As of this month – December 2012 – I’ve been gainfully self-employed for 2 years! Wow, what a milestone.
Hitting the 2-year mark as a freelancer is a big deal, because it solidifies your profession, reliability, and of course, stability. When applying for a loan, banks don’t like freelancers (or self-employed people in general). So, you have to show 2 years of stable self-employment, backed by tax forms. About a year ago, we starting talking about buying a house with a mortgage company, and when I told him I’m a freelancer, he assumed I didn’t make much money, and I didn’t file taxes on that money. Apparently, this is the stereotype. Banks and loan officers want to see proof of steady work history – employed or self-employed – and with 2 years under my belt as a freelancer, I’m golden. Even when I was looking for work with a temp/contract-to-hire agency, they didn’t take my freelance work seriously. The rep told me that lots of people say they are a freelancer, but don’t actually work. Well, my friends, I must be the exception to the rule (and so are all of my freelancing colleagues), and I couldn’t be more proud.
So here’s to all those freelancers out there who take this profession seriously and aren’t the stereotype! I have several colleagues who have been doing this for more than 8 years, and by golly, I aim to do this until I retire. Hitting this 2-year mark really means a lot to me, so thanks to my clients, colleagues, friends, and family who supported me, even when they thought I was crazy.
How did I get here? By marketing my talents – the things that make me unique – and because of my amazing husband who encourages and supports me non-stop. I spend a LOT of time on the computer during the week while my son is in school, but when the weekend comes, I force myself to unplug (it’s harder than you think!).
When I started out, my son was 4 and stopped taking naps. Now, he is about to turn 6, and is in kindergarden all day. What a difference kindergarden has made for both of us! Working at home is really tough when you have kiddos running around, so if you’re considering a work-at-home career, be realistic about how much time you can devote to working, in light of your children’s needs. For me, the decision to work from home was based on my desire to (1) eliminate the daily commute to work, and eventually eliminate the need for a car (that hasn’t happened yet), (2) reduce the cost of working (daycare, gas, lunch money), and (3) be a better mom. The first few weeks while I was home, I wasn’t sure if I would work or not, but then I got bored, and I had to do something other than play with toys, watch Disney movies, and color all day. Without sounding arrogant, I have a lot of talent, and I couldn’t stand not using it (I also have a very expensive college degree which should not be wasted). So, given the choice to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) or a work-at-home mom (WAHM), I chose to work because it made me happy.
Happy mom = Happy family.
If you’re considering a freelance career, or looking to start your own business, or just work from home, there are several factors to consider before you decide. Not everyone is cut out to work from home. Not everyone wants to be their own boss. I knew when I was in high school that I’d be an entrepreneur. Just don’t make the assumption that working from home is any easier than working outside the home, especially if you’ll be a WAHM (or work-at-home dad). It’s an enormous undertaking, and it’s likely that your friends and family won’t understand or agree with your decision, at first. People who are successful working from home are ambitious, driven, organized, focused, creative, inventive, smart, tech-savvy, outgoing, personable, inspiring, dreamers, and multi-talented.
I’d love nothing more than help other people like me follow their dreams and be passionate about their career. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support!