Before you quit your job, there are questions to ask yourself before going freelance. It’s important you are aware of the challenges ahead.
Before you quit your job, there are questions to ask yourself before going freelance. In fact, in my opinion, you should never leave your job to become a freelancer until you have built a client list and regular income.
There are many benefits to going freelance: the freedom and flexibility to work the hours when you want to.
Let me be completely frank and say, it is, completely different from being employed by a company, so these are the questions to ask before going freelance. If after answering these questions you still feel freelancing is for you, go for it!
Can you meet deadlines?
Clients can be demanding and, it’s essential to meet their deadlines to increase your chances of being hired for future freelance jobs. The client should always be your priority. Set expectations early on to in the project to avoid any disappointment.
In your current job, do you always meet important deadlines?
Are you willing to give up some free time?
Work and lifestyle must be treated equally. To start your freelance business, acquire clients and build your reputation, you will need to put in more hours than you are working in your current employment.
For up to six months, are you willing to give up your free time to get your business off the ground? Do you have any other commitments coming up that might have an impact on the time needed to go freelance? Be honest with yourself.
Can you find enough work?
Having a network is going to be instrumental in finding freelance work, do you have enough contacts to reach out to? Do you have a strategy in place to find new clients and bring revenue into your business within a month of you leaving your job?
Do you have a portfolio in place?
Potential clients are going to want you to prove you have the skills and experience to complete the project they are hiring you for. It’s essential to have a portfolio with examples of previous work and ideally testimonials or case studies.
You do not necessarily need a website to be a freelancer – you could use a social network like Instagram or Twitter to showcase your skills. Creating videos on YouTube is another option if you are comfortable being on camera.
Are you going to make enough money to live?
Firstly, there are a few sub-questions to answer. What income do you want to make each week and how many hours do you want to work? This will help you decide on the rate of pay you should charge clients. Don’t forget to take into consideration taxes and any other required payments like National Insurance contributions.
Next, spent time researching what other freelancers charge for your service, does it compare to what you want to earn?
Will you be leaving your job and transitioning into a freelancer with any savings? Do you have any debt you need to pay each month? What about rent, utility bills and general cost of living like food. All this needs to be factored in.
Can you wait for your money?
Probably one of the more frustrating aspects of being a freelancer is waiting for clients to process your invoices. The larger the company, the longer it can take.
Are you good at managing your money, and can you still pay your bills when invoices are taking a few months to be processed? This is why it’s highly recommended to save a percentage of your income each time you are paid.
Living invoice to invoice is going to make life incredibly stressful.
Do you have the skills to run a business?
When running a freelance business, you will need to be multi-skilled. Of course, at some stage in the future, you can hire people to do many of the tasks but, initially, you will need to be good at marketing to find new clients. You’ll need to complete financial tasks like invoicing, completing tax returns.
Most successful freelance businesses will have a website, a social media presence, and spend time networking with potential clients. Do not let a lack of skills put you off because we all learn as we go along, but be ready to learn!
My recommendation to clients is to always start a freelance business as a side-project you can do in the evenings and weekends. When you have built your client list and have a regular income that closely matches your salary, then make the decision to become a freelancer full-time.
Read my guide on how to become a successful freelancer. It’s a highly recommended read if you are unsure where to start.