The short answer is YES!
However, before we get ahead of ourselves, we really need to sit down and ask a few questions.
Why do you want (or need) to freelance? There could be any number of reasons why someone would choose to freelance. Identifying the reasons will help shape the amount of time and energy you dedicate to freelancing.
Here is a (non-definitive) list of reasons you may want to start freelancing. If I missed any, please comment below!
— Increase income
— Re-ignite passion for development
— Learn new technologies
— Take on new challenges
— Distraction (yes, sometimes life is hard and increasing your workload can help some people cope. I’m not here to judge, I’m here to support. You know what’s best for you.)
— Give purpose. People need purpose to thrive, and if your day job has become monotonous, you can regain your purpose with new projects.
— Establish an exit plan. This may be because you are unhappy in your current job, of just looking for a new adventure.
These are all legitimate reasons to begin freelancing. The goal is to become aware of your driving force, and note it.
What is your current schedule?
It’s important to take a truthful look at how much time you have to dedicate to freelancing.
Take an honest inventory of the following, and count how much time you have outside of these activities to dedicate. For example, a 40 hour workweek can quickly turn into 60+ hours when you take everything into account.
Here are some items you’ll need to add up to realize the total hours you can dedicate to projects outside of your day job.
— “At Work” hours. These are the hours that you spend at the office, make sure to include lunch hours and breaks in here too because that is time you are still in the headspace of work.
— Commuting hours
— Family responsibilities and errands. Be sure to factor in the time you need to take your child to soccer practice, and the days you need to go grocery shopping and do laundry.
— Extracurricular activities. Be sure to block off the nights that yo have band practice or blocks of time you have vacation planned.
Now, count up your non-available hours and begin to block off days you would not be available to work. What does that leave you with?
Maybe you have every Tuesday and Thursday from 6pm – 11pm, and Sunday afternoons from 1pm – 8pm. That gives you 17 hours per week that you can dedicate to your freelance business.
What is your end goal?
This is important to identify, because it is the driving force that goes into all of the work you do.
Usually the main goal of freelancing falls into one of the following categories.
1. You want to leave your full-time job
2. You want to work 10 – 15 hours a week on top of your full-time job
It’s important to get clear on which one of these applies to you because it will determine what sort of freelancing work you should be focussing on.
What kinds of freelancing are there?
Basically, there are two major types.
2. Project Owner
As a sub-contractor, you would typically take on contracts within a larger company, where you are not interacting with the client directly. Rather, you would be responsible for completing a portion of a project and send your deliverables to the company that is running the entire project. At that point, they would compile all of the parts and present the final product to their client. In these scenarios, you usually charge a flat, hourly or weekly rate and take on a project for a set period of time. This would be best suited for those who are keeping their full-time job, but looking for additional work on the side.
As a project owner, you would have direct contact with the client, as well as be fully responsible for all of the deliverables of the project (as opposed to a single aspect of it). In this scenario, you are setting your own prices, and meeting your own deliverables. However, you are also responsible for all client management, acquisition, completion, and termination. These aspects of freelancing can take up a considerable amount of time, so these additional tasks need to be worked into your available schedule.
In both of these scenarios, you are responsible for your own taxes, invoicing and time/task management.
Making the transition from working full-time to freelancing can be a challenging, yet rewarding journey. The key to getting started, is getting clarity.
There are many more considerations when choosing to enter the world of freelance, but these are some of the most important questions you can ask yourself.
Have you thought about any of the above questions? How much time do you have to dedicate? I would love to know in the comments below.
Until next time,