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Did you know that the number of freelancers working in the UK has increased by more than 40 percent in the last decade? Freelancing is a flexible way of working, which can offer a host of benefits to people with a wide range of skills. If you’re employed on a fixed contract, and you’re considering joining the freelance revolution, here are some essential questions to ask before you take the plunge and hand in your notice.

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How are you going to make a living?

This is the number one priority for most people who are toying with the idea of swapping traditional employment for freelance work. If you’re used to monthly payments into your account, it can be difficult to adapt to a system where you may not know where your next pay cheque is coming from. If you have bills or a mortgage to pay, you have dependents, or you don’t have a nest egg set aside, the thought of not having a stable income can be daunting. Consider how you’re going to make a living and how you can assure that you’ve got a steady flow of cash coming in. If you haven’t got a safety net to fall back on, it may be worth trying to set up your freelance business or taking on some freelance work before you quit your job. This will give you an overlap period and make the transition smoother.

Can you get started straight away?

If you’re leaving a job, it’s ideal to have something in place that enables you to start earning and building your portfolio immediately. If you know that you’ve got paid projects in place, this will make the change less daunting and ensure that you’ve got money available to keep your head above water for the foreseeable future. If you don’t just want to work on the odd job from time to time and you’re aiming to set up your own business, consider funding streams carefully. If you haven’t got money to get started right away, you may need to borrow from family members or apply for a loan. If you are mulling over options and you want to be your own boss, you’ll need to have a watertight business plan in place. If this the road you’re hoping to take, start making plans before you leave your job.

Are you a self-starter?

When you have a job, you go to work every day, and a list of tasks is put in front of you. You tackle your workload, and in return, you get paid. When you’re a freelancer, you have to get out there and find your own work. If you find it difficult to sell yourself, you’re not very confident about approaching others, or you don’t have experience in pitching or trying to secure work, you may find that freelancing is a lot more challenging than you anticipated. Before you take that all-important first step, get your portfolio in order. Employers will always look at previous work to get an idea of whether you’re a good match for the projects or roles they’re offering.

Are you thinking of becoming a freelancer or do you long to run your own business? If so, hopefully, you’ll find this guide useful. Good luck!