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Freelance Writing: Should I Quit My Day Job?

Updated on October 10, 2014

Freelancing as a Career

Freelancing: You've gotten a client or two, signed up for a content mill, received a few virtual paychecks, and now you're wondering where this crazy world of freelancing can lead you. Should you quit your day job? Can you make more money freelancing than you do at work? What should you do?

Making a Freelancing Plan

The first step to evaluating whether to quit your day job and strike out as a freelancer is making a plan. Remember, as a freelancer you are in charge of obtaining your income. There's no paycheck for showing up. So think about how much money you want to earn in a year and break it out by 12. Use your monthly amount to set a daily financial goal. Then review your past performance and your client list to see whether you would reasonably be able to meet your goal every day and every month.

Freelance writing and many other freelance careers have high and low seasons. For freelance writing, summer is often a time of peak demand and winter (January on) is relatively low. If you've just gotten started, know that you may be in a peak period. During a low period, you will need to hustle harder to find work -- and this means getting as many writing opportunities as you can. Consider signing up to be a part of Freelance Writers Den, an online community with training courses and job opportunities.

As part of your plan, read other accounts from working freelancer writers in your industry. Network with folks you know irl or online to see what works (and didn't work) for them. It's far better to find out that freelancing isn't right for you before you quit your day job than once you're conventionally unemployed.

When You Should Think About Quitting

If you get laid off and you have been freelancing, then there's no time like the present to give full-time freelancing a go. However, quitting should not be done lightly. Before you take the leap, you need to know you can handle it. These positive signs indicate that you're in a good place to quit your day job and give freelancing your all:

  • You've crunched the numbers and you have reasonable confidence you can meet your monthly minimum
  • You have a stable roster of clients that provide regular work in your field, and a few prospects to explore
  • You believe that you could be making more by freelancing for the day than by showing up at your 9-5
  • You've been at it long enough to know how to motivate yourself even when you're not in the mood -- what's fun at first can become a drag when you're doing it all day
  • You are willing to hustle
  • You're committed to continuing to learn and grow on the job

Game out your new freelance career before you quit your job.

When Quitting is a Bad Idea

There are many reasons you might want to keep your day job. Serious obstacles that indicate now is a bad time to quit include:

  • Lack of regular work in your pipeline (or well-paid work)
  • Not enough (or any) clients
  • No savings to fall back on
  • Lack of proper work space at home
  • Problems staying organized, motivated, or productive when freelancing
  • Gap between skill set and skills needed for the job

If quitting is a bad idea now, but you want to freelance full time, identify the variables standing in your way and work to eliminate them. With time, determination, and grit, you can maneuver yourself to be in an ideal position to freelance full time and work from home.


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