emergency fund

Why An Emergency Fund Is A Must For Freelancers

emergency fundIf you are thinking of switching to a freelancing career, you need to seriously build your emergency fund first.

A few days ago, my husband’s laptop stopped working. Both of us work as freelance writers so you can guess how important his laptop is. According to the service center, it could take a few weeks to a month before the laptop can be fixed. Obviously, waiting for it to be fixed is not an option. We need to find a replacement so he can keep working while his laptop is being repaired.

As a freelancer, our income is not stable. We only depend on what project is given to us. If we do not work, we cannot rely on a sick leave or vacation leave to help pay the bills. It is a situation that can easily make us feel anxious.

But believe it or not, we did not panic.

I do not say that to sound cocky. But I just want to stress the importance of having an emergency fund.

An emergency or reserve fund is the money that you will use for unexpected situations. Life can be very unpredictable. It does not matter if you are very careful with your actions or not. You will face these emergency situations and you need to be prepared for them. There are too many outside forces that could land you in an unexpected situation. You could get into a car accident. You can get sick. Your home could be in need of a repair. All of these situations can happen and you need to have the finances to help you pull through each one.

In a freelancer’s world, a busted laptop can be considered an emergency because it is just like being temporarily unemployed. You can just imagine the stress and pressure that we should have felt.

Fortunately, we had enough good sense to save up for an emergency. Instead of feeling stressed, we had our emergency fund to rely on. That allowed us to immediately look for a replacement that can fit our budget. Instead of worrying about where we will get the money, our emergency fund allowed us to go straight to the problem and solve it.

Hopefully, you will not wait for the unexpected to happen before you set aside an emergency fund for your family. If you have young ones, like we do, this becomes a necessity.

Some people I know would always say that they are not earning enough money to have something extra to put aside. Do not have that mentality. Even if you can only save P500 each month, that is enough. It would soon become P6,000 after 1 year. It can mean a lot when you are really strapped for cash.

Think about it. The financial security that an emergency fund can bring a huge relief when the going gets tough.

It is actually what makes me feel calm, even if I know that I have to bring my youngest son to the doctor tomorrow.

:)

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pregnant woman with laptop

How I Juggle 2 Kids And A Thriving Freelancing Career

pregnant woman with laptopMy freelancing career is still thriving – and I intend to do the same for this blog.

Yes I know, it had been 2 years since my last post and to give an update (and to explain why I had been absent for so long), my husband and I just had baby number 2. The second pregnancy was tough and I had to put a lot of things on the side. Unfortunately for this blog, it was one of the things I had to give up.

Well giving up was not really what I had in mind. I intended to continue with the blog because it is my way of sharing my experiences as a freelance writer. Now that I am back, I intend to keep on contributing my thoughts and experiences through this blog.

So how have I been juggling 2 kids and a freelancing career: with a lot of discipline and self-control.

I have a pre-schooler and a 1-year old and these two can be a handful. Any mother can attest to that. How some can take care of 4 kids is beyond me.

If taking care of the kids is not hard enough, earning an income through a full-time freelancing career makes it even more challenging. Although my mind and body would like to devote my every waking moment to motherhood, my wallet tells me that I cannot afford it. So I need to pull out that SuperWoman cape and do multiple tasks all at the same time.

I have found that discipline and self-control help me juggle full-time motherhood and a freelancing career.

Discipline is my way of describing how my week starts with a well thought out meal-plan, writing schedules, planned chores, etc. Everything about my family should be planned because if not, we will miss out on a lot of things. I will probably find myself writing in the wee hours of the morning and catching only a few hours of sleep to finish everything on my to-do list. Of course, my family deviates from the plan most of the time – something that I have no control over. But it still gives me a sense of control about everything that this growing family needs.

Self-control, on the other hand, is my way of keeping myself from burning out. I tend to overexert myself – which I know is not really healthy. So I need to exhibit self-control to force myself to enjoy my kids and give myself a break every now and then. A massage, spa treatment, facial, and a trip to the hair salon usually does the trick for me.

