This post is from guest contributor Lauren Bowling. Lauren is the blogger behind personal finance site, L Bee and the Money Tree where she writes about the link between finance and self esteem. As a freelance writer, Lauren’s work has been published on Yahoo! Finance, Credit.com and The Huffington Post. Lauren lives in Atlanta with her puppy, Murray, and enjoys yoga and renovating her first home in her spare time.
My journey as a freelance writer began after I moved home from New York city in 2012 and started my blog, L Bee and the Money Tree.
After I basically talked about my blog non-stop on an interview to be his executive assistant, my old boss offered me a job as a content writer for his software start-up instead.
I never dreamed that working the 9-5 would lead to so many networking opportunities. People were actually interested in my blog, social media and SEO skills. I began taking on writing/social media management gigs in my spare time, and soon I was spending a good 15-20 hours each week on my solo endeavors.
During this time, I blossomed in my full-time too, becoming the manager of the marketing department in under a year all the while building my blog, brand, and portfolio as a freelance writer.
I wasn’t in any hurry to leave my job, but I began to dream about being able to live my life as I saw fit. The fantasy began to turn into a reality when I saw how close my freelance salary was to matching my freelance income.
Before I knew it, I was planning an exit strategy: I’d work my 9-5 gig as marketing manager until my debt was paid off and my savings had been replenished (a costly home renovation had depleted them.) Between building my client base and saving up money, I calculated that I could seamlessly make the switch from full-time to freelance in August 2014.
Except life never goes quite as you plan, and I was laid off from my full time job in February 2014. So I was left with a decision to make. Even though I wasn’t prepared mentally or financially, was now the time to start freelancing? Was this the sign?
For a full two weeks I agonized over the decision. Ultimately, I said no to freelancing and took a similar position at another software company. Here are the four reasons why:
Reason #1. I’m already doing what I love.
Right now, I love what I do. I love marketing and writing content for businesses. And this career choice is still within the same field of work that I do for my own blog.
So while “escaping the 9-5” sounds amazing, it isn’t quite a desperate, break-down-the-cubicle walls thing for me, and whether it is working for “the man” or for myself; the service offering is the same.
Reason #2. I don’t have enough clients…yet.
While I was extremely close to being able to match my previous salary with freelance income, you have to factor in other expenses when you are working for yourself.
In his ebook “Beat the 9-5”, Robert Farrington suggests you need to make 25% more than your desired salary to account for self-employment taxes and incidentals. I wasn’t quite there at the time I was laid off, so I decided to keep working at it.
Reason #3. Lack of savings.
Whenever I do decide to freelance full-time, I want to make sure I have enough in the bank to give it a fair shake. Had I decided to freelance this time, any small disaster would have sent me reeling.
While I appreciated all of the love and encouragement I got to give freelancing a go, you really can’t expect emergencies, and being financially prepared is important to me. Many amazing freelancers I admire have great stories of how they’ve ended up succeeding in the face of adversity, but after years of reckless financial behavior, I prefer to play it safe… for now.
Reason #4. I still have a lot to learn.
And the final reason why I put off freelancing is the realization that I am still very early on in my career. I know that with any experience you learn something, but I’d like the opportunity to see how I can grow — at least in another place of business — before I begin taking that on myself.
After being an actor, I’ve really only worked in two places and only in my chosen profession for two years. I want the opportunity to learn from others in my chosen field, because I can grow by leaps and bounds both personally and professionally in my last job.
It may sound like complete justification, but I’m happy with my decision to say NO to freelancing and excited to see what happens in the future.
Are you thinking of becoming a full-time freelancer? Can you relate to these reasons?