After almost two years of a panic attack (I was going for “panini” but autocorrect had other plans and I went with it) I would like to think we’ve all learned that these corporate jobs — or just working for a shitty boss in general is not the wave. So naturally as the generation that is still hellbent on fulfilling our dreams regardless of the economic climate we’ve been handed—we’ve now found ourselves in a chaotic storm of “fuck this shit” that has been officially dubbed as The Great Resignation.
I experienced my own great resignation when I wrote this exact article (okay, not exact but you get it) in 2017 when I left my first office job, post college. After ditching one of the most toxic environments I had ever experienced I decided to move back home, thankfully rent-free. I got a couple of freelance gigs, writing for different publications and was trying to consistently write on my first ever blog (not counting the days of Tumblr and Xanga).
After four years and entering a new decade of age (30, flirty and thriving!) I’ve found history repeating itself with the revamp of this article…but to be frank — this time I’m not a pansy ass about following my dreams.
If the past years have taught me anything, it’s that only you can make your dream life happen. And while the only thing about this article that has greatly changed is this intro, the points are some that have helped me finally step into my better and bolder self and now more than ever I know I’m truly on this journey for me, myself, and I. And this is a feeling I believe everyone should have if it’s what they desire.
So if you’re feeling like you’re ready to finally take the leap and work toward a life that is unapologetically yours — hey! Me too. Check out these tips on how to quit your 9 to 5 and join the freelance life.
1. Establish A Support System
My friends, family and industry contacts have been my saving grace. With advice and pick-me-ups, I couldn’t have reached where I’m at without their push. Even though the hardest part in any journey is believing in yourself, having the love and support from your tribe is a comfort that is sometimes unmatched. Don’t have a support system? Find one. Make one. Trust me, there are people out there that may have the same dream or they simply just believe in yours. In the Facebook age (or shall we say Meta—ew, no), scour for a group to join! Google one, for crying out loud!
2. Have A Savings
This is crucial. I know how hard it is to save money these days but without even a measly $1500 — and no, this IS NOT a lot of money — in my savings when I left my job I would be in so much shit.
The more money you have saved, of course, the better. Before you make that leap, make note of crucial bills you have and what it would take to pay them. I strongly recommend having any crazy credit card debt paid off before leaving or at least have very small, feasible payments. Have student loans? Call your company and sort a new payment or deferment plan. But whether you do or you don’t have a savings…
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Get A Part-Time Job
If you stepped into this game thinking you could just quit your full-time job and immediately have the same or more income the next week, I got news for you, boo. While it’s totally possible (if you have things set up beforehand) to start freelancing full-time from the get-go, for most of us, it starts and stays part-time for a good while.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a retail or restaurant job to make up for the lack of pay. If anything, it helps keep you on track. Take two to four days a week to work at your part-time and things with your freelance will start to balance out. Plus, you need an established income, especially when freelance clients take forever to pay you. Your part-time can cover things that need to be paid while your freelance checks will help out while you’re getting on your feet. Here’s a list of part-time jobs that can surely get you that extra income.
4. Learn To Budget
Even when you do have a full-time job you should be budgeting, but when you’re freelancing, this is a must.
Say you get five projects all at the same time and have a ton of income flowing in. You’re going to take yourself out and splurge a bit, right? Wrong. While you can totally take yourself out and buy one or two things you’ve been wanting, you should actually put away a fair chunk of that. Unless you have another batch of work coming in with promising pay, treat that additional income like it’s in payments. Set some aside. Thank me later.
5. Learn To Not Be So Hard On Yourself
Okay, so this is definitely the pot calling the kettle black but it’s the truest bit of advice I can give. There are harsh realities that come with giving up full-time work and the illusion of job security that it gives you. You may have to move back home with your parents, you may only do happy hour once a month (or you could get smart and learn how to make your own damn Cosmopolitans), and you may even find yourself back at a 9 to 5. This is what we call life and it’s not permanent and you will learn to adjust.
However, you have to remember that you’re human and you’re learning and you’re doing your best.
Once you’ve set a plan for yourself the only thing left to do is take that leap. Trust me on this again: you will almost never feel ready but if you set a plan for yourself and stick to it, you’ll realize that the only thing holding you back is you.
This article was originally published for Quirktastic,Inc., 2017 and has been edited and updated for accuracy.