These two, discipline and self-control help me juggle this new life that I am leading right now. It took a while for the dust to settle after baby number 2 came into the picture but I am proud to say that I have been able to survive all of it.

The struggle is real. That is my favorite line for now. If you are a mother of more than one kid and you hold a full-time job – I salute you. We all have to encourage each other and I hope this tidbit of information that I shared with you can help you survive this crazy combination of motherhood and freelancing career.

Image courtesy of patrisyu for FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How To Manage Your Time As A Freelancer

woman holding a clock

Time management is an important aspect of a freelancer’s life – especially for stay at home mothers. You need to learn how to balance your time because when you are not working, you are not earning. At the same time, you need to take care of home-related responsibilities that were the very reason why you opted to work from home. If you try to obsess about it, you will realize that you will never have enough time to finish everything. In most cases, you might even overwork yourself.

That had been one of my struggles for the past few months.

Now I am not going to make excuses for my long hiatus but let me just give you a brief scenario of the reason why it took me 7 months to update this blog site..

My 3 year old son started going to school and the mother in me just couldn’t help but feel very excited for this new milestone in his life. We also enrolled him in summer school to see if he can skip one year and proceed to Junior Kinder. Well he passed (Yipee!) and all the hard work paid off. I am brimming with pride and joy and I just want to share what I have learned for the past couple of months.

Obviously, time management was a big issue for me while my son was in school. He is at an age wherein he cannot be left alone in school. That meant I had to stay with him and the waiting eats up my precious time. But since I’m committed to guide him and be a supportive mom, I am not complaining. But it does bring up some issues about how I can manage my time better as a mother and a freelance writer.

The thing is, when my son started to go to school, a lot of job offers suddenly poured in. If you work on oDesk, you should know that there is this new feature wherein you get invites for interviews. Well I got a couple and it became a struggle between the mom and freelancer in me as to whether I should accept them or not. I was tempted to decline and focus on my son’s schooling but I knew that my husband and I needed the extra income to save up for my son’s tuition.

This is where time management became a real savior in my freelancing life. I knew that I could not sacrifice the attention that my son needed but I also had to boost the freelancing jobs that I had to take on. So here are the things that I did to cope with what could have been a chaotic time in our household.

  1. I put everything on schedule. Before the start of every week, I wrote down all the projects and chores that I had to accomplish and plotted everything in my schedule sheet. That way, I knew what had to be done the moment I woke up, while my son was sleeping, etc. I was very detailed at first and I found myself consulting this sheet every now and then. I set at time limit for each project and task to make sure that I finished them on time.
  2. I built my schedule on my priorities. I had to weigh the important tasks and this time, it was my son’s schooling. I built my freelancing career and household chores around that time to make sure that the priorities will not be compromised.
  3. I took note of those that were not my priorities. I ranked my tasks to identify which of them can be given up. That way, when certain tasks took longer than planned, I knew what to give up or move to another day.
  4. I did not obsess about the changes. Now this did not happen immediately. I initially, became upset when things did not go according to my schedule. But I soon learned how to let go of the things that I could not control. I just made sure that my schedule have some free time that can be used for the tasks that I needed to move because some projects took longer to finish.

If you find yourself faced with a lot of things to do, planning really goes a long way. This is how time management helped me be there for my son and at the same time, allowed me to put in more time on my freelancing career to save up for his tuition fee.

How about you? Do you have time management issues in your work?

Image courtesy of stockimages for FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

4 Best Work At Home Forums Part 3: Work-At-Home Mom Support Forum

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles for FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We are down to our last work at home forum in this 3 part article series. So far, we have discussed Digital Point Forum, Warrior Forum and Why Do Work Forum. In case you have not yet found the forum that you want to join, you may find better luck with the last one.

Work-At-Home Mom Support Forum

Work-At-Home-Mom support forum is a popular site the specifically cater to mothers who wish to find an online career. WAHM provides the job support page where you can search for the best Internet-based careers in your state. Another thing that you can find here are business job posts that you can select from. You can get professional tips and advice from the site through blogs and articles.

