A few years ago, I set a goal to become a full-time freelancer by January 1, 2014. There are a few reasons I chose this date:
- It gives me enough time to ensure my revenue is consistent
- It coordinates with my contract ending at my current job and my move back to the United States
My goal is to be so confident in my abilities as a business owner, that I don’t feel the need to look for a 9-5 job the second I get back to the States.
I crave the security and the benefits of a 9-5, but I also crave the freedom and the fulfillment that only comes when you create something all your own.
Still, as someone who is Type-A and a huge planner, I have to think about the perfect time to make the switch. So I asked myself, “Should I work part time and manage my blog or should I go for it?”.
Then I realized something; I don’t want to ease into being a full-time freelancer. I’ve worked too hard and spent too many hours working on my business.
Are you ready to break out of the daily 9-5 and become your own boss? Is it time for you to make that leap? It’s definitely time to take the plunge!
If you’re wondering when to quit your job and make the switch from employee to full-time freelancer, here are a few indicators your time has come:
1. You’re feeling the pinch
There comes a point in every freelancers life when their side hustles start taking up just as much time as their day jobs. For people like me, who want to become full-time freelancers, this is a good thing.
It means the business is growing, people are starting to notice your hard work, and you are getting referrals. At the same time, this is also the moment when you start to feel the pinch.
I am currently in pinch mode. Essentially, it’s getting harder and harder to put in a few hours of work at night, after I’ve already worked full time during the day. My normally super human work ethic is starting to wane as I spend every weekend freelancing to catch up.
I just watched Miss America a few nights ago, and when it was over, I realized I haven’t watched a TV show in months! It was actually fun and nice to take a break!
When you’re working so hard towards a goal, you don’t realize you’re not taking time to relax. I’ve started forcing myself to take breaks and utilize my time better, since it makes me so much more relaxed, creative and open-minded the next day.
Beware: the pinch can’t last forever. It would be very difficult to handle an 80+ hour work week for the long-term. So, if you are pinch mode like I am, you’re probably very close to making the switch. Embrace it — it’s time.
2. You’re bringing in steady income on the side
Freelance work is definitely variable, and some months are good while others can take a dip. However, for the past 3 months, I have brought in more income than my day job, and based on my numbers so far, I think this month will be the same.
Because I have steady freelance income already, and I know how I reached that income, I feel confident it’s time to make the switch from employee to business owner.
If my income varied too much or I wasn’t bringing in as much as my current day job, I wouldn’t feel ready to become a full-time freelancer/blogger.
Befor making the leap, make sure you have a nice solid trend of consistent income, and remember it will only increase once you get 40 hours of your week back.
3. You’re a budgeting rockstar
Even if you’re not a fan of crunching numbers, running your own freelance business requires you to get very familiar with budgets.
It’s important to know where you are spending your money. You also have to ensure you’re putting away enough money to pay your self-employment taxes every quarter.
You also have to be ready for the slow months. You can prepare by trimming your budget and cutting out the excess now so you can build a solid emergency fund for later.
Ideally, I am trying to have three months of expenses saved just in case my website crashes or I have a family emergency. I know I would feel more comfortable saving six months worth of expenses, and I’ll try to get as close to it as possible over the next few months.
4. You’re facing your fears
Let’s be honest; breaking out on your own is terrifying. It’s exhilarating, but there’s also so much pressure to succeed.
There’s a reason the vast majority of the population gets up every day and goes to an office — it’s safe and secure. They know where they stand, and they know exactly how much they’ll get paid every paycheck.
Freelancing full time isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for those who are willing to face their fears and work tirelessly every single day in hopes they will make enough money to pay their bills and take care of their families.
It’s a risky decision, but if the thought excites you, and you’re up for the challenge, then you’re ready!
5. You’re going with your gut
Ultimately, the decision is yours. I wasn’t convinced my freelancing would be enough to sustain me until I saw three months of solid income on my bookkeeping software.
It took some time, yet slowly but surely, I started to give up on finding a fabulous, new job after I moved back to the States and got extremely pumped about working for myself.
I’m a firm believer that anyone can do exactly what I’m doing right now. The only magic formula is planning + working harder than you ever dreamed possible. If you have a combination of those two things, you can truly conquer the world.
I’m ready to make the leap! Are you? See you on the other side.