If I were in a position like you, I would seriously ask myself what kind of goal am I after, by changing my status from a full-time employee, to a freelance one?
-Is it the “slightly” higher cash, one may earn as freelancer?
-Is it the flexible time you may have, to follow personal/professional growth, as entrepreneur for example?
-…other reasons …?
When you are able to answer honestly to the upper answers, then you will meet the right decision.
Well each of us has different stories to tell and they are difficult to compare with your situation.
Here comes my short experience. I am now in my 5+ year as freelance industrial designer, and work for 2-3 companies.
I become on a weekly basis projects from them. But there are days/weeks when there are not that many projects around. The payment is afterall satisfactory. It won´t make you rich, except you look around for more clients.
Pros as freelancer (in my eyes).
-self time management! Importand if you look into life quality (meals, sleep, work time)
-work from a comfortable location (you may relocate to a different country for example) (i have worked and work from different countries in the EU for the same clients).
-opportunity to follow your own professional path/projects/interests in the design field.
-no one will guarantee you projects
-able to balance private with professional life
-no paid vacation, or time being sick
There can be added more to the points, but I think this is the core.
As mentioned before, every one is replaceable. Be shure to have the right skills, which your current employer seeks. Be “irreplaceable” (not by price but by skills, human factors). A good relationship, as mentioned by “Yo” is vital!
These days a permanent position is very rare and therefore something to value high!
One should have a good professional network, to be comfortable, when changing from a permanent position to freelance.
After all we are all in the creative business, where nothing is granted. No one (nearly) stays at one place untill retirement.
Each of us should nurture his/her talents further, to be able to meet new opportunities …