A switch from a full-time job to freelance may seem like a drastic step for many, but it isn’t unheard of. In recent years, more and more individuals are opting to leave the security (and humdrum) of a 9 to 5, and switch gears to pursue a career in things they’re passionate about. Some even take year-long sabbaticals to travel all around the world. But, have you ever wondered how you can go about working for yourself after you’ve decided to? We spoke to Amrita Das, a photo editor-turned-freelance travel blogger about her career switch.
Taking The Plunge
Working full-time at one of India’s premier lifestyle magazines, Das was always on the lookout for her next travel destination. “One could even say, I was working only to fulfil my travel dreams,” she admits. Das believes that extended travel is definitely a possibility with a little bit of time management and planning. No wonder she made it a point to club her leaves and holidays. Over time, the constant shuffle between work and travel made her realise that she’d rather have a job that she could do from anywhere in the world. “I was always fascinated with the concept of working remotely, so after a lot of deliberation I switched over from a full-time job to freelancing, earning my way through my travels by blogging on my own travel blog, and contributing to various publications as a writer whenever an opportunity came my way,” adds Das.
Plan Of Action
The decision to do something different does bring along its fair share of road bumps. And as anyone who took the freelance route before her, Das too had to make major adjustments to her lifestyle. “I was used to a routine at my job, and loved working with my team members. So the first few months needed some getting used to. Freelance gives you freedom of thought, work, and routine, and once you manage to find a rhythm that works for you, things to get easier,” explains Das.
After quitting her job, she moved to Goa to try and chart out her path, and worked as the property manager for a boutique hotel to support herself. While the pay was not what she was used to, it did take care of her lodging, food, and monthly bills. “I have always prioritised paying my bills first. Managing my expenses after paying off the bills becomes easier as I keep lists of the basics I need to sustain myself. I like to stick to a budget when it comes to living expenses. However, I do like to splurge on good restaurants wherever I am travelling. This means, I had to let go of a lot of secondary expenses and items deemed as wants,” elaborates Das.
Networking Is Key
While Das had a slow start in the world of freelance, she was determined to continue and establish herself as a bankable name in the industry. Fortunately, her experience as property manager presented her with plenty of opportunities to network, and she met with plenty of travel bloggers, writers, and media persons who helped her along the way. Slowly, she began getting writing assignments and would be invited on various domestic and international junkets. Das, however, always made it a point to stay back for a couple of extra days (on her own dime) to explore the area like a local would. After all, Das believes that travel opens up the mind, and re-establishes one’s fundamentals and belief systems. This is where her budgeting and financial management came to her rescue.
Coming Full Circle
After about four and a half years of travelling, Das made the decision to go back to a full-time job. While she did end up dipping into her savings, she maintains that this was not the reason behind her 180. “I missed the routine of a job, and this opportunity was something I was always on the lookout for,” she says.
For those looking to make a shift in their careers, Das is all for taking that leap of faith and going with the flow. However, Das believes that the most important aspect of this decision is getting your finances in order so you can sustain yourself. Next, she recommends that your try not to second-guess your decision (if and when things get difficult), and experience everything with an open mind. For now, Das is happy where she is, but she “will always prioritise travel,” she signs off.