on your skill set. Most people start freelancing in the same industry where they worked for an employer. Others train for specific skills and look for freelancing contracts. If you’re building your skill set, you’ll be charging lower rates than someone with years of experience.

Other factors determining how much work you get as a freelancer and how much you make include:

  1. Whether your skills are in high demand. If many clients need someone with your skills, then you will find many opportunities.

  2. Whether your skills are general or niche. Writing, for example, is a general skill. If you have a niche, such as writing grants or writing for tech companies, you will be in higher demand by clients that need more specialization.

  3. Quality of your clients. Your relationship with your client as well as their financial situation will determine how much you can charge for your services. For example, if you are just starting, you may accept a contract with a small company that hasn’t been in business very long. Their budget would be limited, but you would be able to gain some work experience.

What is your business mindset?

The most important factor to consider about freelancing is your mindset. You’ll be setting your work hours. You can sleep in on a weekday and work nights or only work three hours a day. Those are some of the perks.

It also means you need a lot of self discipline to complete projects by the deadline, especially if projects fall behind schedule and you’re suddenly juggling multiple deadlines for reasons out of your control. People you know may discourage you from freelancing because of the risks. They’ll tell you to stick to the stability of having a job with holiday pay, sick leave, and a medical plan.

As a part-time or full-time freelancer, however, you’ll be able to decide what projects and work you want to take on, and you’ll be able to negotiate your rates. You’ll experience clients who treat you badly and clients who are a dream to work with. It’s a learning process, and as you gain experience, you’ll have better strategies for nightmare situations. When you become highly experienced and in demand, you can even turn down jobs to do only the work you enjoy.

Key Takeaways

Freelancing, either part-time or full-time, can be a dream come true for those who want to make extra income or take on new work opportunities. The ability to work where and when you please has its appeal. However, freelance work isn’t for everyone. You need mental discipline and a desire to aways improve your skills.

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