A Day In The Life: Self Employment Version

Sometimes I’m nosy and like to know what other people do during an average day. Come on nowwww. I can’t be the only one. ;) So hey, why not check out average day in mine?

This is actually the 4th time I’ve written a post like this! If you are a blogger, I totally encourage you to do it because it’s amazing to look back at the changes. The reason I wanted to write one now is because I just became self employed, and I haven’t had the twins yet. So, I know pretty soon, this schedule will just be a snapshot like all the rest.

Speaking of all the rest, in 2011, I wrote my first Day in the Life post. I was working as a park ranger and finishing my last semester of grad school! Then, I moved to Grenada in 2012 and wrote a post about an average day there. Wow, that daily schedule pretty much looks like a vacation because I was unemployed and just had one writing client. Then, later that same year, things got nuts because I got a full time job and the blog really started to pick up. Just reading that post makes me tired remembering all the work.

So now, I bring you a current day in the life, self-employment style baby. Basically I worked about 8-8.5 hours yesterday but I did it when I wanted to do it and when I was feeling the most motivated. I also get a lot more sleep than the last time I posted one of these things!

Here we go!

8:15 AM

I wake up to the hubs putting my wedge pillow under my bump (since the wedge pillow often falls to the wayside during the night!)

Hubs hands me my phone and turns on my little heating pad and the light for me, and I spend time in bed going through e-mails that have come through since the night before. One of my writing clients is overseas so he’s already been awake for a while. I notice he sent me a PayPal payment for a 1,200 word post that I recently wrote for him. There’s nothing like waking up to a payment, so I already feel good for the day.

I also notice from my e-mail that my post on John’s blog has already gotten 17 comments, so I go ahead and reply to the ones that have come in. Wow you people wake up early!  ;) I go back to my e-mail and confirm a Skype appointment that I have with another blogger in the afternoon and mark the e-mails that I have to reply to once I am a bit more alive. I turn over to see if our pup Julep is still in bed with me, and sure enough, she’s sound asleep and spoiled as ever.

Julep day in the life

9:15 AM

I’ve torn myself away from my phone after replying to my friend’s message on Facebook who is about to have her baby. My morning routine is super quick. I don’t even get out of my pajamas. Some tinted moisturizer, lip gloss, and mascara sets me up to not look like a troll for the day. I also take a super awkward selfie to show you the fabulousness and wonder why so many people enjoy taking selfies.

Selfie in the am

9:40 AM

Breakfast time. The hubs loves healthy breakfasts, and I like to eat whatever! I make him scrambled eggs with avacado and tomato, and I make myself cherry turnovers because you know, I do what I want. By 10:00, hubs emerges from his study cave to eat breakfast and take the dog out, and we eat together and talk about our very favorite subject – the twins of course.

10:15 AM

I’m finally sitting down at my desk, also known as the kitchen table, but I have to call and order dessert from a local bakery for my baby shower on Saturday. After that phone call, I call my mom to let her know I took care of that order for her, and I end up talking to her for 30 minutes because you know, time always flies when you call your mama and talk about babies!

11:00 AM

I open up my drafts folder in Budget Blonde to finish a post I started writing yesterday. It’s always fun for me to write, and I really, really enjoy it. I alternate between writing the post and trying to catch important e-mails that are coming in. Last week, I left too many e-mails to Friday and had to spend the whole day replying and sorting them, so I’ve promised myself that I won’t do that this week. By 2:00, my post is finished, I’ve caught up on e-mails, and replied to another 8 comments on John’s blog.

2:00 PM

It’s lunch time. Hubs and his study buddies made tacos, and I get to be the benefit of that. I work on my editorial calendar while I eat. I have a list of about 100 blog topics that I need to sort through and get approved by the 10+ different blogs I write for, so I start working on that but then get a call from a dear friend’s mom who wanted to congratulate me on the twins and catch up.

taco lunch

3:00 PM

It seems I always hit a wall at this time, and I’m feeling a little unproductive and distracted, so I decide to go next door to my in laws house and sort through our belongings for a little while. We have had our stuff stored up there for 3 years, and since we have to move 5-6 weeks after the babies are born, it needs to be organized and/or donated and prepared for the move. We’re not going to have time to pack once the kids are born, so I’m trying to do it now. It’s a big job, so I’ve been trying to go over there and take things one section at a time.

