Another dot in the blogosphere?

Five for five (Part 2)

Posted on: October 2, 2019

This is Part 2 of a five-part Q&A on whether or not to be an independent worker.
 

 
What is your backup plan?

There might be push and/or pull factors that make you think about leaving full-time employment. Look before you leap.

A backup plan might take the form of a stash of cash you can reach for occasionally, the option to work part-time, or the capacity to return to full-time work.

Your savings are critical because you might face lean months or choose not to work for whatever reason. If you have people to take care of, your responsibility is compounded.

I recommend maintaining two bank accounts: One for regular work and bill payments, and the other for a nest-egg. I keep an eye on the first account to make sure that it does not fall below a certain level. I do not touch the second except to ensure that it is making money off a reliable investment.

Your current employer might be able to replace your full-time position with a part-time one. Alternatively, you might find some reliable partners to work with to ensure a minimum inward cash flow. Both give you some independence while not threatening to bankrupt you.

Finally, you might maintain a good network of friends, partners, and ex-colleagues so that you can find your way back to full-time employment if you find the wilderness too harsh. This was my initial plan — to work independently for six months to a year — but I enjoyed it so much that I stayed.

A backup plan can cushion a bad fall. Being an independent consultant is not all it is cracked up to be. I address that in the next question.

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