Many freelancers or solopreneurs don’t simply just impulsively drop everything, quit their job, and start working for themselves. For many, they go through a transitional period where they figure out if freelancing might be right for them, if the lifestyle suits them, and if they’re confident that they can succeed without the security of a 9 to 5 job and regular paycheck. It can be tough to know if you’re ready to take the leap and make that massive bet on yourself and your abilities, and some freelancers can spend weeks, months, or even years before they decide to take their “side-gig” and turn it into a full-time career.
For those that do end up taking the risk, they may quickly find that scaling up their freelance business and making more money is more complicated than they anticipated. People who succeed as full-time freelancers and solopreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, and may find success for a whole variety of different reasons. However, there are some things that they all tend to have in common that have all played major roles in their successes. These are 5 ways to know if you might be ready to go independent full time.
You have demonstrated an ability to generate revenue
To succeed as a freelancer you need to be able to make money. Before you even consider freelancing full-time, you not only need to have a skillset to monetize, but you need to demonstrate that your work is good enough that people will be willing to pay for it and pay you the amount that you expect to be able to charge.
It’s no use dropping everything to become a freelancer full time, only to discover that nobody will pay the rate you expect for your work; or worse still, that the standard of quality you deliver isn’t up to professional standards, and the client refuses to pay at all.
Taking on a few clients part-time before committing fully to freelancing will allow you to demonstrate that you can successfully monetize your skills at a certain rate – which should tell you not only if you’re capable, but also how much you’ll need to work at what rate to hit your revenue targets, as well as what kinds of clients you can expect for your prices and the quality you offer.
You understand how to source leads and land clients
Ok, great. You were able to get hired and make some money from your first few projects, and the clients liked your work! Hopefully, that’s given you an understanding of this next point – being able to consistently generate leads and land clients. Even if you can do your work to a good standard of quality – that’s still of no use if you don’t know how to find people to pay you! To survive as a full-time freelancer you need to be able to consistently find projects to work on to keep the money flowing. Remember, you won’t have a regular salary so constantly being able to find projects to work on will be a big factor in whether or not you can support yourself through freelance work. Networking through various freelancer online communities (ahem, like ours at Noumena) or LinkedIn, or finding opportunities on freelance job boards like Upwork will be crucial to ensuring that you always have work to do – and paychecks to cash.
You know how to advocate for yourself
Now, this point is true for all workers (even 9 to 5), but it is especially critical when it comes to freelance work. Any seasoned freelancer can tell you that clients are all different, all have different expectations and some are incredibly difficult to work with. The problem is, their money is still good. Being able to advocate for yourself, confidently communicate your expectations and boundaries, and defend the rates you charge and the quality of work that you produce are all invaluable skills when it comes to negotiating engagement contracts, especially when it comes to a point of disagreement or conflict.
Payments and contract negotiations are such a common point of poor communication and conflict that Noumena has products specifically built to tackle common problems. Faster is a contract-for-cash product that lets you get paid faster, without waiting on your client to respond to your invoice.
You want to freelance full-time
The flexibility and lack of accountability to a boss that comes with a freelance lifestyle is a double-edged sword. If you don’t want to work, you don’t have to – on the other hand, if you don’t want to work, you still need to.
Internal motivation is a huge component of success as a freelancer and your income will directly correlate to how many leads you can source, how many of those leads turn into jobs, and how many jobs you complete to client satisfaction. It is a constant churn, and those without internal motivation to succeed will quickly find themselves either bogged down or falling behind.
You believe in yourself
Confidence is key to success, perhaps more so for freelancers than any other type of work. You need to believe in yourself and your abilities, otherwise, how can you expect anyone else to put their faith (and money) in you?
Confidence is a key attribute for freelancers, particularly in the lead generation and contract negotiation parts of a typical project cycle. If you have the skills and independence and want the work, the only thing left is to believe you can do it.
If you’re thinking of going full-time with your freelance gig, Noumena can give you the knowledge and resources you need to equip yourself for success as a full-time freelancer. Our exclusive, supportive community of freelancers has helped hundreds of people find success in their freelance work. Download the app and join now!