How I Knew It Was Time to Leave My Full-Time Job

Apr 22, 2015

I’m still a relatively new freelancer, so the questions I actually get asked the most pertain to my old full-time job. Was it hard to leave? Was I scared? How did I know when it was time?

So, I figured today was as good of time as any to answer some of those questions. The first two are super easy. Yes, it was hard to leave. And yes, I was super scared. But, the question about how I knew when it was time to leave probably deserves a little more detail.

Perhaps a little background would be helpful in this post. So, I’ll treat you with the super abbreviated story. For my full-time job, I worked as an Office Coordinator and Marketing Assistant in a super small office. I had actually interned at this office for quite some time when I was in college. They didn’t have a position available for me after graduation, so I took a job as a receptionist and Administrative Assistant at a commercial photography studio. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that finding a job right out of college is HARD.

But, a few months after taking that job, I got a call that the place where I had interned finally had a position open for me. Of course, I was excited. Since that job was more in my field than being a receptionist, I took the position.

I worked there for almost two years (while doing some freelance work on the side) before determining that I needed to leave and pursue freelancing full-time. I wrestled over the decision of whether or not to abandon my full-time job for months. I was a mess. It was, by far, one of the hardest decisions of my life. But, I’m happy to report that I think it was also one of the best.

So, here are just a few indicators that let me know it was time to leave my full-time job in favor of pursuing a freelance career.


1. I was exhausted.

When I was trying to juggle freelancing with my full-time job, I was straight up exhausted. I was spread way too thin, and it just wasn’t working well.

2. There weren’t enough hours in the day.

Obviously, I was exhausted because there simply wasn’t enough time every day for me to accomplish the things I needed to. So, not only was I exhausted, but I was stressed and overworked.

One of the things I really stressed about before leaving my full-time job was, understandably, money. I wanted to be making enough freelancing in order to cover my butt without a full-time job. But, let me be clear. There just aren’t enough hours in the day for you to work full-time, and then make enough on the side to support full-time freelancing… unless you want to completely give up sleep and a personal life. Eventually, you just need to take the leap.

3. My freelance work was suffering.

Because I was spread so thin, my freelance work suffered. Since I was still employed by someone else, my full-time job was obviously my first priority. I wasn’t nearly as efficient with my freelance work as I wanted to be, and the quality of my work was slipping. I feared I would ruin my reputation in the freelance world before I really even started, because I didn’t have the necessary time to devote to my projects.

4. I wasn’t working towards my longterm goals.

When I was working my way through the decision, Ty and my parents consistently encouraged me to think about my long term goals, and then make a decision that supported those. In the long run, I know I want to stay home with our future children, but I would still love to be able to work a bit from home while doing so. Obviously, being a freelance writer fits this scenario perfectly. Knowing that I was making a decision that would pay off in the long run definitely made leaving a little easier.

I understand that even though it might be time to leave, you may not have that option. I was incredibly lucky to have Ty and my parents support me through the transition. Because, let’s be real, it wasn’t always easy. I faced some roadblocks very early on that were pretty discouraging.

In retrospect, there are definitely a few things I wish I had done BEFORE leaving my full-time job, in order to be better prepared for the transition. That earth shattering knowledge will be shared in next week’s Wednesday post. I know, the anticipation is killing you.

Until next time!


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