Are things going pretty swimmingly in your side husstles, freelance gigs or independent work? The opportunities keep coming in and the extra income is awesome?
If this is the case for you, you may have started to wish you had more time to fit in your independent work. Maybe you’re even thinking about cutting back your hours at your day job, or taking the freelance plunge full-time and striking out on your own.
Quitting your job to pursue your passion is not a decision to be taken lightly. In most cases, the choice is final; there is no undo button. That means you have to be sure you are making the right decision, otherwise you may rue the decision.
So, if you are thinking of quitting your day job and strike out on your own, consider the following warning signs indicating you’re not ready yet to quit your job a wake up call to protect yourself from jumping the gun and quitting your job prematurely to pursue independent work.
Signs That You Should Not Quit Your Day Job—Yet
If you recognize these red flags in yourself, it may be wise to reconsider your dreams of striking out on your own or freelancing full time—at least for now.
1. You don’t have a plan
When you picture quitting your job, maybe you imagine the triumphant exit you’ll make, or you relish the thought of never having to fill out another report ever again. But what comes next?
If you don’t have a clear plan for how you’re going to expand your independent work or freelancing business into a full-time career, it’s best to keep that dream on hold for a little longer, until you’ve worked out the details.
2. Your finances aren’t in order
Things are going to get really lean, really fast—especially if you’ve got a lot of high monthly expenses. Now is the time to cut the gym membership you never use and stop eating at restaurants multiple times a week.
If you haven’t been saving up, get used to the idea of your day job, because you’ll need to be there for a while longer.
3. You don’t self-motivate very well
How good are you at motivating yourself to work hard? When at your day job, someone else is probably calling all the shots and telling you what to do—and your motivation there is to not get fired! When you’re in charge of yourself, that is not the case.
As a self-employed worker or freelancer, it can sometimes be hard to force yourself to work because no one is watching over you to ensure you are doing your job. You are actually your own boss, with all the perks and cons that come with that.
If you struggle with self motivation and it affects your productivity, you might not be ready to call it quits just yet. Focus first on improving your work ethic, cultivating your own motivation and become more self-motivated so you’re ready to be your own boss when the time comes.
4. Your business doesn’t feel legitimate
Do you have a tax ID number for your business? Do you know what kind of bookkeeping you need to do to stay on top of things come tax season? Or are you planning on throwing all your receipts in a box and letting an accountant do it for you?
If your independent work or freelancing business still feels like a hobby instead of a real business, you might have some work to do before you are ready to go at it full time. Try reading up on the ins and outs of starting your own business and doing taxes as a self-employed individual.
5. You don’t feel like an expert
If you’re going to take the plunge and become an independent worker, freelancer or entreprenur, it’s going to require more than a passing interest or novice understanding of your craft.
For example, if your dream is to start a successful blogging business writing about classic cars, specifically Mustangs, but you don’t even know how to identify different Mustang parts or where to buy them, you’ll still need to do some learning.
You won’t be providing your readers useful information, services or products if you don’t have expertise in your niche. So, don’t quit your day job just yet if you still feel like a novice in your freelance work, passion side gig or independent dream job.
6. You don’t have reliable customers
Sometimes the going is good, and the work is easy to come by. Other times, you hit a dry spell, and it seems like you’ll almost take on any project just to get a little cash. If you haven’t built up a great base of customers yet—repeat business is some of the best business you can get—then it’s worth your while to do it before you leave behind your reliable paycheck.
7. Your heart isn’t in it
We all doubt ourselves from time to time, and that’s completely normal and expected in business, life and career. However, if you are thinking about pursuing your indipendent business or freelance work full time out of a sense of obligation or because you feel like it’s expected of you, you’re not doing it for the right reasons.
Always remember that it is perfectly fine and nothing to be ashamed of to continue freelancing or doing your side job in your free time rather than as a career. No one should make you feel bad about it, so that you feel presure to take the plunge and do a side gig full time.
If your heart isn't in your side job and you marely do it to suppliment you income, that's perfectly fine and commendable. Continue doing it as a side project as long as necessary. Don't quit you day job and do anything full time if your heart is not in it.
If you see any or all of these red flags, address them first and work on the problem areas before you quit your day job. That said, sometimes the time is just right for following your passions—especially if you have some emergency funds saved up.
Don't make the mistake of waiting forever to take the plunge or waiting for that mystical "perfect time" or "right time" to strike out on your own. There is no such time. Now is the best time to do the right thing. Besides, life is too uncertain to wait around for the "right time."
If you can’t stand your day job, and perhaps you have a support system that can help out if your dreams don’t work out quite the way you want, take the plunge already. There is no point in languishing in a job you hate any longer than is necessary or than you have to!