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I was wondering, is there anyone on here that does freelance work so that they can work very little?
I'm somewhat sick and tired of working for a company and having to show committment - I am not very good at drawing a clear line to separate work and life and I am also not very good at pushing to do mainly stuff I enjoy at work. So, lately I've been toying with the idea of dropping my day job and get my freedom back to define exactly how many days a week I want to work for money and how many days I want to just code, or just be with my kids or help out my local community.
But I'm not sure this is actually doable, without starving!
Find a patron/admirer/spouse/easy-mark who'll support you and then all is well.
I've taken a different route. I've (just about) always done just what I want to earn my vegetables. Like a lifetime of being paid to play for a living. Nonetheless, it doesn't mean I've not worked like a dog for extended periods. Possibly, that's part of the charm: even working super-hard was rewarded with having done something I like. Other times, I've just played around and then "sold them" what I did just for recreation. Actually, some of the best stuff.
It's a different type of freedom - and someone else's checkbook (i.e., not self employed). the trick is to know exactly what will make you feel free. Bill collectors at the door usually isn't part of that.
Before going freelance, there are a few points to remember:
When calculating your current gross income, remember to add in perks such as health insurance paid by your employer, matching pension funds, etc.
When calculating what you must charge as a freelancer, you must add in those costs, the cost of any additional taxes you must pay (e.g. in some countries the equivalent of Social Security is paid partly by the employer and partly by the employee; freelancers must pay the entire sum), and allow for the probability that you may not be working 100% of the time.
DON'T FORGET to continue depositing into any pension fund you may have.
It takes time to get your name put around, and even longer to build up a loyal clientele. Make sure you have enough savings to survive this startup period.
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
-- 6079 Smith W.
Yes, I suspected there might be quite a lot of work to do in terms of defining how much I should quote for jobs. And yes, I have considered perks and stuff - although I am in the UK which at least means the health insurance side is trivial *for now* state health care is free and good quality.
What you quote for a job and what the customer is willing to pay may differ, and not in your favor.
Most contracts in my area are 40+ hours/week, so the customer may not want part-time folks. Part time jobs are out there, but the pickings are slimmer.
When self-employed you must plan for downtime -- there is no paid vacation or holidays.
A new contract may not be available when the last one finishes, so there may be gaps between jobs.
When I was independent my goal was 1,800 billable hours per year, but I planned my financials around 1,600 hours. This allowed for down time before the next contract. If I was able to bill more than 1,800? Great! It gave me more cushion between contracts.
This means marketing before the current contract is finished, to line up the next one. Successfully becoming an independent consultant/contractor takes planning and effort.
Yes, but I'm not the primary bread winner. Some months it's very little work, and some months there's a lot.
I have the same issues you do. It makes freelancing more difficult in terms of that work/life boundary because you don't typically have an office to go to, just for starters.
You know, if I were you, I'd
A) consider contracting, which is kind of a happy medium. That way you can take a 3-6 month project and then take whatever break you need to or can afford.
B) consider taking freelance work on the side. Start with something small. If you have some tech writing abilities consider working with ContentLab.io and producing a couple of articles. They work with people who have day jobs all the time. Post on upwork (fka odesk), and you can be very selective about the work you take. Once you get yourself a bread and butter client you'll probably be *forced* to consider quitting your day job, and IMO it's a much better position to be in than hoping it works out.
Sometimes freelance works, and other times it flops.
This is very useful, I will check out ContentLab and Upwork and see what they look like. I am considering contracting. In fact I am actually considering even retraining to another profession at the moment! Something that would be more part-time able. I am the bread winner at the moment, but my partner does have a full time job (which doesn't pay a lot, but it's quite secure) so I guess I don't necessarily have to be the bread winner forever. I will see. But again, thanks for your tips really useful to get all options down on the table before I make any kind of move.