Before kids, I never wanted to freelance. I liked the security of a full-time job. I didn’t like the thought of having to maintain current work samples and sell myself all the time. That is just not me. But after I had my second child I just couldn’t imagine going back to work full-time. I needed a break! And I got one; but once my son was about a year old I started getting calls to freelance.
I developed a fair amount of marketable expertise working as a designer for 15 years and happen to be in a field where freelancing is well established. Initially I took the jobs for the money. What am I saying?! I still take them for the money. The money is great! Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I can make almost as much freelancing 15 hours a week as I did working full-time (of course without the benefits). And I do keep it to 15 hours. With discipline, I can accomplish about 2 hours of work each day even when the kids are home (I mark the hours on my calendar). I share weekly updates with my clients through email, conference calls, and overnight mail. At the end of the week or month, I invoice them for my hours worked (there is an invoice template in MS Word). It is that easy! Okay maybe it is not that easy. Sometimes I may have to meet in person. Sometimes I may have to “sell” my skills. Sometimes me and/or my kids get sick. Sometimes things take longer than they should. In these situations I may panic slightly but I just remind myself to take things one step at a time and eventually everything works out.
It is true that freelancing pretty much fell in my lap. But I am so glad it did!
I know there are a lot of women out there who walked away from successful careers once they became moms. Maybe their kids are in are in school or preschool now and are wondering what’s next. Let’s face it though, your demands as a mother may be less constant but have become more complex and harder in a lot of ways. This can make returning to working full-time even more daunting an option and maybe you don’t have too. Maybe there is a way to use your work skills as a part-time freelancer from home! Think about it!
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How about picking up a book on the subject. Here are a couple I found that look interesting.
Tired of clocking in and losing out? Want to pursue creative, fulfilling work on your own time and also make a living in the process? My So-Called Freelance Life is a how-to guidebook for women who want to avoid the daily grind and turn their freelance dreams into reality. Michelle Goodman, author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide and self-proclaimed former “wage slave,” offers tips, advice, how-to’s, and everything else a woman needs to pursue a freelance career.
Confused as to whether you should tell your clients that the odd gurgling sound during a conference call is emanating from the infant sleeping on your shoulder? Goodman answers all of the unusual questions that may arise for women exploring the freelance world. Far more than your normal business guidebook, My So-Called Freelance Life blends candid, humorous anecdotes from a wide variety of freelancers with Goodman’s own personal experiences as a creative worker for hire.
Whether you’re a freelance first-timer or a seasoned creative professional, copyediting queen or web guru, My So-Called Freelance Life is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in freelancing (Amazon description).
Creative, Inc.: The Ultimate Guide to Running a Successful Freelance Business by Joy Deangdeelert Cho and Meg Mateo Ilasco
As the hipster classic Craft, Inc. did for crafters, this book will teach all types of creatives illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, animators, and more how to build a successful business doing what they love. Freelancing pros Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho explain everything from creating a standout portfolio to navigating the legal issues of starting a business. Accessible, spunky, and packed with practical advice, Creative, Inc. is an essential for anyone ready to strike out on their own (Amazon description).
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Of course you probably want to check out books specifically related to your field. Type in freelance plus your industry into my RED Amazon search box in the sidebar!
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Have any thoughts or specific questions? Please share!