I read something recently that really hit home with me and inspired me to write something similar about my own experiences. I am often asked why I chose to leave my 9-5 job, which offered financial security and prospects, in favour of freelance work, aka the world of the unknown. Well, here goes...
Shortly after having my son, I lost my way a bit; my world suddenly became filled with laundry and potty training, and I lost focus as to what I wanted to do with my life. So, I went back to my old world, the world of comfort, security, and what seemed the less scary option at the time. But that "easy option" was never what I wanted to do; it was just what I thought I should do because I was scared of the unknown.
The realisation took some time, but eventually, I knew that I needed to follow my dream of running my own social media marketing company; there was never going to be this "right time" that I was waiting for. Here I am now, doing something I love and hopefully teaching my family that anything can be achieved with a positive attitude and unlimited passion.
This leads to the topic of how to make it work, by which I mean running a successful freelance business while still being the mum I want to be. It took me time to realise that being good at one of these things doesn’t automatically mean you will fail at the other; it is possible to succeed at both. Yes, it is hard work, but isn’t anything that is rewarding in life? That’s what makes it so fantastic when it pays off.
So, let me share my top three tips for juggling freelancing with parenting:
1. Find your own "no one is allowed in here" space – I have my office tucked away upstairs, and while I am in there, no one else can enter; they know the rules! While mum is working, she is not to be asked what’s for tea, whether they can watch a film, etc.; basically, they can’t breathe within 5 metres of me. I may be working from home, but I am still working, and I need to have my space away from the distractions of family life...and the laundry!
2. Take regular breaks – when working from home, it can be easy to stay at the laptop all day, and before you know it, lunch has been skipped, and hubby is already back from work with the kids. I make sure to have regular screen breaks and always find time to eat (admittedly, this is not something I would forget easily anyway). Just these simple things make me work much more efficiently. It allows me to recharge my batteries and refocus my brain, ready to maintain my productivity for the rest of the day.
3. Be strict with yourself: you are your own boss – I make a point of always planning my working day as if I was still in an office environment; this means not hiding under the duvet for an extra hour in the morning. I like to set myself a to-do list at the start of each day and make sure I know when to stop, put the laptop away, and have family time. When freelancing, it is easy to let the working day become the working night, but I always remind myself that everyone needs time out, and it will all still be there tomorrow.
The blog that inspires me to write this was from a fellow mum freelancer who one day had a light bulb moment; not only was she running her own business and raising a young child, but she was doing both things really well. She wanted to share her experiences with other parents and motivate them to follow their dreams. I could relate to her blog and wanted to share my own story. I love my family more than anything in the world, but I also love my job, and you know what? That is a pretty amazing feeling!
Over and out, from a mum who also happens to be pretty damn good with words. Come say hi, and let’s see how I can help your small business create some awesome text.