5:00 PM

As I’m deciding whether or not to put a pair of pants in a donate or cosign pile, I look at my watch and realize that I’m supposed to be Skyping with the blog pal that I confirmed the appointment with this morning. So, I quickly walked back to my house from my in laws and have my hour long brainstorm session. I feel really pumped up and motivated as I always do after I talk with other bloggers and make plans to do it again the following week.

6:00-6:25 PM

The hubs notices I’m off of Skype and takes the opportunity to chat with me while he puts a chicken in the oven and chops up some potatoes. I say it all the time, but that dude can cook. It’s the #1 reason I married him. ;) Oh, and I got him to take another super awkward picture of me – you know, because that’s what this post is all about. If you’re a blogger and you write a similar post, you’re now required to take a picture with just one thumb up. It’s what all the pregnant cool kids are doing.

self employed

6:25 PM

I always work better at night, so now is the time when my juices really get going. My planner tells me I should write three posts tonight if I want to stay on track this week. I’m kind of starving, but dinner isn’t ready yet, so I check my topic for the first client and get going.

8:00-8:45 PM

Woo hoo! It’s time for dinner. I finished my first post and was able to publish, promote, and send an invoice for it. I’m rocking and rolling but have to take a break to eat and clean the kitchen. Of course, just standing and washing dishes wears me out these days (could it be the two humans I’m carrying around with me everywhere?) But, the show must go on so hubs brings me some chai tea so I can keep working. He’s a wiz at making it ever since he went to India, and I’m pretty addicted to it.

10:30 PM

I’ve finished and submitted my second post for the night. I probably should write one more just to make my life tomorrow a little easier, but I take a small break to answer the last of the comments on John’s post that have trickled in during the day. I also decide to write some thank you notes because I promised myself I would do it today, and 10:45 p.m. seems like as good of a time as any amiright?

thank you notes

11:08 PM

Okay I’m getting close to calling it a night. I wrote 4 thank you notes, and it seems like I should have written them a little faster. The other blog post I was going to write tonight is supposed to be 800 words but instead of writing it fully, I just push myself to work a little bit longer and at least do a brief outline so it’s easier to write tomorrow. There are about 10-ish comments on Budget Blonde for me to answer and two e-mails I marked earlier in the day that I need to address so I go through those too.

11:22 PM

Hmm… I should probably go to bed soon, but my day tomorrow will be shot if I don’t have a plan. I’ve been jotting down things I need to do all day. I can tell by looking at the list that there are too many things on there, and there’s no way I can get them all done tomorrow. So, I spend just a few minutes moving some things to Thursday’s list and end up with 13 things that I want to do tomorrow in order of importance.

11:45 PM

I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish today but I know when to call it a night. Plus, it’s time for a bath… and changing out of my pajamas into new pajamas that I can wear all day tomorrow… :D Of course, just as I’m about to go to bed, the hubs emerges from his study cave to get some ice cream, and I have to stay and chat with him for a little while because, you know, he’s the hubs and all. :) Even though it seems like my day was full, he was awake for an hour before me and only took breaks to eat. Gotta love him.

hubs and ice cream

12:15 AM

I’m bad and decide check my e-mail one more time from my phone in bed, and of course, I find one that I want to respond to. But, it’s not long before I’m dead asleep… zzzz

What does a day in your life look like? Any other bloggers feel like writing a similar post? :)

The Truth About Self Employment: My Transition

The Truth About Self Employment

Me…Giving Blogging Two Thumbs Up This Morning

A lot of you have asked about my transition to self-employment, and I’ve been really excited to share all the deets with you!

I’ve been working 100% for myself for 15 whole days now, and it’s definitely been an interesting journey so far.

Like any other post, I’m going to be 100% honest and tell you the truth about self employment and what it feels like to completely break out on your own.

Of course, you have to take my personality into account with all this. Maybe some people can just quit their jobs and go about their self employment days free as a bird, but I tend to be a little intense so my story might look a little different than others.

