This week turned out unexpectedly.
In fact, it marked the start of another stage of my life.
How — you ask?
I quit my full-time position!
I never expected I would so soon.
I’d planned to long term, but this week — I caught myself by surprise!
I quit my job to pursue my passion, and today I would like to talk a little more about what I’ve learned!
Taking the Dive
Taking my writing full time was an idea I’d always toyed with, but I’d constantly tell myself I’d do it later on. When I’d saved enough money, when I had more clients — I always had an excuse.
Until one evening this week, when one of my clients reached out to me, offering me a new position within their company.
I must admit, luck struck me. Many deciding if to go into freelance don’t have the privilege of their client asking them to increase their availability.
I did, and I am so grateful for that.
I didn’t want to turn down the opportunity or let it escape me. Yet, I knew, I wouldn’t be able to take on the client’s increased work-load and juggle my full-time job at the same time.
I questioned the sanity of the decision, the security of it. But then, I realized:
If I didn’t do this. If I didn’t do this right now. Then I never would. In a year’s time, I’d always wonder, “what if?”
So I said to my client I could increase my availability! That I would accept the additional responsibilities.
The next morning, I contacted my full-time position and apologized to them. I told them I wasn’t coming back, and that a role in my desired career had presented itself; a role I couldn’t refuse.
I felt awful, but the company I worked for showed understanding, and they even wished me the best of luck!
It didn’t feel real, but becoming a full-time freelancer had become my reality in a split-second.
It’s only been a few days now, but already, I am realizing a few things: The pros and cons of my decision.
Today, I would like to share them with you all!
The Pros of Freelancing Full-Time
First, I want to talk about the positives that I’ve discovered since taking my career to the next level!
The Freedom to Work When You Want
My most prominent discovery: I’ve got so much time on my hands!
I’ve still been setting myself hours to work, but that’s the key here: “setting myself.”
No longer is someone telling me how or when I should work.
When can I take breaks? It’s up to me!
It’s so gratifying.
If I get tired, or burnt out, nobody is stopping me from… stopping!
If I wake up an hour later, no big deal — I’ll just work an hour later!
If I fancy a cup-of-tea, that’s no problem too. I can take it to my desk, and this ties into my next positive.
The Ability to Pick Your Own Environment
Freelancing means you can work where you want.
While so far, I’ve only stuck to my computer desk, there’s nothing stopping me from taking a laptop down to Tim Horton’s and working.
If I return to my home — to England — that’s fine, too. I can work on the plane, and at the airport when I land.
I can even set up my base of operations in England instead of Canada if I wanted!
By going full time, I’ve given myself versatility.
That comes with a sense of freedom, which I think everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
You Set Your Own Wages
Now, this one isn’t 100% true.
Some of my clients have set rates, and I’ve accepted those. However, with others, they’ve asked me how much I charge and that’s up to me.
Sometimes, the client negotiates my set rate, sometimes they’re happy. Either way, I’m not being told by a higher-up in a suit what I’m making and forced to be happy with it.
Here’s the key take-away from this one: By setting my own wages, I’m never working for less than what I think I’m worth.
I can never complain about my wages and if I want a pay-rise, then I can contact my clients and we can come to a new agreement.
You Make as Much Money as You Need
This one mixes my first and third positive together.
As mentioned, I have the freedom to work when I want, and I’ve set my own wages.
With that, if I want to make more money, I can work more. There’s nobody stopping me. I can complete orders late into the evening, and I can work on weekends, too.
I can make as much as I need, then take time off to relax — providing I don’t have deadlines of course!
Speaking of deadlines, freelancing isn’t all heaven on earth.
If it wasn’t, everybody would do it.
Let’s talk about the negative aspects.
The Cons of Freelancing Full-Time
The Deadlines Can Be Tight
Freelance writing is a business, and one must keep clients happy. If I miss deadline after deadline, my client will go to someone else. You’d do the same, right?
I need to finish orders on time.
Yet, I also don’t want to say no to deadlines as clients present them to me.
When they ask me if I can get a piece out by a certain date, they want to hear “yes!”
The trouble is, I have multiple clients and they are all setting their own deadlines for work. Sometimes, I will have two pieces due out within a day of each other, sometimes even on the same day!
You can imagine how stressful that is.
When I said a positive about freelancing is that you get to work when you want. While that’s true, it’s not always the case.
If I have deadlines coming up, sometimes I have to work late into the evening, into weekends, and sometimes I even have to tell my clients it’s just not doable.
It makes my heart heavy when I have to do that, and that risks losing the client, your income, and your credibility.
This was the case even before I went full-time!
The Wages Are Insecure
This is huge, and one that will no doubt appear on other freelancer’s variation of this post.
(Again, another contradiction to a positive!)
I said I set my own wages and work until I’ve made as much as I need to make. Yet, what if the work isn’t there?
Sometimes I get huge commissions from a client, sometimes I have tons of small ones that add up.
Yet sometimes, the well is dry.
When that happens I won’t make money and that means I am forced to find new clients, which can lead to me creating more deadlines for myself and therefore more stress.
It’s an uncertain job, and it’s impossible to plan. Want to save for that holiday? Who knows how long it will take!
Working freelance is uncertain, and at any point, you could go from making tons to barely scraping by.
It’s Awful Lonely
I mean it. I wake up bright and early, and my girlfriend goes to work. Then I am alone, in the house, all day.
I can listen to music, I can relax — but I have nobody to share that with. And I am sure that’s the case for most freelancers!
If they have deadlines, they must work on them and can’t afford to socialize.
You never have the same laughs that you have working somewhere with many colleagues.
Again, I am lucky in this respect, because one of my clients hosts an entire team of writers and they have a chat room. I have fond memories in there — but there’s nothing like having a laugh in person with a colleague!
This is the final one. The final negative!
Working as a full-time freelance writer is plain scary.
Maybe that’s something that will fade after these early days are over, maybe not.
Yet, knowing I have deadlines, knowing my wages can change in a heartbeat: it worries me.
I don’t know what my future holds. I don’t know if in a week’s time I’ll be happy, or regretting leaving my full-time position.
Working freelance makes the future uncertain. I could go from being successful to unemployed in a heartbeat.
Though that doesn’t mean you should run and hide.
Here’s Why You Should Go Freelance
You might have noticed I balanced the positives and negatives. I did this on purpose.
Because like a yin and yang, like light and shadow — the positives and negatives will always go hand in hand.
Yet I am sure after reading my negatives you’re thinking, the freelancing life doesn’t sound as nice as it does on the surface!
So, why do I think you should do it?
I think everyone should try it.
It comes with a risk, but if you’ve got the skills, the talents, and know what you want to do as a freelancer, then why not give it a go?
You’ll always wonder “what if” otherwise, and if you take the dive and it doesn’t work out— you can always get another job again.
It might not be at the same place you worked at before, but at least you can fall-back onto something and start saving money.
I’m not saying read this, and quit your job to start freelancing tomorrow.
Make a plan, save some money, and then when you’re ready:
Take that leap of faith!
It’s what I did, and I haven’t regretted it yet.
…And that’s that!
If you’ve made it this far, I hope what I’ve said has helped spur your decision! If you’re just here out of curiosity, I hope I’ve answered some of your questions!
Now, regular readers, you know the drill by now!
If you liked what you read, let me know! Comment your thoughts and opinions — even your own experience of leaving your job behind to pursue your passion!
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