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Freelancing: when should you give up your day job?

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Freelancing is risky
Being the owner of a small business is often challenging. There may be dry spells without an income, or times when you’ll have more work than you can deal with. If you add to this the fact that as a novice freelancer often you don’t have a network of potential clients and a reputation to gain new ones you can see giving up your day job may cause too much stress and send you back into 9 to 5 employment within a few months.

Bills still need to be paid
Even if you already have a few clients coming in, it’s important to remember that business payment terms are often different than those you are used to as a consumer. Most business won’t pay until the end of a project, or even 30 or 60 days afterwards. In most cases, you small business cash-flow won’t be positive for the first two months, and during that time you still need to pay your bills and your rent. Giving up your day job without having the money to survive those crucial first months is a decision many freelancers end up regretting.

When to give up your day job
If you are serious about becoming a full time freelancer you should make a plan, and include on it working both your day job and freelancer projects for a while. This will give you time to establish yourself, get some clients, a business bank account and do all the starting up paperwork without running out of day to day money. Make sure your nightly shift as a freelancer doesn’t affect your day job and monitor your workload closely so your current employee has no reason to complain.

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