Recently I decided to officially ‘go it alone’, handing over the editorship of Flying Solo to the new editor, Kelly Exeter, so I can focus on my copywriting business and motherhood. I’m so excited but also slightly terrified, because I realise that with this perceived increase in freedom comes some pretty massive challenges of being free.
In making the transition I quickly saw that having regular, permanent work actually offers so many freedoms: freedom from having to worry about income, freedom from having to chase clients, freedom from uncertainty. And while there is more positive liberty in going solo – such as the freedom to choose when and where you work, the freedom to focus on your niche and the freedom to realise your earning potential – making some of these liberties happen is hard work.
Here are the three biggest obstacles I’m facing with my newfound ‘freedom to…’, and how I plan to tackle them.
1. Business with a baby
Caring for a baby is a full-time job, so starting a business at the same time is like patting your head while rubbing your tummy and eating an ice-cream with your foot – with a lot more risk involved. Many people may think: why don’t you just ‘work while the baby sleeps’ or ‘work in the morning before she wakes’ – but when your bub only naps for 45 minutes and rises for the day at 5am, there’s nada chance of that.
For me, finding time is a matter of finding child care, but before I commit to days of child care I need work to justify the cost; but to source more work I need to find more time! I’ve accepted this round-in-circles process will be slow, and that as my workload increases I might actually have to revisit those fleeting nap times and wee hours and other fragments of ‘spare’ time to do more work (to make more money, to justify the childcare, to do more work!).
2. Establishing a consistent workload
One thing you will never escape is paying bills. And to pay those bills you need cash. And to earn that cash you need work. Consistent work. Because bills will Always. Need. To. Be. Paid.
To date, the flow of my freelance work has taken on a very feast/famine pattern. But I’m confident that as I dedicate more time to my small business there will be less droughts and I’ll be able to manage – or even anticipate – the floods better. (Any tips on how to do this would be greatly appreciated!)
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3. Avoiding distractions
In the past I’ve been enviably good at turning a blind eye to housework when there’s actual work to be done, but since having a baby, any time I get to myself – including time reserved for work work – I’m overwhelmed by the need to put on three loads of washing, sweep the floor and clean dirt from invisible corners of cupboards because I may never get this opportunity again! I also might throw in some exercise and a coffee somewhere and before you know it – most of my designated workday is over.
So how can I ensure I work during assigned work hours? Clearly I need to integrate more ‘me’ time into the week, and as bub nears age 1, I can see this becoming more possible. As for the housework issue – hopefully I can conjure some of Vintage Jodie’s indifference to mess?
It’s going to take some time to feel the full effect of soloist freedom, but I’m up for the challenge!
What challenges of being free do you encounter?