Afraid (Work at home mum)

Last Monday morning, I woke up to a strange feeling. I had no work.

To the freelance, work at home mum, this is not a nice feeling. It’s a scary one.

I had woken up to the same feeling the previous Thursday and Friday, but that didn’t feel so bad. No work on Thursday and Friday is kind of OK (although far from ideal). No work on Monday is wrong.

Monday is when I like to make a positive start on the week and get lots done. I’m in a positive frame of mind and ready to work hard. But there was nothing to do.

I’ve been very lucky in the almost two years since I’ve worked for myself. Something has always come along. But will it ALWAYS come along?

I’m kind of hanging on by a thread. I have only two long-term contracts which belong to me and neither of them are particularly lucrative. I need a lot more than my two contracts to keep the wolf from the door. Especially as one of them is due to come to an end in May this year, which, considering it was an initial one month contract in September 2014 isn’t bad at all. But what then?

I need to find more work. More regular work. But it’s really hard to find.

I’m just one woman on my own, working in school hours. I do a good job. All of my clients are very pleased with what I can do. I’m cost-effective, reliable and a fast worker. But I’m too small to work for big companies and the small companies can’t afford me for more than the odd press release here and there. And why would they? They have no need for more than the odd press release here and there.

I rely a lot on work from PR companies who have too much on or are short-staffed. It’s good when I get it and I love getting my teeth into the variety of it. I’m good at what I do and very cost-effective – I don’t charge £100 for 500 words, I charge by the hour, meaning 500 words usually costs them less than half of that. I don’t believe in ripping clients off.

I’ve had months when I’ve been snowed under, but then will have two months with nothing. It’s not my own work and I can never be sure if it’s going to come my way.

So I’m afraid. Afraid of the work drying up. Afraid of earning no money.

We’re not hard up, but big kids are really flipping expensive and they seem to get more expensive by the day. Without my work, we would be cutting down on holidays (essential for preserving the sanity of a family always under pressure), Scout camps, dance lessons, music lessons and everything else the kids ‘need’.

Most of all, I’m afraid of having to get a proper job. Me working at home is good for us. I enjoy being able to take the kids to school and pick them up every day. It’s good for them and it’s good for me. If I went to an office every day, there would have been no panto for my daughter. Who else could have taken her to rehearsals straight after school, or even in school time, every day for three weeks?

All of our lives would be that bit more miserable if I had to go back to commuting and working in an office. I’m not prepared to do that to my family.

So I’ll keep plugging away, trying to find that elusive extra contract or two so I can feel secure in my work and this fear can go away.

Freelance, work, computer

Author: Sarah Mummy

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34 Comments

  1. I can completely understand it can be terrifying. I hope it picks up very quickly, I am sure it will once the PRs sort out their new year agendas and realise they beed you pronto! Xx

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    • Thanks very much, I really hope so! x

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  2. I totally relate to this, it’s tough isn’t it? I’m in a similar position this month, there just hasn’t been much work around and I’m worried about sinking financially. Fingers crossed things pick up soon.x

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    • Thanks very much. I’m not pleased to hear you’re in the same position, but it’s kind of reassuring! Here’s hoping it picks up for both of us soon. x

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    • Thanks very much! My fingers are crossed that my luck turns soon! x

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  3. Gosh has it been two years already? Well done for keeping momentum on the income for this long! It is hard when things go slow, but you do a good job so you just have to trust that things will keep turning up. And when it’s dry, blog! I’ve neglected my blog when work has called, obviously, but it’s nice to get back to writing some posts when I can.

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    • Thanks very much! Yes, it will be two years in April, I’m not sure where that time went to! I definitely focus more on my blog when it’s quiet!

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  4. I hear you – I dread the thought of not working freelance because it suits us as a family. but i do worry when i am having a quiet week.

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    • It’s a scary prospect! Things have always come along, but who’s to say they always will, especially if we’ve got another recession just round the corner!

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  5. You have to tell yourself that you’ve been successful for two years already and things will pick up. Good luck with finding some new and lucrative contracts x

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    • Thanks very much! You make a very good point about the two years. I’ll just keep plugging away looking for something (and keeping my fingers firmly crossed!). x

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  6. Two years is awesome, many businesses fold in this time so big *high fives* to you. Finding work is a balancing act but your dedication and commitment will always find people wanting to work with you.

    Sending positive vibes your way!

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    • Thanks very much, I really appreciate that! I really hope things pick up again soon.

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  7. Something will turn up but I know I feel the same sometimes. This month most of my money has comes from work done last year that I’ve been chasing invoices on rather than new stuff. Working at home is so good for us as a family too and I know we’d all miss it if I had to go out to work instead.

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  8. wow two years is amazing, well done you for that. I’m sure you’ll find more work and it’ll pick up again soon.

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  9. I can’t believe it has been two years! I remember your first day. I only have one contract and I do wonder when they tell me they don’t need me anymore, what will we do. I have decided that for the past five years we have just had to go with fate so we will just roll with it when that happens!

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    • That’s probably the best way! Having only one contract must feel scary at times!

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  10. I have read this with great interest having just written a post about my desire to work the school hours – yet not thinking about the reality or what I could actually do. Well done for the work you have done for two years and hope more comes your way soon x

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    • Thanks very much! I’m lucky that I’ve always been in this line of work and it’s relatively easy to do at home, apart from needing a bit more of it! x

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  11. I really don’t know where those two years have gone! I completely understand how you must be feeling. I hope it picks up soon for you xx

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  12. I am sure something will turn up Sarah. You have worked so hard since going self employed xx

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  13. I hope something else turns up soon, I’m sure it will!

    I was thinking today how difficult it would be to manage my children’s extra activities, if I had a “normal job” it would be impossible. We are lucky, but it can be stressful can’t it?

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    • Absolutely! There’s no way my daughter could have done the panto if I’d had a ‘proper’ job. It would be very hard to go back to it now.

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  14. Ahh I know this feeling. I’m crap at getting work. It’s definitely peaks and troughs and I’m in one big trough here.

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    • Really sorry to hear that! Hope it picks up for us all soon.

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  15. I dread the day I ever have to do a long commute to work again. I pray a couple of great contracts crop up for you real soon. Mich x

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  16. This is my worry about working for myself. I need to start thinking about getting a job but I also still can’t work away from the home, plus I think it will be best for us as a family if I manage to get work similar to yours but I am terrible at approaching people so I worry about that side of things. I hope some work will turn up soon. x

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    • Thanks very much. I’m terrible at approaching people too! I have done it, but it does make me feel very uncomfortable. I’m far more cut out for doing the work than for actually finding it! x

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  17. I can’t imagine how stressful that must be at times – it’s the reason I don’t think I could give up my day job to freelance but I really wish I dared to take the plunge x x

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  18. Sorry to hear this Sarah, it must be a very tricky and frightening stage. I know you’ve said the before though and something always does come up. You work hard and you know you’re good. I do wonder if you’re charging enough though. Sounds like you might be worth more than that?

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    • Thanks very much! I charge a good amount for work I win for myself, but one of my contracts was given to me on the understanding that it was at a low rate. I thought carefully about it, but decided I couldn’t turn down regular money, even though I had to work hard for it!

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  19. This could’ve been written by me! I’m in exactly the same situation, same profession & the desire to work without the requirement of going into an office every day which will disrupt the family. I think employers are now more understanding that you can delivery just as well in an office as well as remotely. Maybe you can work in partnership with someone to aim for the slightly bigger contracts? I’m sure something will come about soon. Good luck with your pitches xx

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