Author Topic: Quit Day Job and Freelance?  (Read 2210 times)

wealthviahealth

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Quit Day Job and Freelance?
« on: March 23, 2015, 07:28:20 AM »
It sounds like a lot of folks on here freelance on the side of their day job and many hope
to leave their day job in search of something else.

I am currently in that boat and have been starting to toy with the idea of having only freelance jobs and am wondering if this
is advisable from a career growth perspective.
What I find most appealing is having multiple freelance jobs/ sources of income that I can experiment with and leave if I ever find my self less than happy. That way I never really have all of the pressure that comes with having to impress a boss or deal with
anxiety's surrounding layoffs, work drama, strict policy's, etc..

Would this be a bad move for a 27 year old? I would love to work form home, be my own boss, and get to experiment with all sorts
of jobs instead of focusing on just one. I would just hate to have to enter a "real" job again later down the line and have my resume look scattered and not show growth within a company.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 04:56:57 PM by wealthviahealth »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Freedom through Freelancing ( Multiple jobs, no one "real" job)
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2015, 07:55:20 AM »
I freelanced as a full time job when I was laid off. At the time there was no ACA, so I was lucky to have healthcare through my husband. Thankfully that is not a hurdle any longer (though maybe it will become a hurdle again in the future...)

My experience is- it wasn't worth it for me.
Work was so intermittent, I was often working 18-20 hour days, because it was difficult to turn down work in busy times, not knowing how long the next lean time was.  I had a lot of anxiety over whether I could keep this going until I found a full time job, or if we were going to be in real trouble if the work dried up.  (In the end, I made more as a freelancer than I would have working a job... but with no benefits, and no days off.)

In my industry, companies set the pay rate, not the contractor- so if the pay was too low, my only option was to not take work (and I did do that for low pay), it wasn't possible to say I wanted more money when bidding for work.

Self employment taxes are incredibly high. Make sure you keep that in mind when planning any budgeting.


For me personally- I would not do it again.

But when I stop working, picking up a freelance job here or there would be a great way to supplement.

wealthviahealth

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Re: Freedom through Freelancing ( Multiple jobs, no one "real" job)
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2015, 05:00:04 PM »


My experience is- it wasn't worth it for me.
Work was so intermittent, I was often working 18-20 hour days, because it was difficult to turn down work in busy times, not knowing how long the next lean time was.  I had a lot of anxiety over whether I could keep this going until I found a full time job, or if we were going to be in real trouble if the work dried up.  (In the end, I made more as a freelancer than I would have working a job... but with no benefits, and no days off.)


This is good to know. I wonder if this would differ from the type of work I am looking at- sales/business dev where there are major commissions based on closing and less emphasis on time spent "clocked in" 

Joshin

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Re: Quit Day Job and Freelance?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2015, 05:12:01 PM »
I went fulltime freelance but in my industry there wasn't much choice. When the dinosaurs died (in the publishing industry) you ended up in a food line, working for laughable wages, went back to grad school, or you struck out on your own.

Many of my former co-workers couldn't hack freelancing. It takes a certain amount of self-discipline and a willingness to put in a lot of "free" time in the beginning. There's isolation and motivation issues. There's a bit of fear, often pushed to the back burner. There's a lot of boundary issues you have to work through with others. It was hard enough in the early days that I still scoured job postings daily.Now I wouldn't trade freelancing for anything.

I don't know enough about freelancing in your specific industry, so here's some general advice, for what little that it's worth: Build it up as a side gig first. See if you have the discipline that it takes. Being a disciplined person isn't enough, this is a whole new level of discipline. If you have the ability to focus on it enough to make it a workable income as a side gig, and you are still enjoying it as a side gig, then it may be worth it to pursue it fulltime.

zurich78

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Re: Quit Day Job and Freelance?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2015, 07:57:29 PM »
I would ride out the corporate thing as long as you can.  Lots of benefits to that like 401k matching, espp, medical coverage, PTO, etc.  I don't plan to freelance until I have enough money to get by without freelancing so that it is truly free.

You may not be a slave to a company, but you're a slave to your clients unless you have enough saved away to say no.

Spondulix

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Re: Quit Day Job and Freelance?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2015, 09:01:08 PM »
I went freelance cause I had a client offer to hire me contract (vs through the company I was working for at the time). It worked great for that (I was freelance 7 years), but now that I'm in a job again, it'd take a lot to get me to go all freelance again.

Positives:
Flexible work schedule, no conflicts of interest (everyone knows you're working with multiple companies), freedom over your own job and company (hire an assistant and charge the same rate!); there's freedom to turn down a gig or client if you don't want to do it (if business is good.) You control your destiny.

Negative:
You become your own accountant, sales person, HR, assistant, etc etc, and all of those duties are unpaid.
I felt constantly on-call - It took years for the fear to go away that I could go away for a week and wouldn't lose work. Clients deadlines had to come first, so I missed important events, birthdays, etc.
When work was slow, it was stressful. It sounds great to work 4 days a week or have 2 unexpected weeks off when you're employed... when you're freelance, your eye is always on the bank account.
Individual health care plans suck (in the US).
It's tough to have the diligence to invest when you're freelance (especially if you have business expenses)

In my field, it's normal for people to go back and forth to freelance. I don't have it as 10 line items for each of my contract jobs - just the name of my own company (with a time overlap with the old job).

In retrospect... I wouldn't go freelance just to have control over myself or a company. I'd do it cause it's going to open up doors in your career (that you can't get elsewhere) and I'd do it for a big pay bump. I'd also do it if I had a good nest egg already in savings. A colleague used to call it a "f**k you fund". If you don't have a good buffer, then you get stuck saying yes to crappy clients sometimes just to pay the bills. It's nice to have a little freedom to say no (to the bad ones).