This is probably the first blog post you’ve ever read where a lifestyle coach is telling you NOT to follow in their footsteps. But it’s true. I don’t want you to follow in my footsteps when starting your own business, and here is why: I took the wrong path.
If you followed in my footsteps then you’d find yourself chasing your tail for the next few years, trying to get your head around what sort of business to start or what products to sell. That is not where you want to be. That is hard yakka, and no fun. Not to mention the fact that it most likely won’t help you to replace your salary and quit your day job!
When I first left my job, I decided not to stick to what I knew. I tried new things. Things I didn’t know all that much about. That meant that there was a lot of learning, and I learned pretty quickly that success in those things was going to take me a long time. And like a lot of you, I didn’t have a lot of time before I needed to start earning money.
Instead of following in my footsteps, my advice to you is to start out by sticking to what you know. This might not be exactly what you expected (or maybe wanted) to hear, but in my humble opinion sticking to what you know is going to be your fastest track to earning an income from home.
Here’s what we are going to cover in today’s blog post:
- The story about how I achieved freelance freedom – the long (and wrong) way;
- Why freelancing using your existing skills is the fastest way to earn an income from home;
- Why freelancing from home is the ideal way for mums to start earning an income online; and
- What you can do today to take the first steps towards launching your own freelance business
My story: finding freelance freedom the long way
For many mamas like you and I, there comes a point when we need to say goodbye to our maternity leave and head back into the workforce. For many of us, however, this is not ideal. We’d much rather be at home spending time with our little people and watching them grow, but the reality is that we need to earn an income, so we make the move back into our jobs.I went back to work full time when my kids were 1.5 and 3. I’d done some contract work prior to this, but we decided that it was time that I take the step back into my old career as a lawyer. I knew this career path was demanding, and I knew it would be a juggling act when I went back after having kids, but I had totally underestimated just how much of a juggling act it would be.
As many of you will know, when the kids start daycare, the bugs start coming into your house faster than you could ever imagine. Within my first few weeks of working I had already had to take a couple of days off work with sick kids and this made me feel terrible. It ALWAYS made me feel terrible.
As a working mum you often feel like you’re always failing someone. When you have to call up work and tell them that you can’t come in you feel like you’re failing your team at work, and then when you send the kids off to childcare knowing they’re not 100% you feel like failing too. It’s hard work. If you’re going through this right now, I feel for you, I really do. I’ve been there and I know what a juggle it is.
After a year of making this juggle, we decided that this was just not the lifestyle we wanted for our family. We were both working long hours, the kids were in daycare long hours, and we were all tired. The only way to make things a bit better would have been to hire a nanny, and that wasn’t what we wanted either. So, we made the call and I quit my job.
Now, I want to make it clear to you that just quitting your job is not usually the immediate solution to finding flexibility. But if it is the only solution, I don’t recommend doing it unless you are in a position to be able to continue paying your bills for at least a few months. When I left my job, we had enough in savings to buy us some time for me to be able to get started in my own business, so it wasn’t a decision made on a complete whim. But I digress!
Over the course of the next 6 months I tried a lot of different things to try and earn an income from home. I started a blog, launched a You Tube channel, sold products on Amazon and ran my own online store. And while all of these things can present great work from home opportunities for mums (you can read about some mums who are doing these things in one of my free eBooks HERE), I realised pretty quickly these things would most likely take me many years of hard work before I started to earn a decent income, and I needed to earn an income fast!
I was really struggling to see how I could start earning from home. I looked at so many different options, but none of them seemed to give me the potential to earn a decent income. Can you relate?
Then an opportunity came my way that I hadn’t thought of. It was an opportunity to do some freelance work providing assistance to a lawyer. Now, this might seem completely obvious given that I had been a lawyer, but it wasn’t obvious to me. I had spent more than 6 months looking for options for working from home, and I never thought I look at the skills I already had. I looked at a whole load of options that were not in my skill set but hadn’t considered legal work (despite having been offered freelance legal work on two previous occasions).
This legal work gave me the opportunity to work largely from home, and for the most part in the hours I choose. I have been able to do most of my work while the kids are at school and kindy, and on occasions when things have been particularly busy, I might do some work in the evenings. A massive win in the work/life flexibility department!
Why freelancing using your existing skills is the fastest way to earn an income from home
One thing I have noticed is that there are so many mums out there doing exactly what I was doing and trying to find ways to earn money from home doing new and different things. And while this often intriguing (especially when you hear people making the big bucks selling MLMS or other products or services), it usually isn’t a fast way to replace your income.
But, most of us have an existing skill set that is already in demand. How do we know it is demand? We’re often already working for someone and getting paid for it!
The great thing about doing something that you already have the skills in, is that you can sell those skills pretty much immediately without needing to a whole load of work or needing any fancy resources. You know the ropes in your industry, and you know them well. You don’t need to go and learn new things or get yourself familiarised with a product or market. You already know it.
Getting clients in your existing area of expertise is also often a lot easier than when you find something new. You already have a whole network of people in your industry who might need your help. Even your old (or current) boss might be able to send some work your way if you let them know what you are doing. My first two freelance job offers came from two of my past employers who knew that I was on maternity leave and actually approached me for help.
Why freelancing from home is the ideal way for mums to start earning an income from home
In my mind, the biggest advantage of freelancing for mums is the flexibility it gives you to be able to work from home and around the needs of your growing family. Yes, freelancers still have work to get done and deadlines to meet, but freelancing does not tie you to an office for 9 or 10 hours every day. Provided you can get your work done in the timeframe required by your clients, you can do your work pretty much any time that suits you.
Another thing that really excites me about freelancing in 2019 is that there are so many opportunities for finding work online. In the past you might have been limited purely to your network, and opportunities in your local area. But with the internet there is no reason why you can’t have customers all around the country, or even the world. This gives you so many opportunities to be able to earn an income and to start earning fast.
Finally, the barriers to entry for freelancers are often really low. For many of you reading this, all you would need to get started is access to a phone, a laptop and an internet connection. You don’t need a fancy website, a Facebook page or a dedicated office space. Heck, you don’t even need to get out of your pajamas if you don’t want to! You can get started from your dining room table, using tools you most probably already have. All that other stuff can come later.
What you can do today to take the first steps towards launching your own freelance business
If you’d like to get started in your own freelance business, but you’re wondering where to start, why not start by sitting down and taking a few moments to brainstorm all of the skills you have. Get out some paper and pens and just write down everything you can think of. You’ll pretty quickly start to see that you have a lot of skills that could be valuable to your potential clients. Go you!
Once you’ve done that have a look around and see who else is offering similar services to those you want to offer. This can really help you to validate your idea, as you can see that there is potentially a demand for your services. Just remember, if there are loads of people offering the same skills, you might find that there is a lot of competition. Don’t necessarily be discouraged by this, just remember that you’ll need to have a point of difference that makes you stand out from the rest.
The final thing I want you to do is to talk to someone about what you’re thinking about doing and get some feedback on your ideas. It would be preferable if person is someone in your industry. This also help you to validate your idea further. Plus, you never know, they might even know someone who is looking for some help from someone just like you!!
P.S. If you’re ready to search for your first freelance gig, you should take 5 minutes to read through this quick little eBook I’ve put together for you!
P.P.S. If you’re wondering why the crazy photo at the top? That’s me working from home…with a sick boy on my lap!
Kellie Dawson is a Mama Mentor, helping mums like you to find ways to freelance from home using the skills they already have. Kellie has two little boys aged 4 and 6, and it was her desire to be there for her boys that led her to quit her corporate job and build a work from home business. You can connect with Kellie on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thefreelancemama or follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thefreelancemama