Tips for Would-Be Freelancers Who Are Parents of School-Aged Children

Perhaps you’ve thought about freelancing for a long time, but had to put off making the transition into this career due to other commitments. Now, your children are in school full-time, and you’re determined to get started as a freelancer. In order to make freelancing work for you both personally and professionally, there are several things you’ll have to keep in mind.

  1. Create your own, specific work space. Even if you’re in a freelancing niche that requires time away from home, you’ll still need a place to store work materials. Your work space could be a room in your home that’s converted into an office, or, if you live in smaller surroundings, a corner with a desk. Wherever and however you choose to create this space, consider keeping the décor simple and functional to minimize distractions – if your space features a cozy chair or sofa, it could be all too tempting to take a nap!
  1. Determine your direction early on. Success as a freelancer requires a significant amount of discipline. You need to begin by setting goals, and working to achieve them, be it through research, education, or the actual freelancing projects themselves. Is your goal to freelance as a supplemental source of income while the children are in school, but to take time off during school vacations? Or, would you like to become a full-time freelancer?
  1. A whiteboard calendar can keep you motivated. Regardless of whether school is in session or not, you know that you’ll only have a certain amount of hours per day for work. A lot of people rely on smartphone calendars to get everything done, but sometimes, it’s better to be a little old fashioned and use a whiteboard calendar to note conference calls, project deadlines, etc. Having that calendar within view while you’re working can help you focus on tasks in the present, and be more prepared for the future. That being said, however…
  1. Understand the uncertainties. As a parent, you’re probably already used to things happening last-minute, and the same can be said of freelancing. There are times when you might have lots of work, or stretches of no work at all. Instead of stressing out trying to anticipate the next turn in the road, things will be easier to deal with if you adopt more of the “go with the flow/one thing at a time” approach. It’s also important to…
  1. Never lose perspective, by prioritizing accordingly. Freelancing can be great, in that there’s usually the ability to work when you want, and pause things to attend your children’s activities/spend time with loved ones. However, freelancing also means that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. You might have plans, then get an email with a work offer, causing you to cancel one thing for the other in an effort to maintain a steady income. While sometimes cancellations are necessary, remember that time goes by all too quickly, and before you know it, your children will be adults on their own journeys. Never let your loved ones take a backseat to your career; acknowledge that there should be times when work will have to wait.

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