Well now, this is a contentious issue that has a number of factors to consider, but we are going to focus on just a few of the most important so that you can make your own mind up as to when you should be thinking about leaving permanent full-time work, in favour of setting out on your own.
1. At the start of the new tax year in April
We will start with an assumption that really doesn’t need to have any bearing on your decision to go self-employed and that is when the tax year comes around. Yes, it might be slightly simpler to start you new endeavour in line with a fresh tax year, but it is not too complicated to switch up at any point, so don’t put your dreams on hold for another year if April whizzes past and you still aren’t ready!
2. When you have some savings behind you
We cannot recommend this enough, as you will quickly find that a quiet few days can lead to some panic in the initial months of contracting. Of course, the more you can have ready to dip into the better, but if you have around six months of essential bills financing to hand, you should be well equipped to branch out on your own.
There are those that think you work a little harder and remain a little hungrier when the pressure is on, but self-employment can be such a stressful endeavour to setup that we think a little safety net is always a good idea.
3. When you have clients lined up
If you have been undertaking some effective networking and have a number of clients who have already pledged their support, you should be able to step out under your own steam with confidence. You will, however, need to be sure that you are not transgressing any employment contract or being seen as ‘stealing’ clients, as this could lead to serious legal implications.
If you have a few clients that are keen to employ your services and they are trusted contacts, take then at their word and as soon as you are free to do so, get in touch and offer your individual time.
4. When you feel ready
This is a key point. Don’t feel pressured by other people, circumstances or deadlines (see above about the tax year), as it is you that needs to make the decision as to when you are ready to branch out on your own. It is you that will have to chase and complete new contracts and if you are in any doubt as to your preparedness, hold fire and wait until you are certain it’s the right time. Your gut instinct will tell you when you’re nervous but ready as apposed to totally unsure and unprepared.
In essence, tips two through to four are all valid and work together to tell you when the timing is perfect, so take a deep breath and really think about your situation.