If you’ve been an employee for most of your career, deciding to branch out on your own as a freelancer is a big decision. Taking this leap isn’t always an easy one—even if you’re bored out of your mind, you’re no longer invited to important meetings, or people stop answering your emails. Sometimes it’s just what you need to motivate you to make a change and experience the benefits of freelancing—freedom, flexibility, and exciting opportunities.
So how do you fight the urge to remain in a job that no longer suits you in the hopes that things will get better? Or do you just grab the next corporate job offered to you, even if it’s far from ideal? When are you ready to give yourself permission to just say, “Enough is enough—I want to go out on my own and nothing can stop me?” Here are some considerations that can help you with that decision.
1. Your work is no longer challenging, and you don’t see a future career path
Perhaps when you started with the company, you worked on interesting projects. As you became more familiar with the tasks, the assignments became more routine. For example, you always thought there was room for growth and that you’d be able to move from being a specialist to a project manager. Now the company is downsizing, and that’s no longer an option.
2. The corporate culture is changing and you’re losing control
Even during a pandemic, it’s still possible to stay connected and feel part of a team if the company has a good remote culture. But if you’re a creative type, like a designer or writer, who had always been encouraged to develop new concepts and ideas, and your new boss is a micro-manager who is way more focused on the process instead of the product, you might be happier in an environment that gives you more creative freedom.
3. You want a better work-life balance and schedule
Do you find yourself tied to a computer in your home office all day trying to meet a deadline when you’d rather take a break and go to your daughter’s ballgame? Maybe you’d like to help at your son’s elementary school class periodically, but it conflicts with your work schedule. Wouldn’t it be nice to have time to take a yoga class at the gym in the middle of the day instead of at 6 a.m. before you have to get ready for a commute or a series of never-ending meetings? When you’re a freelancer, you can find an opportunity that lets you set your own working hours.
4. You’d like to work for different companies in more than one industry
Maybe you’ve spent a few years working in tech and you’d like to try something new as an online freelancer. Many freelancers work for multiple clients in a variety of industries, and it gives them the opportunity to discover new products, have different responsibilities, and grow professionally. If one client doesn’t work out the way you expect, you can move on to the next one until you find the right match. In a corporate job, you don’t usually have that flexibility. Plus, you can live wherever you want, you’re not limited to a set corporate salary, and there are so many opportunities for freelancers to increase their earnings.
5. You want to make a change and are prepared to make the leap
This is a great time to be a freelancer. It’s easy to find new and exciting projects and you can get paid quickly by using an online freelance marketplace, such as goLance. The platform you use should have everything you need to find work, connect you with the right client, and provide resources to track your time.
Once you experience the benefits of freelancing, being able to set your own hours, work from anywhere, and choose your clients and the type of work that you enjoy, you may wish you became a freelancer sooner.
Linda Donovan, a marketing consultant, wrote this article for goLance, where she happily works on projects as a freelancer.