Taking the plunge: how I knew it was time to freelance full-time

After freelancing for a year, I’ve learned that there are several emotions you encounter on a daily basis. In general, they include (but are not limited to):

  • Fear
  • Excitement
  • Anxiety
  • Relief
  • Thwacking-of-the-forehead

So when I decided it was time to take the plunge and leave my part-time job to pursue freelancing full-time, there were a lot of ‘thwacking-of-the-forehead’ moments.

But after much counsel from trusted professionals and my supportive husband, I was able to confidently understand the pro’s (and possible con’s) of diving into the wide world of full-time freelancing.

But how did I get to the point where leaving my part-time job began to be an option? Here are a few questions I asked myself that pushed me over the edge.

1. Do I enjoy my current part-time job?

To help with context, I think it’s only fair to tell you what my part-time job was.

For the last two years I have had the pleasure of recording lectures for KUOW npr 94.9 FM’s Thursday night show Speakers Forum, under the amazing leadership of producer John O’Brien. In basic summary, I traveled to a variety of venues in the Seattle area and recorded an assortment of lectures, which then were edited and broadcasted by John for the program.

Because my main workplace was the many venues of Seattle, my only appearances at KUOW’s physical station were equipment drop-offs, which had me in-and-out within 15 minutes. Every time I walked into the station, I was surrounded by friendly strangers who I would barely consider co-workers.

On top of this, I live about 40 minutes away from Seattle; and when I say 40 minutes away, I mean 40 minutes on a good day. In reality, my commute usually averaged 1.25 hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

And during that 1.25 hours of driving, I sat there thinking of the work I could be doing at home. In my home office. Without a commute. And my dog.

When I got to the venue, the lectures always provided interesting entertainment, but when they were over I would once again be faced with that long commute.

So did I enjoy my job? Of course! Did I enjoy the commute? Not so much.


2. Does my current job allow me to work towards my long term goals?

In order to fully answer this question, I needed to answer the more pressing question: what are my long term goals?

At the beginning of the year, I set specific goals for my business, including:

  • Obtaining a certain amount of yearly income.
  • Procuring a specific amount of clients.
  • Attending at least 1 local design conference (I’m considering the Seattle Interactive Conference).

In addition to these goals, my husband and I have several personal goals that correlate with our financial situation, which include:

  • Paying off school debt.
  • Saving money to purchase a house.

The real question came down to this: does my part-time job allow me to accomplish any of these goals? While it does slightly increase our monthly income, it doesn’t provide enough that it would be missed.

Therefore, the overall answer: negative.


3. Does my freelancing work conflict with my part-time job? (Time, money, energy, etc.)

At this point, the answer seemed obvious.

The time I spent driving in and out of Seattle could be better spent helping my business by sending off invoices, pitching to clients, working on client projects, updating my website, writing blog posts, etc. The list could go on and on.

All of those actions directly effected my time, money, energy, etc., so the overall answer was yes.


4. If I left my part-time job, what would change in my daily life?

Right off the bat, there were some obvious changes that would occur.

  • I could eat dinner at home.
  • I wouldn’t need to take a day off of work to run errands.
  • I could spend more time with friends and family.

As for what would change for my business, see question 3.

My Overall conclusion? It’s time to Take the plunge!

Working at KUOW was a great experience, but it is time to move forward with my career as a professional designer, not a small-time journalist.

And while this continues to be a daily struggle, I truly believe this is the right decision for me and my business.

Sayonara KUOW, and cheers to full-time freelancing!

hagrid waving goodbye