I’ve come to respect this community quite a bit, so I was curious to see how anyone might answer it. I understand it’s a very subjective question that has alot of variables in it, but he is where I’m at.
I’m currently in a position where I’ve done design & web work on the side for a couple years. I haven’t quit my day job but I’m not in a position to support myself either. I have a decent stream of work coming in, but fewer big projects than I feel like it would require to support my family.
Has anyone been in this place before and stepped off into the darkness? I’m contemplating at this point that in the not-so-distant future to take what I’m doing full time because I love it so much while my day job is just a frustrating means to a paycheck.
Did anyone find that they were able to increase their business with the time freed up to work more projects? Did you find that work was much slower coming than anticipated and required getting another job, or working for a company doing design work instead of continuing to be on your own?
Obviously there are alot of variable that go into getting enough work to succeed, but I was just generally curious what experiences anyone in my position might have encountered.
This is the ultimate question that all freelancers have at sometime faced. That’s why blogs like Freelance Switch exist, because it’s the great unknown and freelancers need to eat up all the information they can get before committing and after the plunge. I haven’t done it, so I have no idea really. You do need to of course consider the fact that you are going to have A LOT more time to pursue projects and crank out existing projects faster. So even if you don’t have quite the stream yet, that stream will grow.
I’ll take a grand quote from Rockstar Freelancer (or what I remember, since I don’t currently have the book with me on my lappy), but make sure you have at least three (or six) months of backup income stashed before taking the plunge. If you fail right out, you’ll have time to go pick back up and try again later. If at all possible, insure yourself everywhere. Find ways to eliminate bills, such as ridding phone and Tele for a bit and switching to something like Skype or Google Voice and entertaining yourself off of Hulu (or whatever you can find). Try to lower your bills and stock cash back. This way, you’ll have a pillow to fall back onto in case of a flop.
And for future reference, I have taken the plunge, but I am the monopoly of my area. There really wasn’t that big of a risk when people are asking for Web/Desktop/Hybrid solutions when nobody is around to fill the bill.
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Good comments – I’ve already begun the first 2 pieces of that. My #1 criteria for actually making the switch is that we are debt-free except for the mortgage. That will happen around December of this year if nothing unexpected happens.
We have about 3 months saved currently plus an emergency fund for big problems that might arise. So I’m getting close to the "decision" time :) Many of you can probably relate to the feeling of working 2 jobs and being pretty stressful, which at the same time isn’t as stressful at all to the prospect of walking off the ledge :D
It’s an extremely tough decision. I went with the much more passive route and joined a little web development firm. I say firm, but really there are just eight of us that work in a small office.
The probably with this is that I’ve found personal projects don’t get done and I don’t go after any new clients. I don’t particularly want to work a full day only to come home and just pick up right where I left off from work. While I don’t necessarily get all of the projects that I’d enjoy doing (we do a lot of municipalities), I suppose at the end of the day I’m still working in the field that I love, so I really shouldn’t complain.