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10+ Signs That You’re Not Ready for Full-Time Freelancing

by Laura Spencer

on April 22, 2013

in Freelancing Basics

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

Are you really cut out for full-time freelancing?

Even if you’ve already been freelancing on a part-time basis, you still might not be ready for full-time freelancing. Full-time freelancing requires persistence, commitment, and passion. Not everyone is happy as a freelancer.

If you’ve never freelanced before, you may have even more trouble deciding whether you should become a full-time freelancer.

How can you tell whether full-time freelancing is for you? The decision can be a tough one.

In this post, I’ll share a list of ten signs that you might not be ready for full-time freelancing. If you find that one or more of these signs fits you, think twice before jumping into freelancing full-time.

If you liked this post, you may also like Why I Failed at Freelancing.

Warning Signs That You’re Not Ready to Go Full-Time

While there’s no foolproof method for predicting who will succeed at full-time freelancing and who will fail, there are some general areas that all potential freelancers should consider.

(When you evaluate yourself against this list, it’s important to be brutally honest if you want to make a good decision. And besides, your answers are private–no one else will know unless you tell them.)

Here are ten signs that you might not be ready to go full-time:

  1. You’re currently financially stressed. Many freelancers who start on a part-time basis find the extra income from freelancing to be helpful. But the income is just that–extra. When you become a full-time freelancer, you must totally rely on the money you bring in from freelancing. Many new freelancers are not ready for the irregularities of freelancer pay. If you are already deeply in debt, your first freelancing famine cycle could wipe you out.
  2. You don’t work well by yourself. Do you need a little prompting to get your work done? Do you rely on feedback and instructions from your supervisor and peers? Or are you able to work with little or no supervision? If you find that you rely heavily on others to complete your tasks, you may not be ready to freelance. After all, freelancers work more or less independently. There won’t be a boss to push you along and there may not be peers available to answer questions.
  3. You are unwilling to market yourself. Many would-be freelancers underestimate the importance of marketing for the freelancer. The truth is that most freelancers have to market themselves every single day. Marketing is how you will connect with your freelance clients. If you feel uncomfortable about promoting your freelancing business or are unwilling to do it, then full-time freelancing is not the right career choice for you.
  4. You have trouble getting along with others. You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a full-time freelancer, but you do need good social skills. Basic courtesy and respect are a must. You also need to be able to interact with those who have opposing viewpoints. You may work alone as a freelancer, but your freelance business success still depends upon your ability to interact well with others.
  5. You don’t have any skills. It should go without saying, but you need to have a marketable skill to become a full-time freelancer. Some folks jump into freelancing thinking that it is an easy way to earn money online when in reality it is anything but that. If you’re just learning about your field or aren’t sure what you’re even good at yet, you’re not ready to become a full-time freelancer. Take some courses or work for someone else first.
  6. You give up easily. Persistence separates freelancing success from freelancing failure. Many people try freelancing, but quit when they face their first obstacle. The true freelancing success stories are almost always about folks who persevere and learn from their mistakes. The freelancer who quits too soon rarely succeeds. If you quit easily, then full-time freelancing may not be the right option for you.
  7. You have poor time management skills. Time management is a crucial freelancing skill. It’s especially important for new freelancers since they don’t have the resources to bring someone else on board to help out. If you’re considering jumping into full-time freelancing, make sure that your time management skills are adequate. Get organized. If you are planning on using a time management system or tool, test it before you start freelancing full-time.
  8. Your personal schedule is unpredictable. As a freelancer, deadlines are everything. All that your client has to go on is what they can find out about you online and your promise to complete their project by a certain date. Your responsibility as a freelancer is to see that you meet that promised deadline. If you have a highly unpredictable personal schedule, you will probably have trouble meeting those promised deadlines.
  9. You don’t have the right tools. While freelancing has a fairly low startup cost compared to other small businesses, there are still certain tools that you need. For example, your computer should be fairly recent and you need a high-speed Internet connection. Depending on your freelancing specialty, you may also need certain software tools. If you are not willing to invest in the right tools, then full-time freelancing is the wrong choice for you.
  10. You can’t take criticism. The freelancing world is filled with different sorts of clients. Some of them are great to work with. They are encouraging, understanding, supportive, and generally agreeable. You may even find a friend or two among your clients. But there are other clients who are not quite so easy to get along with. Nearly every freelancer eventually faces that client who just can’t be satisfied. If you don’t take criticism well, then you will struggle as a full-time freelancer.
  11. Bonus tip: You’re not willing to charge what you’re worth. As a freelancer, it is up to you to determine how much you earn. If you charge too much, you risk alienating clients. If you charge too little, you won’t be able to get enough work to make ends meet. Unfortunately, most freelancers charge too little. Make sure that you are charging a healthy market rate that truly reflects the value of the services that you offer.

Your Turn

Did I miss any warning signs that someone is not ready for full-time freelancing? If you’re already a full-time freelancer, tell us how you knew that you were ready to go full-time.

Learn how to earn $125 or more per hour as a freelancer - Free Test Drive

About Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 20 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy LauraĆ¢??s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts. Laura is also on Google+.