Quitting your job to go freelance can feel like the ultimate dream. You can work when you want, where you want and with who you want. And you don’t have to waste half your salary on travel or get caught up in office politics – what’s not to love?! However, the grass isn’t always greener and the reality is that going freelance doesn’t work for everyone. If you want to know if it will work for you, here are six questions to ask yourself if you want to quit your job to go freelance.
What’s the main thing that’s making you unhappy?
A great place to start is to pinpoint what exactly about your current work situation is no longer working for you. Do you have a long commute you can’t stand? Maybe you’ve got young children and you want to spend more time at home with them? Or perhaps you’ve been doing the 9 to 5 thing for years and you’re sick of the grind.
Whatever it is, write it down.
If several things are making you unhappy, do your best to group them into one underlying problem. For example, if you have identified that you’re unhappy because you hate having to start work at 9 every day, you hate being bossed around by your manager and you’re sick of having no say in the tasks you do each day, all of these points boil down to a lack of control over your work life.
What’s the main thing that’s keeping you in your job?
The next question to consider is why you’re still in a job you hate. Avoid the temptation to say “I need the money”. While that’s probably true, there are lots of other jobs that pay well, so money cannot be the only reason you’ve stayed in your job.
Dig deep and be honest with yourself: what’s really keeping you in your job? Could it be a fear of failing if you go it alone? Do you feel like getting your current role was a stroke of luck that will never happen again? Or are you simply comfortable and can’t be bothered to rock the boat?
Write down your answer and then move on to the next question.
What’s really keeping you in your job? Could it be a fear of failing if you go it alone? Do you feel like getting your current role was a stroke of luck that will never happen again?
Which is more important: the thing that’s making you unhappy or the thing that’s keeping you in the job?
Humans, by nature, are driven by two things: moving towards pleasure and moving away from pain. This means that if you’re staying in a job that’s not working for you, that role is bringing you pleasure (that’s the thing that’s keeping you in the job) that feels more important than the pain the job is also causing.
If you’re ready to quit your job to go freelance, you need to be honest with yourself. Have the scales tipped? Is the pain of the job now greater than the pleasure? If so, that’s a positive sign that launching a freelance career could be a good move for you.
How much money do you need to make each month?
Before quitting your job to go freelance, you’ll need to make sure you can meet your basic monthly outgoings. Take a look at our article on how to save enough money to quit your job for a step-by-step guide for working out how much money you need to make each month.
Humans, by nature, are driven by two things: moving towards pleasure and moving away from pain. This means that if you’re staying in a job that’s not working for you at present, that role is bringing you pleasure that feels more important than the pain the job is also causing.
Do you have enough money to meet your basic monthly needs?
If you want to succeed as a freelancer, it’s important to make sure you have the money you need to meet your basic monthly needs during the first six months of starting out.
Why six months?
Because it takes time to get the word out about your new freelance business and start getting a good flow of clients.
One way to achieve this is to use any savings you may have (if you have no savings, take another look at our article on how to save enough money to leave your job).
If relying on savings isn’t a realistic strategy for you, another way to make sure you can meet your monthly needs is to quit your job AFTER you’ve secured a consistent client or two who will unfailingly bring you the money you need.
When pitching for work, focus on being put on a retainer (a pre-agreed monthly fee in exchange for X hours of work) or securing a long-term contract, rather than accepting ad hoc work.
Is daily workplace interaction important to you?
Right now you may want nothing more than to never set foot inside an office again, but don’t be so hasty. Some personality types thrive on human interaction and do their best work when they can work face-to-face with others on a daily basis.
As a freelancer, the inescapable truth is that you’ll do most of your work on your own.
You can counter this to some extent by working from coffee shops and coworking spaces as much as possible, but don’t fool yourself that this will be the same as working in an office as part of a team. It won’t. Freelancing can be lonely, so make sure you carefully consider if you work best on your own or if you’ll seriously miss the interactions you may currently take for granted.
Hopefully after answering these six questions, you now know if you should quit your job to go freelance. If the answer is a resounding ‘yes, it’s time to quit my job”, take a look at our step-by-step guide on how to launch a freelance business in six months.
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