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If you’re considering becoming a freelancing mom, you should read this first. It’s far from easy, but of course, it’s worth it. More time with your kids and flexibility to adjust work to meet their needs is so valuable. But it comes with tradeoffs. Make sure you’re ready by thinking through these crucial elements of being a work-at-home mom.
10 Things to Know Before Becoming a Freelancing Mom
Leaving a job and becoming a freelancing mom or adjusting from stay-at-home motherhood without working to adding work to your already busy schedule will require some transitions. Here’s what you need to know about freelancing mom life.
1. Income Fluctuates
Sure, you can set up contracts that use retainers or flat fees for services. But you’ll still face changes in income. That’s because clients will come and go, no matter how good they are. Or their needs will change because of internal adjustments, hirings, focus areas, new products, etc.
So you have to be OK with those changes and not be too anxious to worry when you have a down month. It’s just a sign that it’s time to return to prospecting to get things back where you want them to be. And during the really good months, you’ll need to be disciplined to save the surplus to make up for the slower times. It takes practice, but with time you’ll find balance in the busy and slow times to enjoy them both.
2. Work Demands Fluctuate
Just like your income changes, so does your workload. You might have some months where you wonder how on earth you’ll do it all. And sometimes it isn’t all work-based. Changes in your child’s sleep patterns or extracurricular activities could impact your time and availability for work.
Have good methods for stress relief, such as working out, reading, hobbies, and time away from your children, when possible.
3. There’s No Paid Time Off (or Maternity Leave)
And perhaps most challenging of all for moms, there is no paid maternity leave. In fact, there isn’t unpaid maternity leave for freelancing moms either. Taking time off is challenging all the way around.
Whether it’s time away for vacation or the birth of a new little one, you’ll likely have to work harder leading up to the time off to prepare.
4. You Might Work Round the Clock
Set work hours will become a thing of the past with working motherhood. You’ll need some semblance of a regular schedule to keep your children happy and occupied. But at the same time, you won’t have set work hours where things turn off after that.
You might respond to messages and emails at all hours. And you might find yourself working in the evenings once your spouse comes home or you put the little ones to bed.
It takes incredible sacrifice, and it might mean you watch very little Netflix. But you also won’t spend tons of time going back and forth between daycare and prepping to go to work constantly.
5. Having a Support Network is Essential
Work surges can come out of nowhere. And you can certainly say no to work, but that also might harm relationships and make it more challenging for you to retain clients. You need a good network of support to help love on your little ones when you experience these surges.
And the larger your network, the easier it will likely be to find new work when things slow down a bit for you.
6. You’ll Need to Learn Basic Accounting
Freelancing is owning a business. Sure you don’t have to worry about inventory management or product development. But you do have to learn some business essentials, including accounting. You’ll need to manage a business bank account and ledger to ensure you set aside money for taxes and know how you’re doing financially.
7. You Must Advocate for Yourself
Freelancing moms face burnout because it can feel like all you do is work and care for their home. You’ll need to advocate for yourself and have no problem asking for help. That help might mean asking others to connect you to people in their network who can help you. Or it might mean asking a friend or family member to watch your children so you can catch up on work or relax.
8. You’ll Feel Torn Between Work and Your Littles
Mom guilt is oh so real. You can feel guilt about how much you work, what you feed your children, the life you can provide for them and so much more. But you shouldn’t feel guilty for making sure they have a safe place to live and healthy food to eat by ensuring financial stability.
Some days you might be able to focus entirely on them every waking minute. On other days you’ll need to encourage independent play. Regardless it will be a push and pull feeling between work and your littles constantly.
9. You Should Be a Self-starter
No one will be there to make sure you get your work done when you’re a freelancing mom. You’ll need to manage your own to-do list and work through the challenges of too much or too little work. You won’t have a team behind you that can pick up the slack when you’re having a hard time or inundated with things to do.
You should be a self-starter and know what you have to get done each day to ensure your livelihood stays intact. But you might want to also keep a to-do list for home activities to ensure you get the essentials done there too.
10. Be Prepared to Market Yourself Regularly
You’ll need to be comfortable with sharing your skillset with others. That means talking about yourself and tooting your own horn when it needs to be tooted. Some people feel uncomfortable with this, but it’s an essential skill for self-employed moms.
11. Bonus: It’s Totally Worth It!
You should also know that all these things are so worth it. Being the one who your babies wake up to after every nap is an incredible joy. Going on adventures to the zoo or the park or even just the grocery store is better than you can imagine.
The freedom of freelancing as a mom is unlike anything you’ll ever experience with a full-time position because even the most flexible employer doesn’t allow you to totally work around your children. Still not sure if you should be a mama working at home? Read the 10 ways to know if you should be a mama working at home.