In January I made the very scary decision to hand in my notice at the college where I taught, without a back up plan, without any savings, and without the faintest idea what I was going to do or how we would survive but with the support of my husband and the encouragement of my friends and family I handed in my notice to concentrate on my blog and the possibility of working for myself.
Six months ago I had no work life balance, six months ago I was always tired, stressed and feeling ill in one way or another, six months ago I was desperately unhappy but six months later I barely recognise myself, or perhaps I completely recognise myself as the person I once was, I’m not too sure.
In the last six months I have worked hard, building my blog up into something that I can now call a business and not just a hobby. I have some brilliant relationships with brands that I could have only ever dreamt of working with in the past, get invited to press events where I rub shoulders with soap stars and get sent some weird and wonderful products to try out. Of course after six months I am not earning millions, but I am earning, the hard work is starting to pay off and my blog is starting to become part of a business venture that I am hoping will continue to grow and grow.
In the last 6 months I have had to get over the embarrassment of being a writer, the owner of a blog, the person who left a teaching career with not a clue what to do with her life and I have had to start shouting about what I do, sharing it with friends, family and complete strangers and also grow a thick skin and let negative comments go over my head. However, during this time as well as some derogatory comments I have also been stopped by parents in the school playground telling me they read a post and loved it, visited somewhere after my recommendation or ordered something for their child based on a review I wrote, or likewise avoided something they were abut to spend money on. At first these comments made me cringe but I have now started to accept these for what they are, honest complements and not wind ups, genuine questions and suggestions for reviews or topics. I am proud of what I have achieved and although this version of a career is not what I trained to do and is definitely not seen as a traditional career path I think this type of thing is becoming more and more accepted and I am excited to see where it leads me.
As well as the writing that I have been doing here I have also started to expand and have been creating content for other bloggers and small businesses, helping those that do what they do so incredibly well to articulate their skills in a written format. I have also started to take on the role of social media manager for other small businesses again helping them spread their business message across the internet. These two new streams of work mean my week is very varied, I am writing about things I love and know one minutes and researching new topics and learning from others the next. I am at home one day, at a press event another and meeting with clients the next and I absolutely love the diversity of it all. The one thing that does stay pretty constant throughout my week though is that I get to do the majority of the drop off’s and the pick ups, I can attend the class assembly and sports days and spend quality time with my children as I work around their schedule or take them with me to events.
My journey has also been watched by others who have asked for guidance and advice which now sees me offer training in how to set up blogs and how to use blogs for personal use or businesses, sharing the knowledge I have learnt to empower others that want to explore the opportunities blogging can bring in one to one sessions or group training slots. My week is definitely never dull.
Six months after leaving my teaching role I am happy and content, I am driven and motivated and confident I made the right decision. Friends and family have commented on the change in me with one friend only this weekend saying she sees me laugh all the time now but never remembers me laughing at all before January, which is sad, really sad but sometimes you have to experience the hard times to truly appreciate the good and I can honestly say I am truly appreciative of this opportunity I have been given and the supportive comments I have received from family, friends and even strangers who have stumbled across my work on the internet.
I wrote this update as I have received many questions asking how it is going, people watching form the side lines wondering if they should make the jump to freelance or stick with the security of a 9-5. This post is a realistic update of where I am and how I am feeling about my decision but this hasn’t come easy and I still have a long way to go to reach my goals which is why on the one hand I would say follow your dreams, take a risk and chase the work life balance you crave and deserve but on the other I would say calculate those risks first. I am extremely lucky to have a supportive husband who has backed my decision, we are in a position where the cancelling of the childcare reduced our outgoings significantly so that my monthly earning requirements were not as high as they may be for some and I have had to work hard, yes around the children but still some early mornings, evenings and weekends have are needed to ensure I don’t miss an opportunity or a deadline
The 6 month mark is here and I survived this far, I can only hope it continues.
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