Sunday evening - It's the last night of your off, but instead of enjoying it, you're feeling restless.
Just the thought of starting another workweek makes you uneasy. Even nauseous.
But even though you silently scream “I don’t want to work!” in your head, you know this pattern all too well.
The very next day, you’ll still get up and force yourself to work – because you have bills to pay.
You desperately want to quit, but then what?
Even though this work-from-home FREELANCE thingy you've been seeing online sounds promising, it also seems ... scary.
How do you know when it’s time to leave your full-time job to go freelance?
Well, I was in this very same situation just a year ago.
And indeed, I felt scared too.
I already had some freelancing experience then, but resigning from my full-time job was a big move for me. (It is - for anyone.)
I had thoughts like, “What if I don’t get hired?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if my family would starve?”, “What if..., etc.”
I even got opinions from friends and colleagues who knew nothing about freelancing (of course, they weren’t very helpful).
What helped me, though, was confronting myself and searching for answers to my questions. This prepared me for the big decision I was about to make.
And you'll have to do the same.
Because frankly, you are solely responsible for every decision you make.
To guide you to find your own answers, let me share 5 important things every aspiring freelancer must prepare before quitting their corporate jobs.
Why do you want to freelance?
Spend some quiet time alone and reflect on your answer to this.
If you’re unhappy with your job, find out the cause. What is it that makes you unhappy?
Do you really dislike your job? Maybe it’s your boss or your peers that’s stressing you out? Would transferring to a different company or department change your mind?
Is the work schedule too much? Would taking a vacation help?
Do you feel that your salary isn’t enough? Would waiting for a promotion or asking for a raise be worth it?
Do you want to more spend time with your kids? Are you after the flexibility that comes with working from home?
Whatever your reason is, be honest with yourself.
If possible, exhaust the practical solutions first. You might just need a long break or some heart-to-heart conversation with your boss.
But if freelancing is your only viable solution, write down your reasons.
Also, set clear goals and identify what it is that you want to achieve with freelancing. Trust me, these would be your biggest motivators when stepping out of your comfort zone gets, well, uncomfortable.
Once you're really sure, proceed to prepare for the next item.
⊗⊗⊗ If you only want to freelance because you think you’ll get some fast and easy money online, then stay where you are.
Freelancing is NOT easy. And if comfort and money are your ONLY reasons, then think again.
You can ask any successful freelancer (or check out our JasSuccess interviews). No one had a smooth ride to get to where they are.
Especially when you’re starting out, you must be willing to put in some effort to get good results.
To work online, you must have access to a computer with an internet connection.
I emphasized access because the computer doesn’t have to be yours. I started out by borrowing a laptop from a friend until I could afford to buy my own.
I also know some freelancers who have started their careers by renting seats in an internet café.
That’s alright because if you’re focused enough, you’ll be able to afford your own equipment after just a few projects.
But if you already own one or have enough savings to buy, at least, a 2nd hand unit, then great!
⊗⊗⊗ If you’re planning to work using just your smartphone or tablet, I’m afraid those won’t be enough to earn a sustainable income.
Before resigning, make sure that you have learned as much as you can about freelancing. There’s no better time to start learning than while you’re still employed.
When people are scared or worried, it’s mostly because they aren’t familiar with a certain situation yet.
The more you learn and understand freelancing, the more confident you'll become.
Better yet, why don't you jump right in and start creating an online profile? This gives you a chance to see how your skills fit the market, to study your competition, and to start applying for jobs.
Getting hired for part-time tasks is the best way to get firsthand freelancing experience. You never know, you might even find long-term clients waiting for you when you resign (I’ve seen this happen A LOT!).
⊗⊗⊗ Don’t quit your job thinking ‘bahala na, madami namang typing jobs dyan.’
Sure, there are thousands of typing jobs, but there are millions of competitors, too. You better take this seriously and learn how to stand out online.
If you don’t have a client waiting for you when you resign, make sure to have saved at least 6 months’ worth of your expenses. Your investments, insurances and other paper assets don’t count here.
This amount serves as a buffer so that you can afford your normal lifestyle for 6 months while applying for online jobs.
The 6 months also serve as your hard deadline to land a job, so give your best shot.
If you think you need more than 6 months, you can save a year or two worth!
To show you how to calculate your target emergency fund, here’s how I computed mine:
Monthly Expenses for a Family of 6
Everyone’s expenses differ. If you’re single and aren’t supporting anyone, you might need to save less than I did. The more dependents you have, the higher your lifestyles costs are, the more you need to save.
That's why it's important that you create your own list, too. Multiply your monthly expenses by 6 and check your bank balance to see if you’re ready.
⊗⊗⊗ If you don’t have a client nor enough savings, I don’t advise quitting your job yet. Stay for a bit more, putting in some real effort to save. Trust me, you’ll save yourself a huge amount of stress.
As I said earlier, freelancing is not easy, especially when you’re starting out.
So, you must keep your heart strong and your mind ready for challenges.
You will meet opposition from friends and family. They will think that you’re being weird and might even try to talk you out of your plans.
You will encounter challenges online – rejected proposals, ‘barat’ clients, scammy offers, etc.
You will even start to doubt yourself and your skills.
But if you’re prepared, you will already EXPECT all these.
You must already know that freelancing is a REAL career with some REAL trials to mentally prepare for.
The beauty of it is that YOU are in charge of your own progress.
If you can persevere through these challenges and consistently train yourself to work towards your goals, then you’ll go a long way online.
⊗⊗⊗ If you can’t work responsibly on your own, then it’s easier to work for a company who sets the rules and a boss who checks on you constantly.
If you care too much about what other people think and rejections cripple you, then you’re better off staying in your comfort zone until you’re ready.
At the end of the day, you’re the best person to figure out whether you’re ready or not.
Just be careful, though - it’s possible to be ready in all five things (motivators, tools, skills, savings, and mind) and still feel scared.
It’s one thing to be totally unprepared for something and it’s another thing to be too scared to grab new opportunities.
Don’t miss out on something that could be great, just because it could also be difficult and scary.
What’s stopping you from going into freelancing?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.