While holding down a 9-5 job is never easy or entirely fulfilling, it was never more apparent just how grueling that whole lifestyle is until the last year or so when the whole world was expected to follow the same routine while working from home. Not only did the boundaries between your job and your home life start to blur, but when the pressure of enduring a pandemic adds on to the normal work pressure, especially with unrelenting and unforgiving workplaces, it all gets a bit too much. The pandemic likely made it very clear to most people that they would prefer to earn a living on their terms, without being cooped up inside an office or having to take directions from a superior. The idea of being a freelancer probably never seemed so appealing.
What is a freelancer?
A freelancer is an individual who earns money by undertaking work on a project basis. Almost all freelancers are self-employed or work in small groups. Depending on their chosen field, work is likely to be short-term without a steady monthly paycheck as such. The life of a freelancer, while offering freedom and independence, is unstable and not for the faint of heart. Freelancers also generally tend to be creatives, skilled workers or those in the service industry. They do still have to pay income tax if their earnings are at the required threshold.
How can I switch to freelancing?
If you have decided for sure that it’s time to quit your job and freelance, you might be wondering what the first step is: how exactly do you make the jump? There are a few things you might need to get in order before you hand in your resignation; here are some things you might need to look into.
Get the word out
If your workplace has no major objection to employees freelancing, start marketing your services before quitting your job. Set up your social media accounts and get the word out to your colleagues, friends and family that you are open for business. If you don’t want your current workplace to get wind that you might be thinking of quitting, you can open up anonymous business profiles on social media sites. You can even sign up on websites specifically designed to connect businesses with freelancers like UpWork and Fiverr where you can create a profile and get working. Join business communities and drop in at networking events. Build your brand from the get-go.
Do it parallelly
It’s best if you can start looking around for clients and some work on the side before you quit your job. Try this model out for at least three to six months, trying to secure as many projects as you can. During this time period, put the entirety of your salary from your dayjob in the bank and see if you can survive on just your freelance income. While it might be extremely tiresome to balance both a full-time day job as well as freelance projects, this will give you a clear indication of whether you will be able to make enough money to cover your living expenses. If the reality is that you are unable to make enough money to cover your basic living costs as well as more or less uphold your living standards, perhaps you should think twice.
Invest in tools
If your trade requires you to have specific tools, you might need to invest in these prior to making the jump to full-time freelancing. While your workplace might be currently providing the equipment and software, you will most likely lose access to these once you quit. Unfortunately, depending on the nature of the work, these tools might be very expensive. You might need to save up over several months to afford it. If time is of the essence or you have poor credit, you can opt for quick loans online. Lenders like OnCredit.lk offer relatively low interest loans (compared to other unsecured loan providers) that are quick to get approved. Online loans for bad credit holders are also popular as they are unsecured loans which don't require solid credit histories or collateral. While there is nothing like free loans and you would need to pay interest, perhaps this would motivate you even more to somehow earn the money required.
Have a backup plan
Before you get into freelancing, it’s important to have a backup plan. No matter how good your skills are and how in-demand your field of work might be, if the economy tanks, your livelihood will be threatened. This is the same for any type of career: freelance or employed. Therefore, it is imperative that you not only have some sizeable savings but also an emergency fund large enough to cover your living expenses for at least three to six months.
Keep in mind that the freelancing lifestyle is not for everyone - the same way that a 9-5 desk job is not suited for everyone. It’s also not all about the money. Sometimes the freedom and independence that freelancing affords is worth the loss in income.