Listicle: Seven things to consider before you start freelancing
Is giving up your status as a regular employee the right choice for you?
Who hasn’t thought about quitting their full-time job and becoming a freelancer? Being your own boss is certainly tempting. But is giving up your status as a regular employee the right choice for you?
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you become a freelancer:
1 Do you have a marketable skill? Make sure that you have a skill that’s in demand. These are typically specific, functional abilities like project management, web development, financial analysis – or advisory skills that come from years of experience.
2 Do you have a robust network? Connections become a significant source of business. You can build one before you leave your job by attending relevant conferences, reaching out to people through LinkedIn or Twitter, or joining a group of other freelancers.
3 Do you have the right temperament? If you’re energised by being around people think long and hard about whether you’ll be happy working on your own. And if you’re an introvert you’ll have to work hard at networking.
4 Do you have a financial cushion? You need a financial buffer to weather any lulls in work. Freelancing comes with a lot of uncertainty – you may not always know who your next client is going to be or how much you’re going to earn in the coming year.
5 Are you disciplined about work? When you’re on your own you’re your own boss, information technology adviser, human resources representative, benefits administrator, head of sales and administrative assistant. If you need a manager or some structure freelancing is probably a bad idea.
6 Can you try it out? Experiment with freelancing before you quit your day job. If you decide to go for it you’ll already have your business set up and some clients in the queue.
7 Can your current employer be your first client? Consider whether there’s part of your current job that you could do as a freelancer. Even if that doesn’t work out it’s important to maintain a positive connection with your old colleagues. You never know who might want to employ you down the line. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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