Okay, you’ve made the decision to tackle freelance proofreading and editing. Congratulations!! Give yourself a few minutes, or even days, to let this accomplishment sink in. Just deciding to take on a new venture can be exhausting and stressful. Then after you’ve made the commitment to begin this new adventure, think about how your decision will affect your loved ones.
You also need to look at what you contribute to your family, or around the house, and consider how this decision will affect schedule. Before we talk about the changes that will take place, let’s talk about how your decision to freelance will affect those close to you.
Family is important
Let’s think first about how your decision will affect your relationship with your significant other. If you are dating, it would be best to sit down with your boyfriend or girlfriend and talk about what your decision means to your relationship. You will have to give this a lot of thought before you sit down and talk about it, and you will need to be extremely honest with yourself. The biggest sacrifice is going to be time. You simply won’t have the time to spend with your boyfriend or girlfriend, especially if you are using time on the weekends to research contacts and market yourself. Some people won’t mind, others may find this simply unbearable. Consider the fact that your decision may cause your relationship to end. I am not saying that this will happen; I am just saying that you need to consider everything before discussing your decision with your significant other.
If your family consists of just you and your husband, or wife, take the time to think about how your decision to freelance will affect them. Think about both the positives and negatives. If your spouse is used to a warm meal and a clean house, with dinner on the table when they get home from work, you may have to ask for help in these areas. If your budget can afford it, you may even want to consider having someone come in to help with the cleaning a few hours a week. If your spouse is accustomed to some quiet time or alone time with you, you will have to schedule the time in. You may even have to set up a date night, just to make sure that your spouse knows that they are still an important part of your life.
If your spouse wants you to sit quietly while you both watch TV, but you would rather use that time to do some work, you will have to talk about these changes. This issue won’t be a problem after the initial start-up of your business because your spouse will get used to the working you. However before you dive into your new career, it is important for you to think about the changes that will take place because of your decision to freelance. Your relationship with your spouse depends on it.
After taking time to evaluate how your decision will affect your marriage, sit down and talk candidly about these changes. Before you sit down, contemplate their fears. Have suggestions ready that will answer their concerns. Most of all, listen. Don’t rush the time time you spend together talking about this. Take time to hear your spouse’s concerns. Give them time to consider what you are saying. Let them talk about how the changes will affect them. Then, working together, reach an agreement or a compromise.
Take time to reassure them that they are still extremely important to you. Tell them that you have thought about this and that you don’t take this decision lightly. Tell them what you plan to do, what actions are on the agenda, and ask them for their support. Talk about household chores, making dinner, laundry, and even your time together, talk about how your decision will affect that time. Ask your spouse to help you decide if freelancing is really for you.
I wish I had taken the time to discuss my decision with my husband before I decided to tackle my freelancing career. I think the discussion would have helped with a few of the misunderstandings that my husband and I have had in the past three years. I also think it’s a good idea to discuss your decision with your spouse before discussing your plans with the rest of your family. Your spouse will be able to help you assure the rest of your family that your decision is good for you and for them as well. Your spouse will also help you answer some of the questions your family will ask. They will be your support system from the beginning. A support system is extremely important as you set out on your new venture.
Don’t forget the kids
If you have a young child, you will have to consider how your decision to freelance will affect him/her. A child may not be a problem if he or she is a baby or a young toddler, but the child definitely becomes an issue if he or she is a preschooler. Preschoolers take a lot of time and attention. It isn’t easy to think or even work when a preschooler needs you. While you might think you can manage, it always seems that they don’t need you until you are on the telephone or sitting at your computer. If your family budget can afford it, you may have to consider childcare. You will be amazed at how much work you will be able to do in just two hours time. Since you are new to freelancing, you can decide just how many days a week you will need childcare. Childcare centers offer hourly as well as weekly rates, or you may be able to arrange some time for childcare with your parents or a few close friends, as long as you pay them back in kind for their help. You may also be able to count the childcare costs as a business expense. Don’t take my words as gospel. It would be best to check with your accountant or financial advisor first.
If the child has older siblings, childcare may not be a problem. Brothers and sisters can provide a little help during the day and may love the idea of playing and taking care of the little one for a few hours, especially if they receive praise or small rewards from you for doing so. Helping with their little brother or sister may make the older kids feel important. They can play with their little brother or sister, take care of snacks, or even watch a DVD with them. You might even want to involve the older kids in planning the activities. It is also important for everyone that all of this is taking place at home while you are there working. If anything happens, you will still be able to take care of the problem. It is also important for you to plan to work a few hours every evening after the kids go to bed. You can get a lot done in three or four hours every night when the house is quiet.
While older children can do a lot for you when taking care of the younger kids, their wants, and needs, also need consideration. If the kids are elementary school age, you will have free time during the day to devote to freelancing. Then when they come home from school, you will still have time to focus on them. This block of time that you can devote to freelancing will continue as they make their way through school. You will find that from the time they leave the house until they return, you will have approximately six hours to devote to your freelancing career. A lot can be accomplished in that amount of time every day if you devote that time solely to your business, not cleaning the house, doing the shopping, or any other task that is not associated with freelancing. This means that you can’t watch talk shows, talk endlessly on the phone, or find any other excuse not to focus on freelancing. It will take dedication on your part but if you truly want to be successful, you will use that time to your advantage.
The family meeting
After you have your spouse’s blessing, and have thought about how your decision will affect the kids, it’s time for a family meeting. Your kids will need assurance that their lives will go on as usual, that nothing will change. Older kids will love the idea. It means a little freedom for them. They will like the idea of you being busy and not so focused on them. Younger children will need reassurance that their lives will continue, as they know it. They need to know that you will be there for after school snacks, activities, and bedtime rituals. They will want to know that they can still go to the park, have friends over after school, and have the usual family weekends. If you have a baby or toddler, you will need to consider their needs, but your schedule will have to work around theirs. Thank heavens little ones have early bedtimes.
Use some of your brainstorming from the beginning of this blog to quiet your children’s’ fears. Your prepared thoughts will also let everyone know that you have put some real consideration into this, and that you don’t take this decision lightly. This might be a good time to point out some of the positive changes. However if it seems to be too much for everyone to take in all at once, which is likely, call another family meeting, or discuss a few things at a time during dinner. There is no real hurry here. It is more important that your kids, as well as your spouse, know that you have really thought this important decision through.
Last thoughts about childcare
If you have to set up some kind of childcare routine so you can concentrate on your business, so be it. Small children are forgiving and are happy to see you walk through that door. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to make that decision, just concentrate on the little ones when they come home. Remember, for all of your family it isn’t quantity time, it’s quality time. Learn to live in the moment you spend with them. Learn to focus on your business only during the time you have scheduled for business. This is going to be hard, especially as you begin your business. If you learn to focus on your business during business hours and not during family time, you will accomplish more and your family will not resent your decision to start freelancing.
What will my parents think?
If you need to tell your mom and dad about your decision to begin freelancing, tell them. Don’t worry about what they might think. After all, it’s your life. They will be proud of you as you prove yourself and grow your business. If you’re confident and believe that you will be successful, quietly become a success. After all, you have a lifetime to become what you dream of being. Right now, it’s enough that you have the entrepreneurial spirit. Take some time to celebrate that characteristic.
Next: You have involved your family members in your decision to freelance, now what?