Starting the WAHM Life

The last time I posted here, I was still pregnant and working in the office.

Fast forward months later… and here I am, an actual work-at-home mom with an almost 2-month-old baby.

So, how did I get started with my work from home journey?

At seven months pregnant, I was still contemplating on whether to give up my office job or not. After all, I was an employee there for more than five years and I was still happy with what I was doing.

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However, when I imagined leaving my baby with a nanny, my mind changed. I just can’t fathom the idea of leaving my child behind for hours. When my daughter finally arrived, I stuck to this decision all the more.

Making the decision to be a work-at-home mom was not easy at all. I had a good job and shifting to a freelance career was very risky. For all I know, I might not get a job at all. Competition in the freelancing world is very stiff these days.

So, two months before I gave birth, when I was already on maternity leave, I started looking for prospects.

The first client I had was referred by a LinkedIn contact who was already a very successful freelancer. I was hired as a virtual assistant/writer, however, I decided to move on to another job after three weeks as I felt unfit for the tasks at hand.

After several other interviews, some of which were unsuccessful, I decided to contact my former clients.

I have mentioned in my other blog posts that I used to work at home (that was around five years ago) before I decided to go back to an office-based job.

So I started going through my emails and contacted my former clients, sending them proposals.

Luckily, one of them was looking for someone with my skillsets and decided to hire me for a full-time job. She understood that I was going to have a baby and we made arrangements of me going part-time for a while before gradually going back full-time when I am already settled.

And that’s how I started my work-at-home journey. I’m currently working part-time, and at the same, taking care of my newborn full-time. It’s not that easy, but with a supportive husband, I’m able to survive the daily challenges of a work-at-home mom.

More of this on my next post.

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5 Valuable Tips I Learned from Freelancing

When I started out as an online freelancer in 2006, I felt like I was on cloud nine with my newfound freedom. In my mind, I have now become my own boss. No one could ever tell me what to do again.

But I was wrong. Months into my freelancing stint, I realized that, yes, freelancing gives me the flexibility of time and place to work, but I was still working. Just like my old office job, I still had deadlines.

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Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you can do anything. You might have gotten rid of your boss, but you gained a client. Your client may not be like your annoying micromanaging boss, but their expectations are high – in fact, most of the time, higher than what your old boss expects you to do.

Once you become a freelancer, you are on your own. You are now your own brand. Anything you do or do not do will affect your brand. And it will make or break your career.

If you are new to freelancing, here are some tips I learned that may help you with your journey:

1. Don’t accept too many jobs that you can’t handle

Freelancing gives you the opportunity to earn much, much more than you used to earn from your office days. This I realized during the early days of my freelancing career. After my first client, I began receiving offers which paid more than the first one. I was overwhelmed… and became a little greedy. I took the opportunity to earn more. When I computed the time I needed to do the required tasks, I was left with only a few hours of rest everyday. There was no time to linger and relax. Still, I told myself, opportunities like this come only once. I can sacrifice a few of my sleeping hours.

Months after, everything boomeranged on me. Yes, I had the opportunity to earn more money – but I was tired and burned out. I lost my focus and passion for work. My quality suffered and I started losing my clients.

2. Learn the art of time management

One thing I wished I possessed during my early freelancing career is the art of time management. In fact, my lack of skills in this area is one of the main reasons of my failure. I didn’t set clear goals and timelines at the time. I was inefficient. I didn’t know what to prioritize. If I knew how to manage my time well, I could have survived. It’s a hard lesson to learn but I learned it very well.

3. Discipline yourself

Discipline goes hand-in-hand with time management. Even if I set a schedule to do a certain task, if I don’t have the discipline to do it on that specific time frame, I will never finish it.

That’s practically what happened to me. Sometimes, even if I know that I was already swamped, I would reason to myself that I needed a bit of time to relax. I would start going to Facebook or I would work on my personal blog instead of doing an important task that I need to finish. At the end of the day, when the time comes for me to take my much needed rest, I would still be working on the task that I was supposed to have finished long ago if I didn’t waste my time chatting on Facebook.

4. Set daily goals and follow through

If your client doesn’t have daily goals set for you, try setting them yourself. It helps with productivity. It helps you know which task you should prioritize. Ever experienced that pride in yourself whenever you cross out a certain task in your list? Whenever I was able to do that, I had this renewed hope that I will be finishing soon. It gives me a sense of achievement and fulfillment. It inspires me to get more things done. If I don’t set my daily goals as a guide, I am like a lost sheep running around, not knowing what to do.

5. Respect your deadlines

For a client, deadlines are very important. That’s exactly why they hired you – so that you can help them meet their deadlines. Now, some clients are very nice and would give you extensions from time to time. But remember that if you’re always asking for extensions, in the long run, your clients will lose their trust in you.

I had struggled with meeting deadlines when I was going through the burnout stage. My focus was gone. And because I have to juggle three different jobs, I didn’t know what to prioritize. I felt like I was not providing quality service anymore. That’s when I decided I needed to take a break from freelancing.

Conclusion:

Freelancing is often compared to having a vacation while working. Ever seen those pictures of people working on the beach or somewhere very relaxing? That’s what often comes to mind when people think about freelancing. Some don’t even consider it as a real job. But when you’re a freelancer, you know this is not true. Yes,  you get to work anywhere you want, and sometimes, anytime you want, but it doesn’t remove the fact that you are still working. You are expected to follow a very high standard, which means, you have to work very hard as well.

Freelancing requires hard work, dedication, discipline, and commitment – just like any other job.