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Any freelancers out there?

(35 Posts)
flashingnose Thu 18-Aug-05 12:02:27

I'd really appreciate your opinions on this thread

TIA

flashingnose Thu 18-Aug-05 13:34:58

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flashingnose Thu 18-Aug-05 22:14:58

bump

Gobbledigook Thu 18-Aug-05 22:20:29

Yes I'm a freelancer. I worked FT through pg with ds1, went back for a couple of weeks then jacked it in as I couldn't face putting him in nursery. I freelance for my old employer and it works well. It's 4 yrs down the line now and I work for them and have one other client. They keep me busy enough (too busy atm).

I've not used much in the way of childcare and have pretty much worked in the evenings, weekends and nap times - it's exhausting but for me it's worth it to keep my hand in, earn cash and spend the days with the children. I've now got 3 ds's and last yr (say August onward) I had ds1 in nursery 5 mornings, ds2 in 3 mornings and ds3 at home (but he slept for most of the morning) - so basically I worked in those mornings and then evenings and weekends.

It's a hard, hard slog but when all 3 are at school (2008!!!!!) it will be perfect - I'll be able to do school drop offs, pick ups, after school activities blah blah, and work in my own time during the school day.

Oh, if I'm ever really desperately busy, dh has to take time off work to 'man' the kids or else I get JoolsToo down to do her grandmotherly duty. I'm not sure I'd manage without this support - well, I'd carry on but I'd have to turn some work down which I've so far never done.

Gobbledigook Thu 18-Aug-05 22:23:17

The people I work for know my situation so I'm just upfront with them about meeting deadlines, what I can realistically manage, whether I can attend meetings and they are very good about it. They often record teleconferences and send me the recording if i can't make it.

Like you, I'm quite in demand in this field - quite a lot of people do it but I'm experienced in the particular field in which I work - my old employer in particular is happy to go with what I suggest because they want me on the project iyswim (not trying to gloat but it sounds like you might be in the same position).

Caribbeanqueen Thu 18-Aug-05 22:47:43

I'm a freelancer with one dd, so I work around her. I have to work in nap times and as soon as she goes to bed in the evenings and I'm often up well into the night working.

I have managed to build up a regular client base and I have even got to the stage of having to turn work down sometimes, as I have to juggle clients and fit in what I can. I try not to complain though, as I'm grateful to be able to work from home.

As GdG says, it can be a very hard slog, but it is worth it for me. Also like GdG, I have a very supportive dp who can be around more when I have extra work pressure to look after dd and do all the domestic stuff I don't get a chance to.

serah Thu 18-Aug-05 23:07:45

Come on Flashingnose - what DO you do????!!!

I'm a consultant (could be classed as freelance I suppose). I did it before I was pregnant though, so have the confidence (using your word here) to continue doing it.

Is that your hang-up - confidence? You are desperately hanging back on the remotest clue on the kind of work you're trained for! Is this about confidence or confidentiality in this forum?

What else worries you? Accounting? Marketing? Professionalism? (and by that I mean never having to say "lovely to work together but I turn into a pumpkin at 2.30 if I don't pick the kids up")

A client of mine was bemused that I had offered to pick him up to go on to site, as the last few times I worked with him (latter stages of pregnancy) I refused to drive and instead slept during all journeys in his passenger seat. I grinned and said "show no fear - he doesn't bite" as he got in the car. He even took his turn carrying DS for me on site!

(Its a client I know very well, and from years ago BTW

Time to spill the beans! What info are you after specifically!

flashingnose Fri 19-Aug-05 08:12:13

Ssh..I'm a spy .

flashingnose Fri 19-Aug-05 08:58:57

Thanks for everyone's advice. I don't want to say what I do as it's a very small incestuous industry and there's a few people from it on here (so I'd rather keep my wobbles anonymous IYKWIM).

I know I can do the job and from what my friend said, it shouldn't take too long to get to grips with what's changed. I suppose there's two things that are really concerning me - when I did this job before, I hardly ever said "no" to new work, so I have no experience of how this tends to be received. Are clients happy to let you work around your children/other commitments? And having a supportive DP - hmmmm....

Will give this some more thought - thanks again.

Gobbledigook Fri 19-Aug-05 10:25:15

My clients don't mind if I have to say I can't take on something. They know me well, they like my work so it doesn't stop them coming back again - that's not an issue (though it might be in early stages before you've established yourself - I know I worried about this early on).

With regard to support - I couldn't do it without dh's support. Some weekends he has the children more or less to himself for the whole 2 days and I couldn't do it without him. Mind you, while he looks after the children he doesn't do any of the other things I'd be doing - cooking our meal, washing, drying, ironing, hoovering, tidying, cleaning bathroom.....So if I work all weekend, come Monday I end up blitzing the house and catching up on washing.

It's by no means an ideal scenario right now (with children so young) but it's speculating to accumulate as they say - I've not been out of work, I've got a good repuation now, loads of experience and it will be a perfect situation with all children in school.

aloha Fri 19-Aug-05 10:46:39

I am a freelance writer. Everyone knows I have children - and it means I can write about children and family matters. I long ago stopped trying to pretend my kids didn't exist. I am happy to say, gotta go, got to pick up my son from nursery, or that I only work x days a week. My dh is also very supportive and takes time off to look after the children. I also have two short days of childcare for the baby and ds goes to nursery those days. IMO if your work is good, comes in on time and fits the brief it's no business of theirs how and when you get it done - but then I work from home.

serah Fri 19-Aug-05 11:16:17

Ahhh! I see!

