I often get emails from parents and parents-to-be about starting a freelance writing career.
They wonder “Is it possible?” “How will I juggle it all?” or, most commonly, “What do I need to do to make it happen?”
Yes, it is possible to be a successful freelance writer while staying home with the kids.
In fact, you can even be a six-figure freelancer like me, all while continuing your mommy or daddy duties at the same time.
It’s just a matter of taking your time, carefully managing your schedule, and choosing your clients and projects wisely.
If you are a parent aspiring to be a well-paid freelance writer, here are the five steps you’ll want to take.
I’ve seen them work for parents just like you, so give them a try. Whether you’re new to freelance writing or you’ve been at it for years, I promise they’ll position you for great success both as a writer and as a parent.
1. Choose Your Work Times Wisely
If you have little ones at home, you can’t be on the computer 9 to 5 like you would in an office setting.
You have diapers to change, baths to give and mouths to feed, and that sort of work schedule isn’t feasible with these demands.
Instead, set loose work times that fit around those caretaking duties. Wake up an hour before the kids and get in a little work then. Once dinner’s done, ask your spouse to take over with the kiddos, and fit a few more hours in there, too.
You may not be able to hit a full 40 hours a week doing that, but who says you have to?
We freelance writers create our own schedules, and you could easily earn just as much money with 10 hours of work as you could with 40 – you just have to choose your projects and your clients wisely.
2. Take Advantage of Naps, Days Out and Visitors
Take advantage of any extra time that may arise. If the kids go down for a nap, use those hours to crank out a few blog posts or work on finding some new clients.
If they’re out for one day a week, use that day to get as much done as possible, or if you have visitors over, see if they wouldn’t mind watching the children for a few minutes while you catch up on email.
Most friends and family will be glad to help, especially if you have babies or little ones on your hands. Remember: every little bit helps when you’re juggling both parenthood and a career, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when and where you can!
3. Don’t Overdo It
I know you want to make money and experience success as a freelance writer, but don’t overextend yourself to do it. Know your limits physically, emotionally and time-wise, and only commit to the projects you have the resources and energy to complete.
I’ve seen parents overdo it way too many times over the years. Eager to get back to work and to see their freelance writing careers take off, they take on all the jobs they can. Within just a few weeks, they’re drowning in work, and they don’t have the time or energy to get it all done. Their health and their families suffer as a result.
This kind of outcome isn’t just bad for your health, it’s also bad for your finances, it hurts your reputation, and that could mean fewer clients, fewer projects and less money in the long run. So take it slow, consider each job carefully and only take on what you absolutely know you can handle, and nothing more.
If you want a 30-day plan, I am giving away a Free report called 30 Days to $1K Blueprint. In it, I cover how to get your first $1K as a freelance writer and give you a blueprint on how to get it done. This may be exactly what you need to get started, especially with those kids at home. Download it for free here.
4. Go for Quality Over Quantity
If you want to learn how to be a successful freelance writer, this step is key – even if you don’t have kids at home to care for. Sure, having 20 clients might look good on paper, but if those 20 clients all pay you a penny per word? That’s a lot of work for very little payoff.
Instead of stretching yourself thin and taking on more and more work just to pay the bills, focus on finding good, quality, high-paying clients instead. This is especially true for freelancers with kids at home, as you’re particularly strapped for time.
Use those free hours as efficiently and productively as possible, and don’t settle for bargain-basement clients. Hold out for the ones who will pay you handsomely for your talents, and you’ll have a more lucrative, successful and stress-free career in the long run.
5. Work Ahead
One of the most productive activities I see freelance writing parents do is work ahead.
They take advantage of weeks when kids are away at camp, off at their grandparents’ for the weekend or over at a friend’s sleepover.
Then, when caretaking duties take up more time than expected, these writers aren’t thrown for a loop or stuck turning in a project late for lack of time. Instead, they’re able to get things done early and turned into their clients long before the deadline rolls around. This does wonders for client satisfaction and for reducing parents’ stress levels.
Now, working ahead isn’t possible with every project and client. And for those it is possible with, it takes a little work upfront.
If this is something you’d like to consider, reach out to your clients and see if you can get your assignments a few days, weeks or even months ahead of time. The more headway you have on those deadlines, the more easily you can fit the work into your schedule and make those clients happy.
If you’re looking for a great freelance writing career while caring for the kids, these five tips will put you on the path toward success.
Are you a parent who is trying to build a freelance writing career? What struggles do you face?