I quit my full-time job in August 2010 - I've been doing full-time freelance Web Development, Systems Analysis & General Consulting since then. The road has been fairly smooth since.
You are obviously reading this post with the hope of finding some conclusive information that will inspire you to take the freelance leap or at least to make the best, logical decision about your career, be that to stick with your current job or to go freelance.
Making decisions that affects your income/earnings is never easy, especially if you have dependents/family to support. Hopefully the below list will help you make the right choice, to go freelance or not!
Let's start off pessimistically and objectively:
Do you have access to funds to support you during the initial months of freelancing?
Surviving the first few months without initial clients and/or funds to carry you will be virtually impossible, also remember most development projects can take a few weeks to complete and then maybe another few before you receive payment,
the upside is that you can ask for a deposit before commencing work.
Do you have a Business Plan?
You absolutely have to know what you are going to do and how you are going to accomplish this.
Do you have adequate skills and experience to supply your clients with a professional service? You will be offering your skills to a client, the client will either be impressed or not, as a freelancer you don't have access to a whole team of specialists and you'll be responsible for most of the work.
Do you have what it takes to run your own business, thinking about finances, marketing, sales, operations, and especially time management? Some business skills are vital if you want to survive in the long run, i.e. if you don't know how to market or quote effectively then you will not make it.
Do you have what it takes to motivate yourself?
Most freelancers and especially the single ones might find it increasingly difficult to operate on their own, it will get lonely and you will feel demotivated at times.
Will you be able to handle stressful, critical situations by yourself without the help of others? As a freelancer you will have to take full ownership and with this comes the duty of handling difficult clients; crisis management is required by you since you are directly responsible for your work.
The positive side:
As a freelancer you can determine your own income.
We are currently very fortunate, there is a huge demand for PHP web developers and also in other technologies and I'm very positive that if you advertise yourself correctly you will get more work than you can handle.
Your time is yours and you can plan it anyway you like.
Wouldn't it be nice to plan a long weekend every now and then or to just be able to spend more time with your loved ones?
You mostly have authority on how things gets done.
If you currently have a dislike in how things gets done at your employer, then freelance is the opportunity for you to do it differently.