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Going from full-time to freelance: preparing for lift-off

You’ve been freelancing on the side for some time now and you’ve decided to join the ever increasing ranks of the self-employed. It’s a pretty big step, but it’s one in the direction of your own aspirations. Don’t stress though, there’s a huge number of people who have made a success out of it.

However, it’s important to prepare so that you swim not sink.

Put some money in the bank

Even if it seems like you’ve got some steady freelance work on the go and you despise your regular job, the worst thing you can do is rush. Resigning might seem like the best option at the time, but the freelance job you’re going to rely on might unexpectedly dry up.

This is why you need to make sure you’ve got some money saved up before you freelance full-time. Work can come in peaks and troughs and you want to be sure a sudden lack of work doesn’t ruin you. Unpredictable workloads are part and parcel of freelance work and finding yourself unable to pay rent is not a great way to start your new career.

It’s not just about work disappearing though, you’re also going to have to deal with clients who are incredibly slow at paying. There are few freelancers who haven’t struggled with cash flow problems because of late payments.

So, first things first, get saving and make sure you’ve got enough to last you at least two or three months. Hopefully it won’t take long, if you combine your income from your regular and freelance work.

Choose your moment

Now that you’ve got the money to ensure you don’t starve, you might think it’s time to finally take the freelance leap of faith. Champing at the bit you may be, but don’t get hasty. Assess your situation and ensure you’re doing it at the right time.

Consider what freelance work you have secured and how long it is 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. There’s no point leaving a full-time job when you’ve only got a months worth of freelancing in the calendar.

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 your quit your office job now? Are you going to need to replace your dishwasher at some point?

Don’t get cold feet

So far this piece sounds like a whole load of scaremongering and, to a point, that’s true. In the end though, it’s unlikely you’ll ever be in the perfect situation to start freelancing.

That’s okay.

All you can do is prepare as much as possible, but if you’re set on doing it at some point, you’re just going to have to bite the bullet and do it. It will be easy to convince yourself that it’s not worth it and that keeping your regular job is the smart thing to do. The thing is, you’ll never know unless you try.

Freelancing is a great way to give yourself a bit of flexibility in life and to break free of the regular 9-5. It’s terrifying and filled with unknowns, but with some thoughtful preparation, it could be the best choice you ever make.

Photo by davidd

Scream image by Tree Leaf Clover

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