On the one hand, the ad hoc nature of freelance work means that it can work reasonably well around the various school schedules. But it is also very challenging for the same reason. Juggling around the school schedules is no mean feat – you feel as though you are “fitting-in” work at the best of times.
The ad hoc nature of freelancing can also rule out paid childcare. For example, you don’t want to pay for childcare when you don’t really need it. Obviously, your only other choice is to rely on family, e.g. grandparents, who might be able to help out at short notice.
If you don’t have family living locally and find you simply have to ‘juggle’ the best way you can, these are some tips that other freelance mums have given based on their own experiences:
1. If your little one is already in part-time nursery, does the nursery have capacity for extra ad hoc days at short notice? Some are able to provide this service, so it might just prove to be a life saver if an urgent project crops up.
2. If your little one is with a child-minder, cram your work into the time slots, or the days when your child is being looked after.
3. Similarly, if your child is at home with you full time, work around napping times. It is amazing how focused you can be when you know you ‘only’ have a one or two hour window at a time to complete something. The chances are you won’t keep stopping to check your emails or break off to catch up on Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest etc., but will simply catch up with your social networking at the end of the day – if you’re not too exhausted or at the weekend.
4. Evenings (from 6pm thru to 10pm) and the weekend (Sunday evening) tends to be a popular choice.
5. And finally, don’t neglect your marketing. This might sound like a silly suggestion. After all, it doesn’t literally help with the problem of juggling around your preschoolers. However, often we are so busy getting on with bringing in the pounds and pennies that we forget (or don’t have time) to pitch. Yet pitching for work is the only way you will get work. Try to put aside some time each week when you do nothing but pitching. Some writers pitch up to 20 article ideas at a time! Whatever sector you’re in, work hard at pitching for those all-important regular contracts.
Do you freelance with pre-school children? What tips would you add to this list.