That freelance life // Six months on

freelance mum life

It’s been six months since I officially went freelance, so how’s it going? Making the leap to work for yourself is daunting. What if it doesn’t work out? How do you fit everything in? There are so many what ifs, buts and maybes but to me, it’s only once you throw yourself off the (metaphorical) cliff that you realise what you’re letting yourself in for and once you hit the water, you decide to sink or swim.

I have been writing this blog in a professional capacity for just over five years now. The years before that were very much an online diary, and whilst it’s still that now to some extent, it’s much more than just a hobby to keep me busy.

When I first started to work with brands on this blog, my eldest was a baby and the social media world of ‘influencers’ didn’t really exist. Social media channels were becoming more popular and eventually blogging became more than just writing some words on the internet. I wrote earlier in the year that modern day bloggers don’t just blog, there’s so much more to it than simply blogging and somedays it is so overwhelming what’s expected of you. If you’re going to go it alone, then you need to be able to bring in some money every month for the food shop and the gas bill, there’s the pressure right there!

Whilst there is so much pressure to ‘make it’, there’s also the freedom of being able to be my own boss and for me to decide when I do the work (although granted, my one year old is pretty bossy and rightly so, demands quite a lot of my daytime). I don’t have much of a routine as a Mum with two young boys, I need to be fairly flexible and work around them. Just this week, my eldest was off school with a viral infection and a leg injury so I had to work around him. I love being able to take my little boy to soft play and catch up with our friends and then stay up until 2am with Netflix on in the background as I get on with my work.

How’s the work going?

In terms of work, I’ve had some brilliant campaigns and have really loved working on them. I’m currently in the middle of working on a 90 day trial with Modius, my eldest and I recently met Andy Day (the children’s TV presenter from CBeebies with the curly hair who is such a lovely chap) at our local shopping centre and I’ve recently had an opportunity which I can’t reveal yet but it is such a big deal for me (cryptic as ever, sorry!) I’ve also been working as a social media manager for two clients so have been researching work and writing content for them.

It’s so British to not talk about money and whilst I won’t reveal how much I’ve made so far this year, I can tell you I am so proud of myself for earning what is a decent wage. Hard work does pay off and although it’s not going to allow me to move house or buy a new car, it’s allowing me to stay at home with my boys and pay the bills.

But honestly, it’s so hard

I’ve always been honest on this blog and I have to say, whilst staying at home with my boys is brilliant, it is so exhausting being Mum all day and then switching into freelance / work mode once they’re in bed and working on campaigns, writing up posts, replying to emails and writing to-do lists for during the day. Some days I’m so tired I just have to climb in to bed once they’re both asleep and just switch my brain off. I always knew it was going to be a struggle with a little one in the house but somedays I feel completely lost and feel frustrated that I don’t have a routine set down so I can work when I’m alert. I do have help from my husband during some evenings and my in-laws look after Freddie one day a week, but have you ever tried to cram in a weeks worth of work into 5 hours? It is impossible! It’s not a case of taking less work on as I need to take on enough work to pay the monthly bills (and the tax man in January!), it’s a massive juggle but one I’m not giving up on.

One of the most frustrating things working in social media is the numbers game. Engagement and numbers are huge in this world and there are always other bloggers out there that will fake it and buy followers and fake engagement. It’s frustrating that other bloggers get the work when they’re so obviously (to me) faking it, it’s a wonder PR’s and brands don’t see it.

Theodore Roosevelt once said that ‘comparison is the thief of joy‘ and he was so right. I have to stop myself comparing my journey in this freelance life to others. It’s not healthy and it really doesn’t help at all.  Can I ask a favour though please? If you ever see one of my blog posts or social media posts, I’d love your support; a like or a comment, a little virtual pat on the back to show you’re still with me, it means so much in a world where there is so much competition.

So six months down the line and I’m still feeling a bit new to this freelance life. I am loving the time I’m spending with Freddie and being able to do the school run for Olly. Whilst I don’t think this is going to be my life forever, I’m hoping it’ll keep me going until the boys are both in full-time school and then who knows what the future will hold.

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”

Erin Hanson

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  • Reply rachelbustin 07/06/2019 at 9:11 pm

    It is really hard working from home. I still have my “day job” where I work 18 hours a week to take a little of the pressure off earning enough. But I’m having to make up the rest from my blog work. It’s hard but us mum’s are made of strong stuff and can survive on little sleep! Lovely post x

    • Reply Emma Shilton 07/06/2019 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Rachel, it’s a hard slog but I think the alternative is harder. I would hate to be back in work full time right now!

  • Reply Mandi 07/06/2019 at 9:34 pm

    My husband will have been self employed 5 years next month and I’m on 3 years, it does get easier as the children get older, Viggo is now in full time school, but I’m still sometimes working late! But I wouldn’t change it x

  • Reply Donna 07/06/2019 at 9:43 pm

    It will get easier Emma, I promise. You are doing so well – there’s no way I could have done what you’re doing when Troy was as young as Freddie x

  • Reply zoecorkhill 07/06/2019 at 10:15 pm

    It’s hard to juggle everything but it does get easier once you have more hours child free, I promise! I know you’re doing a good job with one of your clients ;-)

  • Reply Plutonium Sox 08/06/2019 at 9:26 am

    Well done Emma, I’m so glad it’s working for you on the whole. It sounds like you are doing brilliantly. I do agree, it’s really tough though. Especially when you’re going through a dry period work wise. I am terrible for assuming nobody is ever going to work with me again when I’ve got very little work on. It’s difficult to remember that the work will soon start coming again when you haven’t got much. I totally agree with you about the faking and buying followers as well, it really makes me sad that people like us who have worked hard for years are missing out because some others choose to go about it in a fraudulent manner.

  • Reply Newcastle FamilyLife 08/06/2019 at 5:24 pm

    So glad things are working out for you and that you get to be at home with your boys now xx

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