Thinking of changing career?

If you’re planning on changing career at the same time as becoming self-employed, that brings a range of other challenges with it.

When you freelance in the same industry you were employed in, you might already have an idea about:

  • The rate to charge for certain types of work
  • How long different tasks might take
  • How much client communication might be involved

When you’re changing career, you’re unlikely to have these insights. This isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, but juggling the nuances of a new job while setting up as a freelancer is a difficult mix – make no bones about it.

It’s possible to retrain into a new career and go freelance – I know because I did it – but it’s likely to take longer to build a business that’s sustainable and profitable. We’re probably talking years here, not weeks or months.

What about taking a course?

There are lots of courses aimed at helping people retrain. The marketing of some courses implies that students will be able to use their training to immediately launch a profitable and sustainable freelance career.

Courses advertised in this way should be met with a healthy degree of scepticism as they’re glossing over many of the hard truths about self-employment. For more on this, read the Manifesto and this piece on Work Notes.

This doesn’t mean that courses can’t be helpful. Apart from training you up, you may be given boilerplates for selling different packages, learn how long tasks take and what common rates might be.

If you’re thinking of taking one, I would suggest doing some serious research. Look for reviews (not on the course’s website) and speak to previous students where you can. If there’s a stat or implication that seems too good to be true, ask the course about it.