Freelancing can be challenging at times, but it may also be the best decision you ever make. If you’re in a position to work from home or want to work on your own time, a freelance career may be just the ticket. I opted to ‘go freelance’ instead of returning to work full-time when I came to the end of my maternity leave. I really didn’t feel ready to leave my 12 month old daughter five days a week, and I wanted to pursue a better work/life balance where I could still be present as a mum.
I recently took part in the ‘Mummy in Business’ series run by Lynn over on New Mummy Blog. If you’re thinking of going freelance, you should definitely check out her series of interviews with other mums who have done just that. Here’s mine…
What do you freelance in?
I’m a freelance PR and communications consultant.
Did you work in this area before?
Yes I worked in PR and marketing agencies for eight years before leaving my full time job to go on maternity leave.
What are your tips for freelancing and juggling kiddies?
It can be pretty tricky, especially at first when you’re trying to build up your client base and don’t make enough money from it to justify nursery fees. You really do have to put the work in and make the most of nap times (if your children are still at that age) and give up your evenings in order to get things done and pitch for work. My daughter still has one nap time each day so I use that time to do work that needs doing during working hours, such as client phone calls, media relations and responding to emails. I then use the evenings to produce proposals and write up features I’m working on.
My daughter started nursery two days each week from April, which has been a huge help and given me more structure to my week. I also find that I treasure those days I do get with her that little bit more and I’m not constantly thinking about what I have to do or checking my emails/phone.
Why did you decide to freelance?
It was something I always wanted to do, but there never seemed to be a good time before maternity leave and it seemed like too big a risk to take. When the time came to consider returning to my previous role it was a bit of a no-brainer really. I just didn’t feel ready and the thought of only spending weekends with my 12-month old daughter and not being able to put her to bed every night was something I couldn’t get my head around. I know that not every mum has the option and I’m so thankful that I did.
I know for a fact that I would never have taken the plunge if it wasn’t for the year I had at home on maternity leave. We realised that we could get by on just the one salary, so there was no major pressure for me to be earning the same as I had done before immediately. Which was a good job really as it was much harder than I expected to secure my initial freelance jobs. My hubby was extremely supportive which I think is so important. Freelance jobs aren’t going to come rolling in overnight, but I’ve found that persistence definitely does pay off in the end and you can earn a lot more and have a far better work/life balance than you have as an employee.
Do you have any tips for any other mummies who are thinking of becoming freelancers?
Realise your strengths and don’t be afraid to shout about them. After taking over a year out of the workplace I really did feel a little like I’d forgotten everything I’d learnt. I had to immerse myself back into the world of PR again and remember everything I’d achieved in my career and how hard I’d worked to get there. Don’t always think that other people are better than you – they aren’t. I wrote about this in another post, ‘Should we all be more Kanye?‘ I’m a firm believer in the ethos that if you really want to achieve something then you can and you will do it.
It will probably take a while to build up your business and you won’t see instant results. I found that some of the companies I initially contacted and said they had no requirement, got back in touch with me months later with opportunities. I made it my target to send out ten cold emails every week – all individually written and personalised to the particular company. Freelancing can take a lot of time and can be disheartening when you have no success initially but ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again.’
Are you a freelancer, or have you ever considered taking the plunge into freelancing?
Enjoyed this post? Please Pin it! Thanks a bunch 🙂