7 Years Of Freelancing

7 Years Of Freelancing

I have been freelancing for the past 7 years and I cannot help but look back at how far I’ve come since then.

How it all started

I started in 2011 when my son turned 1. It was not really about separation anxiety. The need to stay at home was brought about by our frustration in finding a trustworthy person to care for our child. And the fact that my husband kept on encouraging me to stay at home with our son.

The moment I gave birth, my husband started to look into options for work-from-home jobs. He kept on telling me about a friend who worked from home. I guess he really wanted one of us to be completely hands-on with raising our child – but I was hesitant because I wanted to keep on earning. I knew that financially, we need two incomes in our household.

But I was keeping an open mind. So when he encouraged me to try out online freelancing, that was what I did.

When the opportunity arose for me to work from home, I decided to grab it. I knew nothing about online work but I was determined. I was driven by the thought of being able to stay at home with my son while earning my own money.

Truthfully, it was not easy. Financially, my husband and I had to make do with a smaller income. During the first few months of my freelancing career, my income went down by 60%. We had to make a lot of lifestyle changes and spending reductions. But we knew what our end goal was and we were determined to make through until we succeeded.

And we did.

My freelancing career slowly took off. Now, I can proudly say that I have reached the Top Rated status as an online freelancer. Now, I have enough work history to allow me to choose the projects that I will work on.

Two things that helped my freelancing career

It was not a smooth journey but there were two things that really helped me along the way.

The first was our end goal. I realized what my husband was saying all along. Nothing compares to having one of us stay at home with our son. By believing that I had to make it work, I found the motivation to push through even when things were looking down. Even when I faced one rejection after another, I looked at my son and I knew I had to make it work somehow.

The second was finding what I wanted to do. I always loved writing but I never thought of making a career out of it. When I started freelancing as an online writer, I was surprised by how it made me feel really fulfilled. I knew that I could do this day in and day out. And since I was a freelancer, I could do it at my own pace. Since it was something that I loved to do, it was not hard to make an effort to learn and explore things on my own. And with every new learning comes a greater chance of achieving a successful freelancing career.

I am sure every journey is different but I just wanted to share with you what I had to go through. It was hard but it was all worth it – and it still is.

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

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.

Managing Your Finances As A Freelancer

One of my clients is in the debt relief industry and I must say, it is one of the most interesting and educational projects that I had ever been involved in. Because of that, I thought that maybe I should write some money management lessons that I have learned so far.

The thing about freelancing is you are not guaranteed the same income every week. Sometimes the projects are overflowing and the income is more than what you really need. In some cases, you barely have enough to live on.

Managing Your Finances As A Freelancer

Photo Courtesy of Stuart Miles for FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I guess what I really want to send across is this: make sure you prepare for the lean moments when your cash flow is not as strong as you need it to be. Here are three tips that I believe can help you.

Learn how to budget.
Budgeting is something that I had been doing even before and I must say, the relevance of it has grown stronger for me. This can get quite tedious, especially when you are taking note of every expense. However, I noticed that it allowed me to identify how much money I need to target in order to have more than enough for our monthly needs. Although my husband has a day job that brings in income regularly, I still need to shoulder some of the expenses if we want to live conveniently and comfortably.

Spend only on what you need.
Through my budgeting efforts, I noticed one trend that I really think we should work on: whenever our household income increased, our expenses also grew. I think it is all but natural for us to want to reward ourselves when we bring in more money but I think it is not the healthiest of habits for your finances. When your income grows, I suggest that you make your savings grow – not your expenses. Sure, a reward may be in order but control it. Do not splurge because saving may prove to be more rewarding in the long run.

Save for the rainy day.
This is such a cliché I know. However, your savings will literally save you. For instance, when my father-in-law passed away early this year, my husband and I had to help with all the expenses. Our savings allowed us to do that without sacrificing our usual expenses. Not only that I could take the week off from work to be able to attend to the needs of my family. For others, it can be the car breaking down or an unexpected illness in the family. These can all be financed by your savings – you do not have to put yourself in debt for it. Also, during the lean times when projects are slow, I will not worry because I know that we have built a financial security net for our family.

All of these give me the peace of mind that even if I end up without clients for a couple of weeks, we will be alright. Now, my husband and I are working on a supplemental source of income since we are saving up to buy a home in the next few years – in cash. Anyway, wish us luck and in my end, I will wish that you can implement the right management skills that will keep you financially secure as you grow in your freelancing career.

Till the next article! :)