This weekend I was at a family Halloween event in Brooklyn, New York’s hub of the creative professional, Yuppie parent. While watching my kids get down to some crappy children’s rock band, I distracted myself by eavesdropping on a couple of above-described moms. “Cobbling together a living with freelance projects has been tough – but when I had a fulltime job it was even harder!”
I have long sung the praises of self-employment. Allow me to continue here. When you have a traditional full-time job in which you are required to report to a boss an office, there is little flexibility with how you use your time. Time is humans’ greatest commodity, and single parenthood only highlights that. Swinging work, kids, home, personal time, money management, a relationship and getting that occasional wax requires super-human juggling scheduling when you have to do it by yourself. If you’re tethered to an office and a strict schedule, this can seem impossible. If you only have 12 personal days per year, what happens when your kid wakes up on a Wednesday in pool of his own puke? What about the parent-teacher conference, when your own parent needs your company at a doctor’s appointment. What do you do when you need to get your roots touched up?
But if you have control over your time, you have control over your life. This point is in full effect this week for me. Consider the following single-mom specific challenges my flexible (freelance writing) career has accommodated: daycare closing owing to Hurricane Sandy; a child support court hearing; accompanying a friend to an out-of-town medical appointment, and a Halloween party at said daycare. Yet most days this week I will exercise, and I will also bill around three times what I would earn in a staff job in my profession.
True, this is an unusually hectic week, and it will mean that I work some hours after the kids are in bed and over the weekend. But what would I do if I had to clock into a desk? I would find a way to make it all work, but it would be at the expense of paying a babysitter, and in stress for all three of us. Instead, today while the wind picks up and the rain intensifies, my kids and I are baking pumpkin banana muffins that we will use to bribe our neighbors into joining our afternoon dance party.
One of the most beautiful things about living today is that achieving a work-life balance has never been easier. Companies increasingly allow telecommuting and other alternative work arrangements; freelancing and consulting arrangements are now the norm in many professions, and technology facilitates flexibility in ways we couldn’t have imaged a few years ago. The other thing successful, self-employed people will tell you: if you do it right, you almost always earn way more money than if you are stuck to a salary.
Don’t get me wrong, it is always a struggle to do the single-mom juggle. But if you have a grip on your time, the chaos goes down, your quality of life goes up and your hair has never looked better.
Here is the rundown:
I bought a domain name (that is the URL of your blog, like WealthySingleMommy.com) at GoDaddy.com
Like most personal blogs, mine is built on WordPress. Make sure you go with WordPress.ORG (not .com). This is really important. It would be really lame if my URL was www.wealthysingleommy.blogspot.com. You don’t want that.
Then you You need a basic design. No need to spend a bunch of money when you start out. I bought an affordable one at Elegant Themes — they have lots of really pretty ones.
Sign up for a service to collect email addresses and send emails. I use Aweber, one of the most popular services. I like it because it is easy to use and has lots of design options.
One of my favorite parts of my business is hosting “The Emma Johnson Show.” I had never worked in radio until this year. I host all of my shows as podcasts using an easy and affordable app, Libsyn.
But you may know that I am also a freelance journalist, writing stories for publications like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Woman’s Health, Woman’s Day, Real Simple, WORTH, MSN Money – you name it. In fact, that is still how I make a lot of my income. I highly suggest you use sites like FlexJobs , a site that lists only freelance, telecommute, contract and other flexible positions (the owner launched the business to find work-life balance for herself and her family, and all workers are telecommute).
When it comes to building the actual business, earlier this year I started using QuickBooks, which is awesome (for years and years I had a really ghetto accounting system involving an Excel worksheet, Word doc invoices and email. Negative!). Seriously, Quickbooks looks awesome, is super-easy to use and helps me keep track of all the money I make.
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