People come to freelancing for different reasons. They might crave more flexibility. Or maybe they want a wider variety of projects to work on. Worst case, they’re in a toxic employment situation and beyond ready to move on. If that’s you, it’s super tempting to just hand in your resignation today. But what about your finances? You need to pile up money to quit your job before you actually quit. You need a safety net.
We’re not financial advisors, so make sure you talk to a licensed professional to figure out precisely what makes sense in your unique situation. Here’s a starting point to ensure you are always 100% in control of your career.
Develop a Marketable Skill—Even if You Don’t Plan to Freelance
Full-time freelancing isn’t for everyone. And that’s perfectly fine! Being an employee has perks.
But if 2020 taught us one important lesson, it’s that no industry is bulletproof. Unforeseen circumstances can have ripple effects across any economy.
Let’s face facts, though: it doesn’t take a pandemic for forces beyond your control to rob you of your career overnight. Mergers, downsizing, the company declaring bankruptcy… As an employee, these kinds of events can be devastating to your job prospects.
You don’t need to worry about these “what-if” scenarios. (In fact, it’s pretty useless to spend energy on worrying!) But at the same time, you can take steps to protect yourself no matter what.
Maybe you’ve seen the writing on the wall and are already stashing away money to quit your job ASAP. On the other hand, you may not see any indication of a storm on the horizon. Either way, we encourage everyone to develop a marketable skill to lean on.
- Hone a skill from your current employment.
- Think about something you do occasionally and could pick up more seriously if the need arose.
- Or decide to start learning something completely different so you can follow your passion!
As long as a business can profit from your knowledge and expertise, you’ll be able to use it to freelance if the need ever arises.
Save Enough To Walk Away When You’ve Had Enough
Once you know what your fall back skill is, you can start getting your bank account in order.
Members of our team have worked in different industries, and as freelancers and employees. We value the control we have in our careers.
Squirreling away enough money to quit your job means freedom.
It means being able to walk away from a bad situation without stressing out about paying your bills.
It’s maintaining control over your career and your prospects, no matter what decisions are made by the powers-that-be.
If the 40+ hours you spend at work each week make you miserable, a healthy savings account gives you power. You can calmly tell your boss, “Thanks for the opportunity. I’m ready to move on now.”
On the flip side, not having enough money to quit your job leads to feeling stuck. Trapped. And life’s too short for that.
The amount you need to save depends completely on you, your situation, and your comfort level. And how you save it is, too!
- You could cancel subscriptions or cut back on expenses.
- You could pay off debt to reduce your risk.
- And of course, you could start freelancing on the side, building up your client base and your income at the same time.
Consider your current finances as you make a realistic action plan. Saving money to quit your job requires taking a long-view and following the steps that you decide to take.
Benefits of Freelancing While On Staff Beyond Making Money to Quit Your Job
Since the idea of having a couple of months’ worth of expenses saved up can feel intimidating, let’s look at the other side of the coin.
Freelancing on the side isn’t only about making money. There are at least three other reasons we recommend you consider taking on freelance gigs while employed:
- Even the occasional client work will help you build confidence in your field.
- You’ll have fresh pieces to add to your portfolio.
- And you’ll ensure your skills stay sharp so you’re ready for anything.
If this perspective feels more encouraging to you, think of the additional income you’ll earn as a bonus toward your savings goal. After all, being tight on cash isn’t the only reason people feel trapped in a job. Freelancing gives you options, and options help us feel empowered!
Be careful not to burn bridges while you’re building your escape route. And when it’s time to walk away, make sure you’re professional and considerate—and hold your head up high!
Your turn! Are you working on building a financial cushion? How’s it coming? Let us know in the comments below!