Just because you become a part-time working mum doesn’t mean you no longer have ambitions for your career. Shortening your hours doesn’t mean you don’t care about work anymore, just that you have a lot more to fit in. If you’re like me, you’ll always have some kind of plan. And sometimes it’s ok to change your plans.
I’ve written before about my plan to freelance full-time. This is a plan I’ve been working on for almost 2 years now.
I worked full-time before having Little H and changed my hours several times to fit in with nursery and school. I’m obviously earning a fair bit less than when I was full time, so a couple of years ago I took on some freelance social media work. At first it was just one client to get some extra money and gain experience, but they recommended me to a friend and it went from there. As I took more on I decided I enjoyed it enough to quit my job and be a full-time freelancer.
I wasn’t in a very good place work-wise which added to the idea. I’ve been in my job for 10 years and the company has gone from 5 of us sat in a basement to a public company with a staff of 30+ . Constant change and upheaval can be tough when you just want to get your work done and get home to your family at the end of the day.
Decent part-time jobs are few and far between – believe me I’ve looked – so I concentrated more on the freelance work. It escalated fairly quickly to 5 freelance clients through recommendations and soon I was doing 20+ hours a week on top of 30 hours in my ‘real’ job. Although it was a lot of extra work it was great because our salaries were paying the bills so this was essentially extra money each month. It wasn’t quite enough to be the equivalent of my salary though and I worked out I’d need to more than double what I was earning from freelance to give up my job.
When you already work 30+ hours a week that’s not easy! I started to save the freelance money with the aim that when I had enough I could leave my job with a couple of months salary in the bank.
Then something changed my mind. I had a chat with my boss who had twigged I wasn’t happy. He offered a slight change to the role with extra responsibilities and a bit extra money. I decided to give the new ideas a go and see what happened – I’d nothing to lose and couldn’t leave yet anyway as I hadn’t saved enough.
That was a couple of months ago and in a surprising turn of events I’m actually enjoying my job again! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not skipping into work on a Monday morning, but I’m enjoying the work and the extra responsibility. I certainly don’t have time to get bored.
I’ve recently seen a friend give up his full-time job to go freelance, only to end up getting a part-time job due to the pitfalls of being a freelancer. This was the kind of thing that was worrying me. I’ve also had a client cancel my services as they could no longer afford it. Luckily this was only a small part of my income each month but it showed how scary it would be if I was relying on that money to pay the mortgage. I’ve also realised that I’m not very good at promoting myself and pitching for work.
So in the end I’ve decided to stay in my job for the time being. I’ll be able to further my career and realistically earn more money than I would being freelance. Yes freelance has the flexibility to go to all the school events, have days off when you need to be around, and not just work hard to put money in someone else’s pocket. However, you do only have yourself to rely on, you can lose business at any point, and you have to go out and find the work.
I’m old enough to admit that maybe it’s not for me after all, and it’s ok to change your plans. I don’t feel like I’ve failed because I’ve been earning some good money freelancing. I’m going to keep the freelance clients I have for now as the extra money is obviously nice. I don’t think I’ll take any more clients on for the moment, I might even try to reduce them later in the year to get more of my ‘free time’ back.
In future I might go back to the full-time freelance idea, there’s nothing to say I can’t change my plans again at a later date. It’s always good to have a ‘plan b’!