Becoming a freelancer is a huge decision. You need to be ready to take the perks that come along with working independently, as well as the disadvantages that you may also suffer. Only you will know when you are truly ready to take the plunge, but as a newcomer to the Freelance game, I can share my experiences with you and hopefully give you some guidance in the process.
When Should You Quit?
If you currently have a 8-5 full time job, complete with a reasonable salary, excellent health benefits, stock options, and a 401k all set up and growing, you may find it hard to walk away from safety and towards the deep, unpredictable abyss that is freelancing. For this reason, the individual needs to be truly prepared and committed to his decision.
However, the plunge into freelancing can provide you with a more flexible, more profitable, and more enjoyable career that can be well worth giving up any benefits and feelings of security that your current job gives you.
Suggestions for Freelance Preparations
So, when should you quit your job and start freelancing? I have a few suggestions.
- Keep a Fund Reserve: Although many suggest that it is not needed, I think you should have at least 6 months of your monthly living expenses saved up just in case. Now this could mean saving for a few months before you quit your job, or taking out a loan, or borrowing from friends or family. If you have a great business idea, or have always wanted to own your own business or work from your home, then you should take the risk. However, it doesn’t hurt to have your reserve fund just in case it takes you a little longer to start profiting from your experience and abilities.
- Keep an Emergency Fund: If you only have enough money for a basic health insurance plan, then you want to have an emergency fund for any unforeseen bills you may have to pay for, whether it be ambulance bills, or simply several doctors visits.
- Purchase an appropriate health insurance plan that covers you and your family. I would suggest finding one that does not cover small doctor visits’ bills, but will cover you or a member of your family gets into a serious accident or requires a few nights in the hospital. Opt for paying $50 doctors visits bills instead of a $10,000 hospital bill.
- Have a plan– don’t step into your future blindly. Develop an action plan and strategy. How are you going to differentiate yourself from those companies or individuals offering the same services / products you are?
- Don’t be afraid to spend a small amount of marketing dollars: people can’t discover how wonderful you and your products are until they know about you. Spend a few hundred dollars to advertise / market yourself in both online and offline areas. To achieve the highest ROI, find some areas that fit your niche. For example, if you are a nutritionist that will provide customized menus and recipes for individuals, search for some quality nutrition / diet / health blogs and purchase an ad in their sidebar.
Any other Freelancing Suggestions?
Does anybody else have any advice for taking the freelancer plunge? Feel free to leave them in the comments section. Disagree with any of my suggestions? Please refute them!
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This post was inspired by Freelance Folder’s Birthday Contest, in which we were challenged to share our most helpful freelancing advice.