Before baby makes three, the freelance lifestyle looks pretty sweet to prospective parents or even those who are exhausted by the routine of trying to juggle two roles.
The funny thing about kids is they need an awful lot of attention usually right when a deadline looms, and working with a kid in one arm and another permanently attached to a leg isn’t as peaceful as it might sound. (We’re kidding. It’s not peaceful at all. Not even remotely. Pun not intended.)
There are some tricks to making it work, though, and even making into an ideal lifestyle choice for parents, so take a look at Jennifer Stakes Roberts‘ suggestions at Freelance Switch before making the big move and see if you have what it takes.
Reliable childcare is obviously vital to freelancing success. New parents face the question of whether they are going to be able to afford childcare as an extra expense: not only do your fees need to cover childcare costs before you even begin to make a profit, but these costs are usually ongoing whether you are working or not, so you need to budget for down time.
UK-based photographer Jonathon Watkins of Photoglow balances his work and childcare by careful planning and making use of his government’s fifteen hours a week of free childcare for children over three years old. He schedules his photoshoot work around the time when he knows he has childcare, and often uses evenings and weekends for post-production. Jonathon works more than 60 hours a week when he has projects on but the flexibility of his post-production work means that he can have time with his two young children and work after they have gone to bed so they still have quality family time.
For him, scheduling is key to making his business work. Freelancing has given him greater flexibility than a regular job, plus it’s something that he loves. “You see a lot more of the kids as a freelancer. I work on large projects but you don’t know when the next one is going to be so I work long hours. Being organized is vital.”
A common theme for freelancers with children is the role of the entire family in making the lifestyle work. Working partners often provide the stability of a more regular income or else work part-time to juggle childcare. Jonathon Watkins’ wife had generous maternity leave and a job that allows flexible working so she could condense her hours over fewer days. As with any working family, grandparents may be on hand to look after pre-school children or help out if children are at home sick.
It isn’t just the material or physical support; many freelancers attribute their business success to the emotional and mental support of their partner. Rachel McNaught’s husband is critical to her business success: “He believes in me and my ability to make this work. He appreciates why I do what I do and cares about our business as much as I do.”
Full story at Freelance Switch.
Advice for freelancing.
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