The field of work I am in is very specialised, and since having my baby, the way I operate is unusual and in demand - I usually get a phonecall saying "can you do tomorrow?" so I just have to check with my babysitter or say no if I don't like the sound of it.

The only way you can find out how your clients react to being told "no" is to try it! Whats the worst that can happen!! I think it might be helpful for you to develop strategies around saying "no" (ways to say "no" but also say "but of course, please come back to me another time as I am really what you want and everyone else will be second best" IYKWIM)

My DP babysits if I work at night - more that he has to than offering. Wouldn't do much work at all if I had to rely on his childcare skills!!

Do it!!! Have the confidence lady!!!

aloha Fri 19-Aug-05 11:19:16

When I can't take on some work I always say, "Oh, I would have absolutely loved to do this, but this week it is impossible - I could try but I might let you down and I would absolutely hate to do that. Please do think of me again."

Usually works!

Caribbeanqueen Fri 19-Aug-05 11:23:19

I also use the "I would love to but I would hate to have to let you down by not completing on time" line.

I agree that it's easier to say "no" to clients you already have a relationship with though.

flashingnose Fri 19-Aug-05 12:20:17

This is all so useful, thank you. Out of interest, how many hours a week do you all work? I'm trying to work out what I think would be realistic.

serah Fri 19-Aug-05 13:16:06

Barely at all really, and as such consider myself extremely lucky - I do a day here and there. Most weeks I don't work at all, and then others I'll do 3 days when I'm travelling a lot.

Varies tremendously.

flashingnose Fri 19-Aug-05 13:17:41

So do you mostly work from home, serah, or mostly travelling about? How does that work with childcare - you must have a very understanding babysitter!

Gobbledigook Fri 19-Aug-05 14:11:37

FN - I work from home. Hard to work out hours but say if I'm busy and the boys are at morning nursery I'd do 1.5 hrs each morning, 2-3 hrs at night and possibly full days at the weekend. If I'm less busy and have a long deadline it might be less. If I'm more busy and dh has to take time off or Mum is here I'll do 2 or 3 full days in the week, plus the evenings and part of the weekend.

Sorry - hard to say!

serah Fri 19-Aug-05 15:00:08

Mostly travelling about FN, although a little report writing at home.

My babysitter lives across the road from me and is a SAHM so its little bother getting her to sit - she loves him, and often asks if she can take him out - usually a ploy so she gets to load up the pushchair with her shopping!!!

Do you think babysitting will be one of your troubles FN? Did I read it wrong that your partner may be as much good as a chocolate fireguard?

motherinferior Fri 19-Aug-05 15:18:39

V quickly: I'm a freelance journalist, home based; I am less in demand than Aloha, and for that as well as various other reasons tend not to talk about my kids all that much (well, actually I send everyone pics of them and generally rave, but I am choosy about who I say 'I have to pick up my children' to and who I just say 'I'm off from five o'clock'). I have set hours - Monday to Friday, up till 5pm, set childcare, set space to work in and a dedicated telephone line. If I work in the evening this is either to manage a crisis or to make up for taking time off for some exercise.

All in all, I'm pretty organised. It works for me; until around a year ago I was the bigger earner in the Inferiority Complex, and I need to have guaranteed time to work.

Occasionally I'm asked to take on work I can't manage, but that's only if I have other work scheduled.

motherinferior Fri 19-Aug-05 15:19:24

I do think one needs to know how much time one will have available, whatever that is, in order to be able to gauge whether a commission is feasible, and plan ahead as far as possible.

motherinferior Fri 19-Aug-05 15:20:07

Sorry, that was Monday to Thursday that I work. Four days works for me. It wouldn't for everyone.

edam Fri 19-Aug-05 16:45:37

I'm another freelance journo. Like MI (was) I'm the chief earner in my house so jacking in big job to go freelance a few months ago was scary.

There is no WAY I could work merely in ds's nap times, so he's in nursery three days a week. Had two projects this week that have badly over-run (not because I'm slack or anything, they turned out to be much bigger than I'd been let to expect and than the client expected themselves) and it has been horribly difficult trying to research/interview/write when ds is around (he's two).

If you need to earn serious money as a professional, you need childcare, unless you are very, very lucky in what you do and who you do it for.

I notice from your other thread you are planning to work until 2.30. Could be tough. I find it easier just to tell people I'm available Monday to Wednesday - depends on the client and how well I know them whether I specify that's because of childcare or whether I let them think that's other work committments. People find it hard to remember your working patterns if you do anything other than full time - and they may originally sign up to you working until 2.30 and then completely forget the arrangement.

aloha Fri 19-Aug-05 18:06:38

Roughly what field are you in and what would you actually have to do - ie writing/graphics/research? Would you be working from home or be needed in an office?
Not sure I agree with MI about demand, but I am very confident about not hiding the fact that I have children. But I do answer my emails and my mobile 'out of hours" - I am a flexible sort of person (for which read: disorganised!). But it's easier to be a scatty, eternally late, messy,dyspraxic sort of person from home than in an office and I love being my own boss.

motherinferior Fri 19-Aug-05 20:04:42

Are you sure you couldn't afford, say, three days' afternoon childcare? I know childcare is expensive, but presumably what you would be bringing into your household would be more than the costs?

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