By Jonathan London on 26th June 2015

Knowing when it’s right to call time on your permanent role

The benefits of going freelance are well-known to most professionals, so it’s likely that a lot of workers have at some point in their careers weighed up the pros and cons of taking the self-employed route.

However, even among those who’ve concluded that freelance work may very well be a good pathway for them, it can be hard to break yourself out of the safe, predictable routine that the typical nine-to-five office job can create. Leaving your permanent job and taking a step out into the world of self-employment can feel like a significant and daunting move, especially for those with no past experience of temporary contract-based work.

Yet there’s a decent chance that you may well be more ready for the move than you perhaps realise. For every person who genuinely isn’t prepared to make that kind of change, there’s another who would probably thrive if they just took the plunge, with the only thing holding them back being a failure to ask themselves the right questions.

As such, it’s worth thinking about a few common signs that you’re ready for freelance work, and see if they apply to you. If you find they do, it may be the right moment to call time on your permanent role and take that first step into a larger world.

You have a dream
Let’s face it: as much as big companies like to lecture their employees about their corporate “vision” and “values”, there often isn’t that much room for individual members of staff to really express themselves and follow their own personal dreams and desires.

If you have your own vision for a business or a certain working lifestyle that just isn’t ever going to be possible in your current job, then it may be time to consider moving on. By going freelance, you’ll have a unique opportunity to seize back control of your own destiny and run a business the way you want it to be run, in the field of your choosing.

You’re ready to say bye to your boss
Ah, bosses – it’s fair to say these divisive figures don’t have the best reputation in terms of public consciousness, thanks to the fame of fictional nightmare managers like David Brent of The Office or Mr Burns from The Simpsons.

Of course, the reason characters like these strike such a chord is because there’s a degree of truth to them. Most of us have had to work under micromanagers, tyrants and bureaucrats at some point, and if you find your blood boiling at the mere mention of your line manager’s name, then that could be all the impetus you need to ditch the company.

Still, it’s worth pointing out that your boss doesn’t need to be a nightmare ogre; for some people, working under someone else is just never going to suit their style or personality. If you feel you just can’t express yourself and reach your potential despite your manager’s best intentions, then going freelance might actually be best for everyone.

You want to tip your work-life balance in your favour
Even the most conscientious and self-sacrificing person is likely to reach a point in their life when they start to wonder what all their time and energy is actually being used for. If you’re in a job you hate or simply aren’t passionate about, the answer to this question can often be sobering.

Taking control of your own work-life balance is one of the most appealing aspects of freelancing. Instead of spending 80% of your waking hours making money for someone else, you can set your own schedule, spend more time looking after your own needs and dedicate the rest to doing work you enjoy and are good at. Even on days where you’re working long hours on a big project, that knowledge makes it all so much more fulfilling and worthwhile.

You’re ready to build on your financial foundations
Going freelance can be an extremely profitable venture, but it’s not without its risks – especially when you’re first starting out, it’s inevitable you’ll run into some teething problems, lean periods or mistakes that will set you back a bit financially.

For these reasons, launching a freelance career on a shoestring is a bit of a gamble; however, for those who have some decent financial foundations in place already and are looking to develop them further, self-employment can be a very attractive option. After all, you’ll have the ability to grow and develop the business at your own pace, innovate fearlessly without anyone holding you back, and reap the rewards for yourself, rather than paying money into someone else’s pocket.

You’re excited about stepping into the unknown
For all of the benefits and opportunities that self-employment can provide you, there’s one thing that you can never really count on while running your own business, and that’s certainty. When you’re working freelance, you need to be prepared for risk-taking, for peaks and troughs, and for the prospect of noble failure as well as glorious success.

That’s why you need to ask yourself how you feel about stepping out of your comfortable rut and into the unknown. If the prospect scares you on a fundamental level, then maybe self-employment isn’t right for you; however, if the concept fires your adrenaline and leaves you feeling eager to embrace the new challenge, then there’s a good chance that a successful freelance career lies ahead.

Jonathan London Written by Jonathan London

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