The forums and discussion threads also provide announcements about site-related issues – most of which can be found in their Getting Started forum. If you have started your online business, you can promote that online by posting, advertising and displaying your social network links. WAHM has a Professions forum where you can browse job opportunities by specialization. It will allow you to narrow your search by focusing on discussion threads of the niche that you want to look into.

More than that, there are also discussions about sales in different categories, saving money, and WAHM life. You can get tips from actual experiences of the other members and you can return the favor by submitting your own experiences too. The site also has a help forum where you can specifically post questions to help you maximize the tools and resources available online.

That caps off the 4 work at home forums that you might want to look into for help as you embark on the wonderful world of online freelancing.

Always remember that these websites are discussion forums and that means you must abide by the rules of each site. To keep yourself from being banned or considered as a spammer by the administration, you have to fill out important details about yourself. These are done in the strictest of confidences. Feel free to join different forums and just be honest about your information to avoid being marked as a spammer. Read the rules, be sincere and observant as you go through each thread. Forums can be a gold mine of information – you just have to know how to look for them.

When you think about it, these forums will not only give you the information that you need about online jobs, it will also help you make a lot of friends. Joining a community board is like joining  a club. You are entering a group that share the same interests as you are in hopes that you can enjoy and enhance your skills with those who share your passion.

Work at home jobs help you set up a very promising online career. In order to find online opportunities, you need to be patient in exploring the web.  Discussion forums are a great source of help for someone looking for an online career. So pick a forum and join in on the discussion. You don’t have to limit yourself to the 4 forums that we have discussed in this article series.

Good luck!

4 Best Work At Home Forums Part 2: Warrior Forum and Why Do Work Forum

Photo Courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti for FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This the the second article in the 3 part article series about work at home forums.

In the last article, I shared with you a review about Digital Point Forum and how it can help you jump start your work at home career. As promised, let’s discuss two more forums that you may want to look into for information as you start building up your earning capabilities at home. See if your specific interests and requirements will be satisfied in these forums.

Warrior Forum

Warrior Forum specializes in Internet Marketing. Here, you will see various ideas and information about the constantly changing rules and techniques about online marketing. The thing about being an Internet Marketer is you need to make sure that the site, products and services you are promoting online will always be visible in search engines. If you are looking for information from people who are really doing the “legwork” – go to Warrior Forum.

The members of this website consists of web experts that will help you solidify your career online. They have been there, done that and are continuing to explore this ever changing domain. So if you want to keep abreast of Internet developments, you might want to be a member of this community.

Typical discussions include social media marketing, mobile marketing, writing, advertising and other popular ways to make money online. There are also private forums available are specifically for registered members only.

Posts about Warrior Forum events, support and plug-in profit site support are also available here. So if you are very interested in Internet Marketing, you might want to hang out in this forum.

Why Do Work Forum

Why Do Work forum is a bit of a quirky name but it is still one of the best communities online. The work topics are categorized properly and among them include work from home advice, tips and support, and business discussions. There are also general chat forums and an introduction category that will help you maximize the benefits of the forum.

There is a job leads category where you can discuss your skills and hopefully find work as a freelance writer, transcriptionist and other virtual office related jobs.

You can ask questions about different employers too – and you can very well expect honest and sincere answers. This will help you when you are doubtful of the credibility of a client. Scam reports and scam prevention are aslo topics that you can find in Why Do Work. While the opportunities are great, there are malicious employers online who will run away with your output without paying you. This forum has a specific category to help educate you on how you can keep yourself from being a victim.

Why Do Work Forums also provides tips on how to make money online, advertising and promotion of your business products and services, webmaster resources and advice. You can also find articles with the special offers – but this is mostly available only for the registered members.

In the third part of this series, I will be discussing the last (but certainly not the least) of the 4 work at home forums. I will try to keep the wait from being too long for this third article.

Till then! :)