Most freelancers dream of one day going full time with their craft. Whether you’re a writer, graphic designer, or part-time carpenter, one day it would be nice to quit your “other” job and concentrate on what you really love doing. No boss, no rules, just you and your work. However, it’s not always that simple. There is quite a bit to consider when deciding if you can go full time with your freelancing. Many business owners look before they leap, resulting in the carcasses of many abandoned companies scattered throughout the land. A great idea and solid work ethic doesn’t always translate to a successful business. So what do you need to possess to really make it work? We’ve narrowed it down to three things: money, goals, and resolve.
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Wait, aren’t you going full time to make more money? Isn’t that the whole point of this, to work for yourself and make all the money you can in the least amount of time possible? Sure, and that certainly sounds great. But remember you’re not the only person out there doing this. There are tons of other freelancers out there doing the same thing as you and many of them have been full time for a while now. This means if you don’t already have a client list that won’t jump ship if something goes wrong, you’ll be in trouble. A major thing freelancers run into is deadbeat clients. If you’re waiting around for a client to pay you so you don’t starve to death, you’re sunk. Save up a little bit of reserves first. This also helps in the lean times when clients don’t need as much work (holidays, for instance).
This point can also seem a little silly at first. Your goal is to make money, right? After that, your next goal is to make more money, and then…well, you get it. But you have to think past all that to your deeper goals. Why are you getting into freelancing in the first place? Did you hate working for someone? Did you want to spend more time at home? These questions are important as they shape the entire nature of your business. If you got into the industry to spend more time at home, for example, you may not want to accept an offer from a bigger company that would buy you up but make you come into the office. It defeats the purpose of you going into business in the first place and will make you miserable down the road. On the other hand, maybe you went out on your own because you had a great invention or product idea and your goal is to get it bought and mass-produced. Either way, keep your goals in mind before you leap.
All that is fine and dandy, but can you really stomach all you have to deal with as a business owner and freelancer? Namely, can you handle doing everything by yourself? At your other job, you have someone making the decisions for you most of the time. Do this assignment, it’s due this day. Go to lunch now. Here’s your paycheck, we took the taxes out for you. Now, though, all those decisions are up to you, and you have to consider whether all these extras will affect productivity within your workplace. You pay your own taxes when you’re on your own, and if you don’t keep up you’ll get fined. You eat whenever you want as long as you want – whether you miss an assignment is your fault. And you set your own schedule, only catering to the whims of your clients.
It sounds fun, but it can be terrifying, especially when something goes wrong. If a client stiffs you, you can’t just complain to your boss or the Collections department. You have to go after the client and get your money, simple as that. If you’re prepared to take all this on, good luck! However, if you’re hesitating a little, perhaps it’s better to build your client base and save up money before taking the leap.