By now many of you know, I am what I call a “professional freelancer.” Believe it or not, it’s been a goal of mine for a while now, but I wasn’t brave enough to pull the trigger until last month (when my boss just got too crazy for me to handle, to be quite honest.) One day, I just quit my job!
I was originally going to write about what I’ve learned the first month of freelancing, but thought naturally, this post should come first. Before I get into the reasons of why I am taking this leap into the unknown, I want to specify I’m not freelancing because it’s something to fill time or a way to make money with a hobby. Like most people, I need to work. Many households need two incomes to support themselves, two kids, pay a mortgage, a couple car payments, and everything else that comes with adult life. Our household is one of those, so because I need to work, I need to make this “professional freelance” thing work because so far, I’m kinda liking it. So, why did I give up a guaranteed paycheck for the feast or famine lifestyle? There’s a lot of reasons, but here are my top five:
- Some days I need to pick up my kids from school (or daycare) by 6pm. On those days, I was either told if I needed to leave early, I had to take the entire day off because leaving early was not an option (not even if I came in early), I had to “fake sick” to leave early, I had to call out sick, I got a major attitude from my boss, or I was straight up questioned about lying! I got a mixture of both of those things from my last couple of jobs. With two kids, and my closest family member an hour away working more than full-time hours, this just wasn’t working anymore.
- I was tired of spending two hours a day commuting to sit in front of a computer all day. If I don’t have to see anyone in a freezing office to be productive at my job, why not gain two more hours of productivity by cutting out that drive time? I’m already working from home before and after the drive to and from work. Well, I’ve learned a lot of people don’t trust their employees to work from home. (And I blame all of you lazy asses who ruined it for people like me!)
- If I want to take a family vacation, I’m going to. I don’t live to work, I work to live and this year I was going to miss our family vacation because I couldn’t take unpaid time off. Well, cutting out the boss and the designated vacation time eliminates this problem. (Guess what, I still worked a lot as a freelancer on this vacation.)
- Rushing to get out the door in the morning is the worst. I may make this topic an entirely separate blog post, but this will sum it up. One morning, I was in a mad scramble to get an infant and toddler ready for school (or daycare) while making myself presentable. Throw in spit up, poop, tantrums because of clothing choices, hairstyle battles, and more spit up and it ends up being a great recipe for a reality show, but a very stressful morning. One morning, my daughter saw this stress on my face and asked me if I was sad. I told her no, I wasn’t sad. Then she asked to see my smile. I never rushed again. (The clock watcher I worked for didn’t like it, but hey, work to live right?)
- I want to work to make money for myself, not someone else. I know this is very dependent on the job you do and won’t work for everyone. After I got out of the news business (which could be a whole other blog post), I got into what is considered the service industry. I was paid for my time and expertise, but the company I worked for was getting most of that money while I only earned a fraction. Clients were coming in with huge checks, I did all the work, and took home a teeny-tiny part of what they paid. Why not continue doing what I’m doing, using my time and expertise to help clients, and keep all the money I’m earning through my hard work? Makes sense right? So, that’s my plan…
I’ve started my own business. (Got an LLC and everything.) It’s called Media Maven. I am taking on clients who may need help with media relations and outreach, media training, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, writing, blogging, photography, and a few other things. I’m also working with some colleagues who can help with website development, graphic design, SEO, video production – basically anything you need to market your brand or business. (Call me!)
So, that’s my business, I’m also doing a lot for other businesses too. (I need to make money, remember?) I’m working as a consultant for a few public relations firms. I’m the director of media and public relations for a great, local family magazine. I still do on-air work in South Florida every month. I’m writing for some pretty cool magazines and websites. I’m also bringing in some money working as a Younique presenter and lifestyle blogger.
I’ve gone from having one job to having 20. When I say 20, I’m exaggerating. It’s actually 17. I just counted. But that changes daily. It’s more work than I’ve ever done in my life, and I’ve had a job since I was 13. But, it’s work that allows me to take Landon to swimming lessons on a Tuesday at 11am. It’s work that allows me to go on vacation with my family and not stay home by myself while they visit extended family. It’s work that has the potential to be something better for me and my family in the future. Right now, it’s crazy. My mind is a bit of a cluster-you-know-what with a to do list that is pages long and changes daily. It’s income that fluctuates like mad with no guarantees, but if I don’t give it a whirl, I’ll always ask what if.