If you’re smart, you would have started your freelance career by doing work in your spare time while still working at your full-time job.
But now that you’ve gained lots of experience and have a growing client base, it could be time to leave your job and freelance full-time.
Is it the right time?
You need to do a lot of thinking before you quit your job.
It’s good that you’ve had the odd bit of freelancing work every so often, but what’s happening in the future?
Do you have work booked for the next few months?
Or are you going to leave your job only to find out you’ve got nothing to do, and no money coming in?
And have you planned how you’re going to find more work and more clients?
If you’re confident that you’ll have work and money coming in over the next few months, with a plan to find work after that, now just might be the time to leave your job and be a full-time freelancer.
There are a few other things to think about too:
For example, what about the holidays you had planned? Once you start freelancing, there’ll be no paid time off.
Whenever you take time off, you won’t be earning money, so you’ll have to plan ahead to ensure you have enough money to keep feeding yourself and/or your family.
Saving up money before you leave your job
Very few freelancers are fully booked up with work for the entire year.
It’s very likely you’ll have times when you’re rushed off your feet for weeks on end, only to spend the next week doing absolutely nothing.
Don’t worry. This is entirely normal for a freelancer.
Another problem all freelancers face at some time or another is slow-paying clients.
Whether they’re refusing to pay you, or it’s just slipped their mind, it can be bad for your cash flow.
But if you want to keep paying the rent and feeding yourself, you’ll need a contingency plan.
Ideally, you’ll have savings in the bank to cover you over these periods of receiving little to no income. You’ll want enough money to cover you for at least 3-4 months.
The perfect time to save money is while you’re still working as a full-time employee.
So, if you don’t have savings to cover you over periods when you don’t have any incoming money, it’s probably not the right time to move to freelancing full-time.
Always look on the bright side of freelancing life
You’ve just read a few of the problems you could face as a freelancer.
It might have scared you into rethinking becoming a full-time freelancer.
But hopefully we’ve shown you that they’re problems all freelancers have to face at some time or another, and there are things you can do to avoid them.
There’ll always be reasons not to do something, but there are so many other reasons why becoming a full-time freelancer could be the best decision you’ve ever made.
Reasons like leaving a job you hate to do something you love, having the freedom of working when you want, and for whom, and, of course, the potential to make more money than you would working for an employer.
Maybe now isn’t quite the right time to leave your job, but if it is, you’re about to go on an exciting journey.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.