Of all the things in the world I thought I’d be doing, freelance work was not one of them. In my time working as a freelance writer, I’ve learned many things. In fact, I was able to transition from working full time, to part-time, and finally able to freelance full time.
But rest assured, this process was not all roses.
It can be really frustrating trying to make it as a freelance writer. It’s hard to find clients that will take a chance on you when you’re new. It’s hard to make the time to actually sit down and build platform, especially if not technically savvy. It’s hard writing when you figure out being a freelance writer also means you have to be good at marketing too!
And not everyone really understands what it means to be freelance writer. Very frustrating indeed trying to build a successful freelance career.
It’s even more frustrating when you’re trying to freelance as a single mother.
No matter how you look at it, at the end of the day, you have to work. Child support is hardly ever enough to actually take some of the financial burden off you. Children grow constantly and they always need something – whether it be money for trying out for joining a club at school or a new set of clothes for the changing seasons.
It can be terrifying having bills racking up on you and yet no money to take care of your child’s most basic needs.
Let me re-clarify this point again. Children always, always, always need something – whether it’s food, clothes, school supplies, medicine, field trips, extracurricular activities, or just attention. There are tons of articles on the internet about married women who lament the hardships of motherhood. Imagine if these women had to do it all by themselves?
I know I’ve felt like giving up many times. Sometimes, it’s easier to just go with the flow and follow that 9 to 5 lifestyle – where you get reprimanded for being sick or have to ask for permission to be off.
I’ve had enough of that lifestyle – single mom or not.
I made the decision to quit my job one day in August. I had no savings in my account. I didn’t have another job lined up. I just went out on pure faith that everything would work out.
So, I quit.
That’s right. I gave my supervisor my two weeks notice. Interestingly enough, they started interviewing for my position while I was still working there. It really drove home the point of how freaking replaceable we are. My momentary feelings of guilt quickly disappeared.
I spent about a week at home working on my freelance business until I got hired on by a temp agency. Initially, my plan was to work enough to just pay my car note and insurance. I came up with the grand plan of seeking help with utilities from charitable organizations and I stayed in income based apartments, so I figured my rent would go down some.
I had a grand, master plan. Until I realized I had a 9 year old daughter who needed new clothes and shoes for the fall because she’d amazingly outgrown the clothes which I purposefully bought too big for her. And of course, she wants to join the cheerleading team at school which requires a $100 sports fee. And her school tuition (because I brilliantly thought to put her private school) is due every month on the 1st.
If you’re the type of person that enjoys having your master plan get screwed up, start a family.
And who knows?
Things may work out differently if you’re married. But being single means that you must be flexible and must expect plans to never work out. If you see a single mom doing a happy jig out the blue, I bet it’s because she planned something and it actually worked out!
Now, getting back on track, as a single mother realizing I had more to take care of than just me, I knew I had to work as close to full time as possible. So now, I typically work 32-35 hours a week. I have better hours that work out great for my daughter and me. I’m not bound to a schedule – if I don’t want to work, I don’t have too and there’s no penalty for it.
I make enough to just barely scrape by. And yes, it’s hard. I can’t tell you how many hours at night I’ve spent in prayer. But these small changes have boosted my confidence in ways you can’t imagine.
I’ve been able to pitch a little more than I was previously. I’m not as worn out from working as I used to be. I’m able to get a little freelancing work done while I’m at my day job. And over all, I’m not so mentally drained from working that I can put more thought into my business.
I’m still waiting for that one moment when I land that one job that will allow me to transition over as full-time writer. I know that day will come because I’m working towards it – perhaps not as much as other newbies. But I’m doing what I can with the circumstances that I was dealt.
I know we all want to be overnight successes but I’m firmly attached to the belief that the things worth having are the ones we have to work for – the things we pour our blood, sweat, and tears into. Because when we finally hit that mark that spells success, it’s so empowering and so sweet.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a single or married – the fact is we all start at the same place.
The real question is this: are you going to give up because it’s too hard or are you going to fight to achieve your dream?