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Should I Become a Full time Freelancer or Continue Doing The Job?

Reader Question:

Shabbir, found your answer on quora and I am just hooked to your blog. Your articles are really encouraging for me to get into freelancing.

I would like to know if I should focus more on freelancing or continue doing my job. I work for an MNC in Bangalore and my take home salary is 75k which is quite good amount.

I also do little freelancing work and I really enjoy it.

So the question is should I concentrate more on freelancing and quit the job or continue with my job. Awaiting your answer.

Name is kept anonymous because he did not want his employer to find out that he is also doing freelancing.

Actually this question is minds of every developer with 3 to 4 years experience and is doing averagely ok job.

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Should he be a freelancer or continue doing the job?

Being a freelancer you would always expect a very straightforward answer that you should be doing freelancer and that is not be the case. There are many aspects to look at before I can answer this question.

Will there be growth in job?

What kind of growth do you see in your career after 10 years of experience.

Normally in an IT company in India, you will have the following Job Titles (Though you will be doing pretty much same thing in most of them)

  • Trainee Developer
  • Developer
  • Senior Developer
  • Team Leader
  • Project Head

Now once you are the project head, you will possibly become stagnant in your career growth and possibly be able to make more money as your project performs and that will not be something you will be controlling more often.

So this is when you will start to get frustrated and I have seen many such incidents.

Freelancing is lot different and is lot more interesting not only you will be your own boss but on any given day when you think you had enough of what you are doing and want to try something new, you will be able to and will not do things to just get an amount gets deposited into your bank account each month.

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Now or later

You can always feel that you will become a freelancer once you reach a position of no growth in your career and that can always be done theoretically but then practically it becomes tough. 10 years of salary increments means you will have a lot of liabilities build as well. Home loan, car loan, personal loan to name the few.

Let say your minimum expense per month is 15000 per month now. So you need 90k in your bank account to try things for the next 6 months. Once your monthly expense is 50k per month, you will need 300k in your bank account to try freelancing.

If you want to be a freelancer it should be as early as possible in your career. If you have a loan, entrepreneurship becomes lot more challenging or I would say quite close to impossible.

Apart from that you may have a lot more at stake (child education, family expectations of earnings) at later stage of your career than now.

Employer as your first client

If you are not comfortable leaving your job completely negotiate to be converted into a part-time employee and work for your employer as a client. If they don’t have an option for being part-timer, ask if you can work from home. Many companies are coming up with policies of working from home for sure.

If you can work from home, automatically you will save the time commuting and use that free time as you want.

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Finally the Way to Quit your Job

Pay off all your debts. Then calculate your minimum income level for survival. Calculate your income from freelancing on weekends.

You can easily double (or even triple) your weekend income once you become full-time freelancer and see if it is something that is more than your minimum income level for survival.

If you are not able to reach minimum income level for survival, you need to look at increasing the freelancing income or reducing your minimum income level for survival but if your answer is yes, you can pull the trigger and be a freelancer.

To reduce the risk further, you can also opt for additional cash balance in your bank account that you can use in emergency. When I resigned, I had a balance of 6 to 8 months of my minimum survival income in my bank account. On top of it, I did withdraw my provident fund to give me cushion for few more months.

Over to you

Are you in the dilemma of being a freelancer or continue doing the job? What is stopping you from being your own boss? Share your thoughts in comments.

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