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Don’t wait for the right time

Victorian woman and diver – don't wait for the right time to start your freelance career

When is the right time to quit your job?

When is the right time to start a business?

When is the right time to go freelance?

Back in 2003, I had a cushy number; Joint Creative Director on the P&O Ferries account across the UK and Europe. I had a lovely creative partner, brilliant Creative Services Director and a really chirpy, friendly creative department who were already up to speed with the account.

We were tucked away in an old Victorian water mill, surrounded by woods and lakes. Idyllic.

To top it all, they’d tempted me in with a four-day week, on a nice chunky salary. It was great.

And I hated it.

One big account (plus a few other tiddlers that didn’t generate much work) and a proper, grown-up routine. Everything that I now know simply doesn’t work for me. Repetition, predictability and cramped creativity.

A gentle nudge and jump

In 2004, I took voluntary redundancy and set up a creative agency with the Creative Services Director. We had no clients, very little savings and a mountain of on-the-job learning to climb.

By 2008, we had six employees, we’d built a great client list and were doing cracking work. Then the recession hit. And like everyone in our sector, it hit us pretty hard. Heads down, we kept punching and battled our way through. Grit, determination and teamwork – this was our baby and we weren’t going to let a piddling thing like a worldwide recession get in the way.

By 2010, we were still in the game. The work was getting better. Clients were starting to spend again. Not only had we survived the deepest recession the UK had seen since World War II, we were still smiling.

Then in 2016, to cut a very long story short, this chapter, like all good things, came to an end. We’d had an amazing ride. We’d learned a hell of a lot. But, it was time for new challenges and new pastures.

Thankfully, lady luck (if you believe in that kind of thing) stepped in, and within six months the whole lot – staff, name, work and good will – was neatly bundled up and merged into another agency down the road.

A hefty shove and scramble

Then three months later, unsurprisingly, I was pushed out (there was only room for one Creative Director after all). So, there I was back on the street, with an NDA slapped on my last 14 years’ work, looking for the next door to open.

That was back in 2017, just three years before Covid and the next major recession hit.

But, here I am seven years later, freelancing my backside off and thoroughly enjoying the ride. I’ve done some of my best work in decades, found a very happy niche in brand voice development and wouldn’t swap it for all the chai in India.

When was the right time to quit my job?

When was the right time to start my business?

When was the right time to go freelance?

There was no right time.

If you’re hanging on, waiting for circumstances to be just right for your next move, believe me, they never will be. Use your common sense – look before you leap – but seriously, now is probably as good a time as any.

So quit that job you hate. Get that idea off the ground you’ve been sitting on forever. Go for it.

And best of luck.

Love and patience.

Jonathan x

Jonathan Wilcock (that’s me) is a Senior Freelance Copywriter.
You can drop me a line here, or email