A Freelancer’s Eternal Dilemma: Full Time or Part Time?
A freelancer’s most difficult decision would come at a point when it’s time to choose between going full-time or continuing part-time. The issue is not whether to make the change or not, but rather if you are ready to make this big jump or not.
Going all the way and plunging into the business of being an entrepreneur is not a small decision. It is a great prospect to be your own boss, do your own projects and make a good living from the comfort of your own home.
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Many have made the mistake of jumping into the deep end too soon and too unprepared; a mistake that can drain you of your passion and put you into great financial, mental and emotional turmoil.
Before making any major decisions, consider carefully if you are ready to go into the business full time.
Can You Commit Completely?
Start-ups require a great deal of commitment. If you cannot fully commit to it, you won’t find joy in the work and you won’t be able to sustain yourself for long. Don’t quit your full time job unless you are ready to commit fully to freelance work as a means of supporting yourself. If you are able to obtain a steady income through your freelance work while still holding a full time job, consider if you are ready and willing to make the change and if you’re prepared to make that change.
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Once you make the decision to go into freelancing full time, ensure that you are ready to strive for success in this career path you have chosen. Don’t leave any room for failure, just success. To do this, you must prepare yourself for what is to come. As mentioned in Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad’s Before You Quit Your Job, before quitting your job, ensure that you have all the necessary skills to survive when you’re out there on your own.
Of course it is not a must to quit your full time job. Some full time jobs are such that it allows you to juggle between the office work and your freelance work. If you can handle the pressure and manage to remain creative while juggling two careers, it is definitely a plus. Being able to do so allows you to transition more easily becoming a full time freelancer as you would have survived the hard part of this path.
Seek Out Your Freelance Soul Mates
You are not alone. Or rather, you do not have to be all on your own. The world of freelancing is a highly competitive one. However, it does not mean that everyone is a competitor and you must do it all on your own. Two heads are better than one. When you only have yourself to fall back on, the pressures are so great that you might burn out too fast. Seeking another person’s insight regarding important and hard decisions can help you to look at the problem from an entirely different perspective.
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Working with another person will also enable you to bounce creative ideas off each other and keep the concepts fresh and innovative. We are all imperfect creatures. Find someone whom you trust and can compensate for your flaws as you do for his or her flaws.
Another advantage to having a working partner is being able to have someone to encourage and motivate you when the going gets tough. Together, you and your partner will help each other to push through the tough days and you will also have someone to celebrate with in your successes.
Working as a team has its benefits, however, remember that too many cooks spoil the broth. A good-sized team would be between two to four people. While there are no major issues of having two or four in a team, an odd number would make the decision making process an easier one because you will always have a tie-breaker in the event of a draw. It is good to have diversity but still important to have like-minded individuals with similar interests to minimize the possible differences you might have while working together under pressure.
No man is an island, entire of itself – John Donne
Is This Really What You Want?
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Buying a house is a big decision. Prior to buying a house and spending all that money, you will want to view the house, shop around, and work out your budget and finances. Starting your own freelance business is the same. You have to do your homework before you go out and try to strike it on your own. While you can't stay a night at a house you intend to buy, luckily for you, freelancers can try out the lifestyle of being a freelancer to determine if it is a path they’d enjoy.
Take a few weeks off from your full time job to concentrate on a freelance job you have. During this time, also ask yourself some of the questions below to help you determine if you’re ready to take the next big step into the world of freelancing full time.
- What are the reasons behind you wanting to be a freelancer? Is it to make more money? Or simply because you dislike your boss or current workplace?
- Why did you take up your full time job in the first place? Has your passion for the field died?
- Is it possible for you to freelance part time while continuing to work full time?
- Are you able to sustain yourself if you freelance full time? Do you have other commitments or responsibilities that might be threatened or threaten to affect your wish to freelance full time?
- Is this really what you want? Or are you doing this on the spur of the moment because you envy the lifestyle other freelancers have and seem to enjoy?
Speak to friends who have been freelancing full time to find out more about the lifestyle, the problems they face, and listen to their stories and experiences. What might seem like a bed of roses to you may have hidden thorns that you do not know of. Doing your research and discovering if freelancing is right for you is crucial. Not everyone is suited to the lifestyle of a freelancer.
Listen Then Decide
There is always someone more experienced that you in any field. And even if you’re the best, never let arrogance rule your actions. Pride comes before a fall. Listen to what your more experienced freelancing friends have to say. Their advice should not fall on deaf ears.
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They might not be absolutely correct and their methods may not be the only way to achieve something. However, take in all that they offer to you as suggestion and bear them in mind. Ultimately, you are the decision maker of your life. But always observe all the possibilities and consider all the advice others have given you then make your own decisions.
Find out who you are, and do it on purpose – Dolly Parton
Time to Jump into the Deep End
Impatience and rashness are natural especially when we are filled with excitement over something we want to achieve or obtain. It is times like these that we must all do our best to be rational and to consider all the pros and cons of our choices. Rushing into the wrong decision or conclusion is not wise. Consider carefully the reasons why you want to become a full time freelancer.
Is this a dilemma you are facing right now? Has this article been of use to you? If you’ve been in this situation before and come out of it doing alright for yourself, what advice can you give to those who are facing this dilemma?
Share your experiences and tips here so that everyone can benefit from them. If you have made your decision to step out as a full time freelancer but you’re not sure where to go from here, check out our series Six Strategies on what to consider in regards to starting your own company.