The money is great!

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.

My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire by Michelle Goodman

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!

Ann

I'm inspired by nature and blog about creativity and practical mom stuff. Interested in subscribing? Check out that blue box at the top of my sidebar. I also happen to be an aspiring children's book author/illustrator and a product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. As an Amazon affiliate, if you purchase through my links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here and elsewhere on the internet.

22 comments

  1. I do have a question, as I find the idea of freelancing very appealing…not just for the schedule but for the money as well. How do you specifically go about finding actual freelance writing opportunities? I feel like I read all the time about bloggers who freelance, but never about how they actually find the jobs, contacts, paid gigs, etc.
    Great piece, by the way!
    thedoseofreality recently posted..WOULD I PAY MONEY FOR THIS: Labeling Your ChildrenMy Profile

    • Love that red too!

      Sometimes freelancing implies last minute, impossible deadline type stuff. I think my 15 hour per week max. shelters me from that kind of work. Also it helps to be OVERLY conservative when estimating what you can deliver in the time frame.

    • I’m not a graphic designer and I really don’t know any. I do like Shalini’s new header from readingandchickens and I am pretty sure she used a graphic designer, you could ask her.

  2. “Initially I took the jobs for the money. What am I saying?! I still take them for the money. The money is great!” I just love your honest, witty writing! :)

    This is a terrific article! I occasionally think about trying some freelance work… but then I second- and third- and seventh-guess myself.

    • Thanks! I feel that way about it too, Vanita! My life would be perfectly in balanced if it weren’t for this silly blog! Too fun to give it up though! I just have to do a better job limiting my online time.

  3. BTW – I LOVE being a freelancer. (And I’m so happy for you Ann!!!)
    It’s the best lifestyle once you get over the initial hump of getting your business rolling. If you’re doing a good job, before you know it, you will be turning down work you’ll have so much work.

    Can also check this out to see if working from home is for you:
    Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business:
    http://lifelearningtoday.com/2007/07/17/should-you-start-your-own-work-at-home-business/
    Kris recently posted..Application of Impossible Things – Book ReviewMy Profile

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