When Freelance Development Doesn’t Work: How to Transition Back into the Workforce

Leaving Freelance IT Development

There are countless reasons to switch to freelance in the cyber and IT world, the hours are flexible, you’re not tied to one business and you’re able to work from wherever you want. But there are a few downsides to freelance, especially when IT is concerned. The workload can be tough, and the skills required for each workflow may change and you might not be up for it, or you’ll have to lose a client over it.

Analyse your current situation

The first thing you’ll need to do to make the switch to full-time or part-time work easier is taking a look at your current day, it’s workload and times. You’ll obviously need to make some changes, but you need to work out which ones. When you have a rough idea of how your current job compares to 9 to 5 jobs, you’ll be able to more easily find a job that suits your individual needs better. This could mean looking at businesses that offer a fun, modern and flexible workload.

On top of your day to day life, you’ll also need to work out whether you’ll be better in a team or alone. This aspect will have a great effect on the outcome of your new employment. If you don’t collaborate well with a group then stray from workplaces that act like that.

Look for jobs in the right places

Before you jump at the first available opportunity you should scour the job market and look for all of the best opportunities available in your area. Job listing sites like Gumtree will give you a comprehensive look at the job market for your skill level and let you have direct contact and an easy way to apply for an interview.

Remember that as a freelancer you shouldn’t simply put down ‘Freelancing’ on your resume as your experience and previous job placements. You’ll benefit far more greatly if you highlight your actual experience and things you’ve learned while freelancing. These topics could be things like great time management skills and a knack for rapid learning and problem-solving. Building up a portfolio of work will also be crucial for your job search.

Prepare for a mental adjustment

If you’ve been working in freelance IT or cybersecurity for a long time and have always had your own hours then you’ll need to slowly adjust yourself prior to looking for a new full-time job in the industry. This means simulating normal work hours in your own time, and researching the expected workloads in the industry and working your way up to those, or if you’re already efficient enough for those workloads, do your best to sustain them.

A few things you’ll have to give up when moving back into the workforce from freelancing are:

Being ready to adjust to no longer being your own boss too, and that means preparing yourself to keep tabs and do a self-analysis on how well you work and being able to report that your superiors.

Doing things your own way will also need to take a backseat. You’ll have to adjust to being given outlines and plans of how to do certain tasks. If you’re not able to follow these plans at the moment, make sure to spend some time thinking about how you can mould your own workflows into someone else’s.

Working in your own space and your own hours will be replaced with working in an office, away from your home, and on a fixed time which will typically be from 9 to 5. Although this shouldn’t be too much of a change, you should still do your best to simulate these hours.

Think about money

When you work freelance as your own boss, you get to choose your own rates and fees, or you’re meant to at least. When you switch to working for a business on a normal full-time contract you’ll be given a fixed hourly rate or a salary. It’s essential that you check with your budget and make sure that this new rate will cover the cost of all your expenses like rent, car payments and cell phone repayments.

You don’t want to be locked into a contract that doesn’t meet your break-even income, or you’ll be forced to readjust entirely.

The Advice

You really need to understand the differences between freelancing and working in the traditional workforce and plan for these. That can mean changing your budget, undertaking some new skill-building courses, learning how to collaborate with a team and how to time manage for a 9 to 5 job.

Sometimes change is good, just make sure you’re well-prepared and ready for the opportunities in your location.

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