The deed is done. The notice is handed in. The new job title is "freelance writer". Bloody hell.
Today has been quite a day for me. I have decided to leave my steady, well paid and wonderful job as a web developer to fully immerse myself in the world of freelance science and technology writing.
It's not been an easy decision. I love working in the technology sector, particularly within Cambridge where so much innovative work is happening. I love my current role, the company and the team I work with. They offer me the flexibility to see my children, the right level of career progression where I feel challenged yet not overwhelmed and, perhaps most importantly, an awesome coffee machine and free biscuits.
So, how have I done it? Why leave a secure job? Can I self motivate as a freelancer? Can I survive without the free coffee? These are all questions that my colleagues, and I, have all asked as the announcement was made.
Let me take you through a few of the answers now:
How have I done it?
Becoming a freelance writer is not a snap decision. Like so many that decide to leave the world of regular work and go freelance, I have been quietly building a client base and combining my 'real' job with my freelance writing.
It's been quite the juggling act. It has involved resurrecting old contacts from my time as a science writer and making new contacts. So far my approach has been broadly reactive to inquiries from those wanting my services and I'm hoping to be more proactive in the coming months (you have been warned).
During this time of testing the water, I have had a lot of help and advice. I've picked anyone and everyone's brains about whether this decision is the right one to make.
One standout source of help has been specialist accountancy firm Nixon Williams. I signed up to their services a few weeks ago and they have made the process of setting up as a limited company as seamless as I think is possible. This takes the strain out of one of the most stressful parts of freelancing - getting the right advice on my finances.
And this would be the biggest bit of advice I can give anyone planning to go freelance - outsource as much as possible. Don't waste your time and energy researching the nuances of tax legislation or SEO or whatever specialism you need help with. It wastes your time and takes your focus away from your business.
And now, my time is also my money.
Why leave a secure job?
I've reached the point where my freelance work is demanding more time but paying better rates than the world of permanent employment. I know I cannot commit fully to both roles so something has to give. It's time to take a calculated risk and become a freelance writer.
And there have been plenty of calculations over the last couple of weeks. Projected incomes. Worst case scenarios. Best case scenarios. Business plans. The cost of an awesome coffee machine.
With all those figures to back me up, plus the promise of a more flexible way of working and a better work/life balance, it's a gamble I want to take. I can quite confidently predict my income over the next few years if I remain within the realms of permanent employment - but the sky's the limit now I'm fully in control of my finances and future as a freelance writer.
Now the deal is done and the resignation letter has been signed, it's up to me to answer the next couple of questions over the coming months. Can I self motivate as a freelancer? I believe so. Can I survive without the free coffee? Maybe.
Between my usual posts on technical wizardry, scientific discoveries and Lego, I will be sharing my experiences as I become a full time freelance writer. I'm hoping it will be a worthy and interesting read. A story of success. Or a tale caffeine withdrawal woe.
Whatever the outcome, I'm ready for the ride. Now the only question left is - do you need any copy? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll answer your questions.
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I'm the freelance writer who gets tech. So, I blog on three core topics:
Science and Technology