What I Wish I Had Done Before Leaving My Full-Time Job

Apr 29, 2015

It’s hard to believe that it has been over nine months since I left my full-time job in order to freelance. Time flies, I tell ya.

Even though I have no doubts or second thoughts about my decision to leave and do my own thing, that doesn’t mean it was an easy decision. As I’ve mentioned before (like in last week’s post, for example), making that choice involved a great deal of crying, indecision and ice cream. LOTS of ice cream.

I don’t really believe in having regrets. I mean, when you think about it, what do regrets really accomplish? However, I do subscribe to the philosophy that hindsight is 20/20. So, I figured it couldn’t hurt to share a little insight here about a few things I wish I had done before leaving my full-time job. If you’re currently in that rocky phase of deciding whether or not it’s time to hit the road, I hope these tips inspire you to make sure that you have your ducks in a row before you do!


1. Save more money.

This is a big one, folks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I definitely had some money saved before walking away from the predictability and security of my full-time job. However, I now recommend saving enough to cover four months of your living expenses, at the very least.

Leaving my job was scary enough. Then, after just a few months of freelancing, my biggest and highest paying client unexpectedly dropped me. Perhaps I’ll discuss this traumatizing story further in a future blog post, if you feel like cringing with me. Anyway, out of nowhere, my main source of income was gone. Luckily, I was able to hit the ground running and move on. But, I could have saved myself several panic attacks if I had built a better financial cushion.

2. Come up with a schedule.

One of the things that appealed to me most about freelancing and working for myself was that I didn’t have a set schedule. That sounds nice, doesn’t it?

There’s no doubt, the flexibility that comes with freelancing is wonderful. However, I highly suggest you maintain some sort of normal daily schedule. I’m not a morning person, so it was really easy for me to fall into the trap of sleeping in later than I should. If I had just maintained my normal wakeup time from my full-time job, I would’ve been better off.

So, before leaving, sit down and take some time to think about what an average day working on your own will look like for you. This sense of structure and purpose will make leaving easier.

3. Build a bigger portfolio.

I’m a freelance writer. So, my writing portfolio is what really sells me to potential clients. Admittedly, I probably left my full-time job before I had a decent enough portfolio to showcase.

If you’re in some sort of creative field (i.e. website building, graphic design, writing, etc.), really hustle to focus on improving your portfolio while you still have the security of your full-time job. Working that hard will definitely make for some long days, but having a quality portfolio will help you hook more clients right off the bat!

Until next time!