Many ask, few are happy with the answer. It’s time to go fulltime freelance when you have one or more of three basic questions answered in the affirmative:
1. Is my current gig interfering with my growing career?
2. Is at least half my income coming from freelancing?
3. Do I have work to rely on as a fulltime freelance writer?
If you can’t answer all three questions “yes”, you might not be ready for the leap. There is one major reason for this, money issues aside. Networking, having contacts in the industry, and knowing where you can pick up work are the essentials you need to survive as a fulltime writer.
Don’t underestimate the value of making contacts and maintaining good relationships. Some people make the mistake of “networking” only. They don’t see the value in “just because” conversations with others in the industry, or they can’t understand why it’s important to socialize with fellow writers and editors in a strictly non-business sense. This can be done as simply as writing a complimentary email about a particular article you read in that person’s publication, a comment on a web blog, or anything else that doesn’t apply to you getting hired. If you are sincere and can interact with people for its own sake, you’ll go a lot farther when it comes time to get some decent work started.
Keep your day job for as long as you can stay sane, at least until you understand these concepts better. If you already get it, chances are you are either quickly moving towards fulltime freelance work, or you’ve figured out why you are only writing part time for now and you’re making peace with it.
You may be disappointed with the notion that you have to stick with the day job for a while longer. Once you understand how to make good contacts, find work in a hurry, and promote yourself as a writer you won’t ask the fulltime question any longer. You’ll know for sure when the time is right.