Yes, you can have it all.
As a full-time mom, you cook, clean, do laundry, pick up toys, drop kids off at soccer, pick kids up at dance, go to
sleep and wake up to start it all over again. But somewhere in the midst of it all, you desire something for yourself. Something more than just watching your fine young kids grow into the loving, caring adults for whom you have high hopes.
Yes, there are only 24 hours in a day, and some days it seems like there are only four hours. But as a mother who is raising two young boys, ages 4 and 2, and managing a full-time freelance writing and PR business, I’m here to tell you that it IS possible to have the best of both worlds—and live to tell about it.
There are some tips you should know before getting started—and even as you continue building your business—that may make things a bit easier not only for you, but for those around you.
1. Pick your niche
I have nearly 20 years of experience in writing and public relations for the health and fitness industries. A project that has ties to the computer industry, for example, will not only tire me, but it will hinder my interest and prevent me from putting my best foot forward.
2. Schedule your work day
Decide what times of the day you will be available to work. I wake up about an hour before my kids do. I take a look at what I need to do that day and then jump right in. The hardest part may be when I am right in the middle of a project and one, or both, kids get up and require my attention. It may be difficult to put the project aside at that particular moment, but knowing that I fostered the thought process for that project is helpful when I return to it later, after the kids go to bed at night.
I also am in the process of developing some work time during the day—about an hour or so—during which time the kids can play or read their library books. This is a constant work in progress, as it is often hard for them to comprehend how I can be working when I am at home, but Daddy needs to go to an office to work.
3. Manage your workload
This is a tough one for me, as I want to take on every project that comes my way. But if I did that, my brain would never have any downtime, and I would never get to spend any real quality time with my kids. For this issue, I rely on my gut instincts. If something does not sound right about a project, or I just do not feel that it would be a good fit, I have to say no. This leads me to my third tip.
4. Learn to say no
This has huge benefits, and may take some getting used to, particularly if you come from an office environment, where saying no was not an option. As with anything in motherhood, saying no does not mean you are a poor professional. It means that you have the freedom to pick and choose where your time is best spent. And, ultimately, the areas that will allow you to showcase your best
5. Have work, will travel
Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to establishing my own full-time freelancing business is that there are never any “vacation days.” But that’s also an advantage, as I am never far from where I left off. I take my iPad with me on vacation and power it up when the kids are resting or watching their night-time movie.
The power of today’s diversified technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with clients, putting them at ease and placing yourself ahead of the pack. Vacation may not be the best time to get started on a brand new project that will require a great deal of your time, but being able to check in on email and keep up with projects as they go means a lot in the mind of a client.
6. Set your goals
My main goal with my freelancing business is to have established a steady, full-time, work-from-home job when my kids are in grade school so that I cannot only contribute to our income, but be available for my kids when they need me, whether it’s a call from the school nurse or to see the annual talent show.
7. Taxes, taxes, taxes
This is the area in which I have received (forcefully, I might add) the most amount of education when I started my business. As soon as my work became more consistent, I met with our accountant to ask how I should file my taxes. He explained the process step by step, and even though it can, at times, be overwhelming and cumbersome, it is well worth it come tax time when we get that refund instead of having a payment due. Keeping on top of your taxes is one of the most important aspects of owning a business, freelance or otherwise, and it is beneficial to stay on top of your money.
In my opinion, I have the best of both worlds. I manage a freelance business that it purely my own while raising two wonderful sons who I hope will one day be inspired by my “just do it all” attitude.
About the author:
Heather Holtschlag is a Pittsburgh-based freelance writer and PR specialist with special expertise in the health and fitness industries. She is a self-described fitness addict who recently added running to her workout regimen, having completed half marathons and 10K races. Visit her website at www.heatherholtschlagpr.com.