There isn’t a week that goes by where an aspiring freelancer doesn’t ask me, “How did you know it was time to quit your job and freelance full-time? I think I need to quit my job but I’m not sure if I’m ready.”
The short answer is no one can tell you when it’s the right time to quit your job. It’s a very personal decision and there’s no guidebook for it. Everyone’s situation is vastly different so there really is no “Achieve these five milestones!” or “Make this much money!” before you decide to quit your job to freelance full-time. In fact, I often times end up telling coaching clients and blog readers to trust their gut.
However, I do find that it helps when people who have quit their jobs to freelance full-time share their experiences in how they knew it was time. Here is a collection of some of the most common signs I’ve heard from full-time freelancers.
Your job is getting in the way of making more money.
I knew it was time to quit my job when I realized my job was taking up precious time that I could have dedicated to making way more money. This didn’t mean I’d see way more money right away (though I did make more in my first year), but I did know that if I just had the time to work on my business that I could earn far more money than I ever could at my job.
Fast forward a few years and I was right. In May of 2016, I earned more than three times what I’d bring home in monthly pay from my last job. Note, this is what I paid myself after business expenses. If I counted total business revenue then I blew my last job out of the water.
Your health is in jeopardy.
Your health is the most important thing you have, so if it’s being jeopardized I think it’s safe to take it as a big neon sign that it’s time to quit your job. You can’t make money if you’re sick anyway, so health is definitely something you shouldn’t mess with.
However, it’s important to note that freelancing full-time may not help your health. I don’t want anyone quitting based on unrealistic expectations here. The reality is the first few years are rough from a financial perspective and can cause a lot of stress.
The good news is you would at least have the ability to make sure you take care of yourself as a business owner. This is something that is harder to do when you’re regularly employed and your boss is expecting you in the office 50+ hours a week.
You’ve got some sort of financial net in place.
There is nothing that pains me more than seeing someone quit their jobs only to have to find a new job a few months later because they didn’t have some sort of financial net in place to keep them afloat.
In my case, I didn’t quit until I had some money coming in from freelancing and coaching, I had a nice chunk of savings in the bank and I knew I could crash with family while I figured everything out. These three things made it much easier for me to take a risk and quit.
However, I do understand that we don’t live in a perfect world. Not everyone has an awesome family like I do or a spouse that will support them. Not everyone can even have as much of a financial safety net as I did. That’s why it’s important to just do the best you can. As long as you have something in place and know what you’re getting yourself into, then you should be okay to quit your job.