Becoming a freelancer doesn’t mean you have to quit your day job. In fact, it’s a great source of supplementary income while you are still earning a regular salary from your full-time job. However, there will come a time that freelancing won’t be just a side hustle for you. Small gigs will become major projects, new clients will add to your list, and eventually, you will start thinking of freelancing full-time.
Going full-time as a freelancer can offer freedom from a traditional workplace, and more importantly, it can push your career to new heights–something that you might not be able to achieve with your day job. Still, there are a lot of things you should know about full-time freelancing before you make the drastic decision of quitting your day job. Here are the most important ones:
1. You may have to shell out money
When you work in a traditional workplace, your employer provides everything that you need to do your job. This includes your computer, phone, desk, chair, office supplies, software, and down to the 0800 phone number you use for marketing calls. When you fly solo, however, you’d have to provide for yourself.
You probably already have the basics to do freelance work (computer, phone, webcam, etc.), but depending on the type of work you offer to clients, you may have to shell out money for any equipment, software, or supplies that you need.
2. Your budgeting skills will be tested
One major downside to freelancing is that income is often unpredictable, unless if you have a long-term contract with a client. This unpredictability is even more financially precarious when you go freelancing full-time because you no longer have a day job to provide you with a steady income. However, this doesn’t mean that you will earn less when you freelance–it’s just that income can be a bit unstable.
With that in mind, your budgeting skills will be put to the test when you finally freelance full-time. You would need to be more careful with your spending, as well as budget your money in a way that you still have a buffer in case you lose a client or a freelance job.
3. It will take some time to feel ‘successful’
Unless you already have a solid client base and a line-up of jobs coming in, don’t expect your bank account to start doubling in zeros when you start freelancing full-time. Even if your freelance jobs earn more money than your day job, it can take some time before your income can match or surpass what you were earning before, as well as what you expect to earn as a full-time freelancer.
There’s no way to tell how much time you need to wait before you start earning any real income from freelancing, but giving it three months or so is a good rule of thumb.
4. You can still get insurance
Many people hesitate to quit their day jobs for the sake of the insurance that their employer offers. If you have the same fear holding you back, know that you can still get coverage (health, critical illness, disability, etc.) as a self-employed individual. However, the quality and price of these insurance plans may be different from what is available to you through your employer, so look up the different types of coverage that you need before quitting your job for good.
5. You will be your own biggest enemy
When you become a full-time freelancer, you will be your own boss. That means you are the only one accountable for any delays, mistakes, and other problems on the job. And essentially, it all boils down to how you’re going to minimize these problems and how well you’re going to learn from them.
Procrastination, low motivation, and reduced productivity are also going to serve as hurdles along the way. It’s you who has control over these challenges, and as such, you’re going to have to work against yourself to overcome them.
6. You’re going to have a lot more freedom
Let’s end things on a more positive note: freelancing full-time can give you a higher level of freedom from what you’re used to at your day job. You can set your own working hours, you can take a sick day when you want to, you can say no to jobs that you don’t like, and you can work from almost anywhere in the world. So if you crave more flexibility in terms of time, location, and career, that may be a good sign that freelancing is the right path to take.
Freelancing full-time can give you flexibility like no other job can, but it does come with a few implications. If you’re thinking of quitting your day job to freelance full-time, here are the things that you can expect to experience.