If your hobby or outside interest is blowing up like you'd never imagined, wealth may be around the corner. However, this leap can bring mixed results. We've all read the freelancer or small business stories where someone quit their regular job to dedicate themselves to their true passion. While most of the accounts are truthful, some may not reveal everything that went on behind the scenes. Losing a major asset to pay bills, drastically downsizing, or having relationship problems (or dissolution) are common factors when making this change.
The good news is there are many resources that can make the transition smoother. Also, there are things you can note that could use improvement before taking the leap. If you have a full-time job or strong career prospect, walking away can be the best thing you've done - or the worst. What you need to keep in mind first and foremost is to not act on impulse or your emotions.
Depending on your lifestyle, you can probably afford to make a sacrifice or two. If you have a partner or other person you can lean on for financial support, this is even better. Just keep in mind too that our current economy will play a role in how much your products or services will be needed in the future. Here are some facts that can help you decide whether you should tell your boss to kiss off.
You Have a Steady Clientele
People come and go in small businesses just like any other relationship. Unless you have a contract in place, you can't always count on that revenue. While long-term relationships can provide some stability, it's best to keep your marketing efforts steady and sound. Meaning you should look out for your competitors and be prepared to offer promotional deals during peak periods. It also helps to treat clients to a freebie or other useful product from time to time.
Your Standing at Work is Good
No one really wants to tell off their boss, even when they've been less than nice. However, most managers and supervisors realize that employees sometimes have unrelated career aspirations. Sometimes, there's no right way to approach this but honesty helps. Also, if there are some weak areas, you might want to focus on fixing this before jumping ship. Should you be uncertain about your future, your last review should give you a clue as to whether you can be rehired.
You Can Outsource Successfully
It may seem like an additional expense or cutting into profits but if it's not time to resign, it may work. When client orders increase, your work-life balance can take a hit. Then again, your success can go in waves, and getting someone who's experienced can help you plan the future. There's nothing worse than dealing with money shortages AND a subcontractor that may not live up to your expectation. If money is especially tight, try to get a college or vocational student to work at a low rate for the experience.
You've Saved an Ample Amount of Cash
This is a lesson for anyone who chooses to use credit cards, draw against a pension, or even take out a loan. If you took out an SBA loan and are paying it off successfully, wait before asking for a line increase. Even with the best forecasting, your small business can take an unexpected hit. On average, six to nine months of your average salary is a recommended amount to have in reserve. However, if you can do a year or two, it will give you breathing room in case restructuring is needed.
You Have a Solid Support System
For the longest, I've always felt that if a person wanted something bad enough, they wouldn't need anyone else's feedback. Well, I learned the hard way when my ex-fiance told me to "put on a uniform". In other words, being a rent-a-cop or assembly worker (where I have no experience in either) is better than waiting for deadbeat clients to pay up. This is true but I really missed the advice of friends who worked in admin support like I did. Then again, you took the leap because you hated your job or the industry you were once a part of. Being in active communication with like-minded people can help you find solutions to common freelancing problems.