It’s been a few weeks now since I took voluntary redundancy from work. So many weeks that I’m actually starting to lose track. There was the honeymoon period where I didn’t have to do a lot – the first week, then the two weeks of the Easter holidays. And then REALITY. Two weeks ago, I realised I was terrified. I had to find work, but I didn’t know how to find work. I wanted it all to go away, I wanted to hide from it. I could just be a proper stay at home mum, couldn’t I? I think I’d be quite happy like that – drop the kids off, pick them up, do my blog to keep my brain active. But I couldn’t do that, I had to earn money. A mortgage doesn’t pay itself.
So I wrote this post, trying to convey all the thoughts and emotions that were flying around. And I got some amazing feedback. Lots of experienced bloggers, including many who have made the move themselves, and some who I have never even ‘spoken’ to before, gave me lots of good advice. I was so grateful. There were loads of things I hadn’t thought of myself.
And then I got stressed and overwhelmed all over again, because there was too much advice and I wanted to do it all. I thought I had to do it all in one go. Then I had a word with myself. I made a list and I worked through it. It was a marathon, not a sprint. I have my redundancy money to fall back on, which gives me a lovely cushion of several months to get myself properly up and running.
There were obstacles, better known as real life, thrown in my way. Because I was now a ‘stay at home mum’ and the school holidays were over, I’d made a hospital appointment and a dentist’s appointment for myself, plus a doctor’s appointment for my daughter. There was a school governors’ meeting, a grammar school open day, my son’s school assembly and I had to drive to Gloucester to pick up my computer that had been fixed. How was I supposed to work with all of this? There just weren’t enough hours in the day. One day I just accepted at 2pm that work wasn’t going to happen and instantly felt better.
It wasn’t until last week that things started to take off. Suddenly it really seemed to be happening.
On Monday I had a lovely, and very useful, chat with a former manager who’d taken the plunge five years ago. More than anyone, she gave me the confidence to believe I really could do it.
On Tuesday, I started emailing. Just a few emails a day. I wanted to think them through and make sure each one was properly targeted – that I’d looked at their website and Twitter before I sent it. I tried a few small businesses, local PR companies and some small local publications.
By the end of Tuesday I had my first paid blogpost in nearly a year (OK, so that was a coincidence and blog-related rather than due to my email campaign, but every little helps!), an offer to write an article for a free local magazine and a polite rejection. The magazine article came about because I followed advice from Tots 100 Blog Camp and actually pitched an idea of a particular article, rather than just say ‘can I write for you?’. As it happens, I won’t be paid for the article, but the advice from Blog Camp was that this is fine – it’s all experience and exposure. I was even happy with my polite rejection, because they’d actually bothered to reply.
On Wednesday I had a polite email saying they’d keep my details on file, heard I’d won £100 John Lewis voucher for writing this (again, not worked related but, again, every little helps) and heard I’d made it to the shortlist of the BiBs blogging awards (blogging awards help prove I can write and should therefore help me get work).
Then on Friday afternoon it all started happening – another ‘keep you on file’ email was followed by a phone call from a local firm who should have some work to put my way this week. A fellow blogger, Jess from Catch a Single Thought, who went freelance last year and has been my inspiration, passed my details onto a client as she had too much work on. They got in touch to say they would give me the work next week. A friend of a friend, who has her own proofreading company, had been in touch with me to ask for advice on growing her beautiful blog Chasing Dragonflies (please have a read, but get the tissues ready). She then asked if I would be able to do a job for a client, writing and proofreading some web copy.
So it looks like it is really happening! I’m going to be busy. I’m not frightened any more and I don’t need to run away and hide from it. I really am a freelance writer!
Find out more about my services at http://threeworldmedia.co.uk