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Deciding to Freelance Full Time

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 13 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Deciding To Freelance Full Time

Deciding to freelance full time is a big decision. Many freelancers begin their careers by working around a full time job, and sometimes by taking up part time work so that they can freelance part time as well. Making the break to freelance full time can be an exhilarating experience, but it should not be a decision taken lightly. Examining your client base, current financial situation, expected cash flow and both short term and long term business plans are all important before making the leap to freelance full time.

Examining Your Client Base

Before you decide to give up your day job and work full time freelance, examine your current client base from every angle. Do you enjoy working with them? Do you generate consistent work from them? Could they refer you to others to get you more work? Do they pay well? Do they pay on time? Is there any chance that you could raise your rates with them in the future? Does the rate you get now work out to a fair hourly wage? If the answer to any of these questions is no then you need to consider if you feel that you have a client base strong enough to support you working full time as a freelancer.

Examining Your Current Financial Situation

In addition to examining your client base, examining your current financial situation is imperative before deciding to freelance full time. A good rule of thumb to follow is to stockpile at least six months worth of both living and business expenses before transitioning to full time freelance work. Also remember that at the start you may have quite a few initial cash outlays (for marketing materials, office materials, etc.) but that you may be able to claim some of these back from your taxes. And certainly don’t forget that your first paycheques will not have taxes deducted so you need to put away money from each of them so you are not caught short later on.

Examining Your Expected Cash Flow

Besides having cash at the ready in the form of your own savings, also look over your expected cash flow for the first few weeks and months of a possible full time freelance career. Do you have clients you are about to bill? Do you have clients who already owe you money? Are your invoices paid immediately or do you often need to chase up payments? Does your method of banking complicate your invoicing or having access to your payments? If you find that you are not confident in your expected cash flow then you’ll either need to save more before going freelance full time or you’ll need to delay the decision for a little while so as not to get into financial difficulties.

Examining Short Term And Long Term Business Plans

Before you decide to freelance full time you need to know where you are headed. This is important not just so that you can stay focused on your career, but so that you can stay focused on building your own career ladder, moving up it and enjoying greater professional and financial success. Creating, and refining, both short term and long term business plans is an important task before deciding to freelance full time, though neither of these plans need to be set in stone. Remaining flexible to whatever your career throws at you is an important part of freelancing successfully.

Deciding to freelance full time is a momentous decision. Before you take this decision, examine your: client base, current financial situation, expected cash flow and short and long term business plans, so that you can determine if you are ready for the risks or not.

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