A few people have asked me recently how I knew I was ready for freelancing. The honest truth is, I fell into it. I left my job in HR with the idea of getting into the hotel industry, picked up some digital media internships after joining Twitter (more by chance than any kind of strategy), and ended up freelancing.
So, I’m probably not the best person to ask on how to know you’re ready for freelancing. I don’t necessarily think every freelance makes a planned jump into it. Some take it up after being made redundant, others after starting a family and I know several people who have moved abroad and started a freelancing career as they can work remotely.
But I also know a lot of people at the moment who don’t want to be an employee for the rest of their lives, and are considering freelancing or starting their own business. It’s a big step, so how do most people know when they’re ready for it?
In a moment, I’m going to ask those of you who have made the jump from full time employment to freelance to vote on how you knew you were ready. First though, are a few things to make sure you have before you make the jump:
- Savings. Ideally enough for three months of rent/mortgage payments (six months is even better)
- Potential clients. The best way to secure potential clients, is to take on some freelance work in the evenings and weekends. Yes, it’ll be hard doing a full time job and freelancing in your spare time. But you’ll be glad you did when you go freelance full time and already have contacts!
- Find your local networking events, and book them into your diary
- Make sure you’ve got a good support structure around you of friends and family. Not everyone will understand your move (I’d say at least 40% of my family and friends don’t understand why I’d choose to be freelance) but the good ones will support you.
- A plan. Just as you’d create a strategy for starting a business, you need a strategy for starting a freelance career.
So, over to you! How did you know you were ready for freelancing?