Freelancing… how do you know you’ve had enough?

Hey all, this is just something that’s been on my mind recently and I don’t know many other freelancers to bounce ideas off of. I hope it’s OK to post my thoughts here.

I’ve been ‘accidentally’ freelancing for the last year… I say accidentally because I left a job without any set plans and gained a bunch of clients through word of mouth. I didn’t seek anyone out, it just happened that way. For the last six months I’ve been doing some for a consulting company that has partnerships with large organisations and outsources work to freelancers, so I don’t need to hustle for work.

The problem is that although I love the increased pay and flexibility that comes with freelancing, I feel like I’m never ‘off’. It’s not so bad when I have my own clients that I sourced myself and can handle the work and the relationship the way that works for me… but the consulting company has layers of project managers etc that manage client relationships on my behalf but don’t understand what I need to do the work. I’ve found it very difficult to manage. It’s also difficult because the way the work flows in through this company, I never know how many hours I’ll get in a given week. Hell, most days I wake up and have no idea if I have any work for them or not. If I make myself available for 40 hours in a week, I could get 40 or I could get 10… I just don’t know until the week is over.

Lately I’ve been looking at full time permanent roles and there’s a part of me that would love that stability again… knowing I’m getting paid $X on Y date, being recognised and appreciated by an employer, and other benefits… but at the same time I can’t imagine going back to a less flexible environment. I love working from home and working when I feel like it – not when some middle manager dictates I should.

I could use a sanity check… how do you know you’ve had enough of freelancing? When do the cons outweigh the pros? Has anyone left freelancing for permanent work and regretted it? Or maybe my problem isn’t so much with freelancing as it is with how this consulting company operates?

Any thoughts, advice, or anecdotes would be so greatly appreciated!

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