Freelancing can be a tough profession. No matter if it is artwork, Web design, or writing, each comes with an ebb and flow to financial security. Even veteran freelancers can have a rough month or two each year. The lifestyle we choose to live can be exciting or discouraging depending on the month. Showing children the passion behind the profession can encourage of love of work and yield unexpected results, if you allow.
Being a full-time parent has been mentally and oftentimes physically exhausting. Knowing that each day will bring challenges and celebrations once made it difficult for me to truly enjoy the freelancing world that is my own. With a little ingenuity (and direction from my oldest son) we found the opportunity to encourage proper work ethics in my home.
My husband was laid off work in November. Although he was able to draw on unemployment benefits, there was a mass amount of financial stress through our home. It was through a series of events and taking time to truly examine what it is that I want from my life and career that all began unfolding quicklyâ€¦
I announced to my family,
â€œI am going to work a FOURTY HOUR work week.â€œ
Dumbfound looks shot across the face of my husband and oldest. That is when my son candidly asked, â€œHow are you going to work Mom? You donâ€™t really have a job.â€
Step 1: Explain Your Work
So I sat that dear sweet child down and showed him various projects I had, assignments I needed to write and companies that paid me for my time, experience, and words. After about fifteen minutes, he said, â€œSo you do work.â€ To my son, yes, I do workâ€¦
Step 2: To Work From Home?
And I work from home. I work out of the little room in the basement that has my dry erase boards upon the walls and a desk for my computer. That is my office. While I donâ€™t go to a different building to work, I still work. As much as I would love to just sit at the computer and play games, there are bills that need to be paid â€“ and what I do in that space helps.
Step 3: Answer the question, â€œWhy do you just work in your office?â€
And that was difficult. My son is quite a smart lad for five. He sees the world through a much different lens than myself. So I ponderedâ€¦
It isnâ€™t necessary to work in my office. I can work from the kitchen table or the front porch, weather permitting. And I have. My son has had the opportunity to see me flip from book to website as I research and back into Word as I type, cite, and proof an article. Yes, it took longer to work that way. No, I donâ€™t regret it.
Step 4: Encourage Brainstorming WITH Your Child(ren)
Some might consider that stealing intellectual property of a child, but truly, itâ€™s great! As an adult, we tend to move from the carefree way of thought. A child loves to think. Telling stories about a dinosaur or asking for a story, tailored to a character they love is all brainstorming. It might not be exactly what you are looking for by means of what a client is requesting, but it does add a new sense of unity â€“ even when it is just your name on an article.
TIP: Ask your children to create a character for a story. Spend an hour a day free writing that story for your children. When you have it complete, read it to them.
Step 5: Family Goals
Using effective communication with children that are just beginning to understand your working process is crucial in this step. Sit down, after a good family dinner, and ask what your children would like to do during the year. Let their imaginations run wild. While your daughter might not be able to visit Betsy Ross as she died many years ago, you might be able to afford a trip to a museum where Betsy Ross is showcased. Explain that the time you spend working will help attain that goal as you can set aside $10 a week to pay for that trip.
As your children begin to understand how finances are tied to working, a strong and stable desire to work becomes present. Through our own conversations with our son, we are planning on a couple short trips this year. And for the record, I got a kiss on the cheek this morning and told to enjoy my day working by that same five-year-old who thought I didnâ€™t have a job.
Enjoy your career and lifestyle as a freelancer. Share those joys with the ones closest to you, so they can be encouragement when you find yourself in a freelancing slump.