Here’s how the transition started:

November 2013 – Feeling Incredibly Grateful

I got really lucky to have an amazing day job the past two years. I worked as a university instructor at my husband’s medical school, and I had two incredible bosses. When I found out I was pregnant with the twins and wanted to move back to the U.S. early, my bosses really, really supported me when I asked if I could work from home in November and December.

They agreed to let me finish out my contract from 3,000 miles away, which made me feel very, very grateful. Seriously, I won’t ever be able to repay them for their generosity and for trusting me to do my work remotely.

This arrangement gave me the opportunity to mix my day job and my online work. Like always, I was working a lot of hours every week between the two gigs, but without the structure of the 9-5 schedule, I was able to handle some blog stuff earlier in the day and then do my research for the university in the evenings when the Internet was quieter. This was a total flip flop from what I’d been doing the last year, which was doing my blog work at night.

So, this helped me to establish a schedule that carried over to now all while still getting paid my salary from the university.

December 2013 – Feeling Incredibly Excited

When I turned in my last project to the university, I felt really excited and accomplished. I was finally doing it – switching to self employment! I went to bed that night really, really happy, not because I didn’t like the day job I had, but because I was finally doing something that I’ve been working towards for a really, really long time.

Of course, everyone warns you that self employment isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a very turbulent thing, and anything can break at any moment. Still, I had 6 months of very steady blog income with a big list of clients, and I knew I was ready!

January 2014 – Feeling Incredibly Terrified

On one of my very first days of self employment, I woke up to some bad news waiting in my inbox.

One of my regular clients decided to shut down their blog and said they would not need my writing services anymore. Then, right behind it, I had another e-mail about a dumb mistake I made on project from last year, and it cost me a pretty penny. It’s extremely rare that I have issues like this, but they all piled up on the same day and right at the beginning of this self-employment journey to boot.

Basically, after 6 months of awesome blog income, steady clients, and very positive feedback, I lost about $500 in one day. To make it worse, I was waiting on PayPal payments from about 4 people who were late, and so I basically spent the first few days of self-employment wondering if it was the worst idea in the history of ideas.

Getting the Support I Needed

I realized quickly that I couldn’t just sit at my desk and quietly freak out all on my own, but I couldn’t help but panic. As many of you know, my husband is a medical school student, and so for now, this blog that you are reading is providing the only income for my family.

I called my dad literally crying and basically saying, “Dad, I don’t know if I can do this! The pressure is unreal! Every single bill has to be paid from income from my blog! Every grocery purchase has to be made by my blog income! OMG I’m pregnant with twins. My family is going to starve.”

Obviously, my mind was seriously wandering. I was legitimately wondering how I was going to pay for my health insurance or my moving costs or be able to find a nice home or decent home insurance one day if I was the sole provider.

My dad was just like, “Catherine, if you keep thinking things like that, you’re going to cause yourself to jump off a bridge. You’re not going to starve. Just take one thing at a time.”

Of course, the hubs was extra supportive too. He was all, “We have tons of savings. You have had a steady income for 6 months. You can do it! We will be fine!”

From Paralysis to Punching Fear in the Face

Honestly, I was really surprised at how quickly the fear set in. I thought that I would feel super confident and ready to go in terms of self employment since all the numbers pointed to success. But, when everything wasn’t going perfectly those first few days, my mind really started to wander.

I even spent a whole day last week unable to do any work at all. It was like I was completely paralyzed.

I e-mailed my friend John, who many of you know, and I was like, “I’m paralyzed with fear! What do I do?” His suggestion was to take the fear and turn it on it’s side and use it to kick some ass. I might be paraphrasing a bit. But, his suggestion gave me a little bit of a pick me up, a sense of power, a knowing that of course I can do this. It’s my business! I made it! I can make it work!

Things Are Great Now

A few days ago, I finally got a few payments I was waiting on. I set up some advertising for January. I got an e-mail from someone new who was looking for a writer. A friend asked me to guest post on their blog. Then, I got an e-mail from someone who asked me to be their mentor and help them become a freelance writer. That made me realize that I do have some valuable knowledge and skills and that I really can do this. In fact, I’ve been doing this for months now. Self employment has just given me the time to do an even better job at it.

I want everyone who is interested in doing the same thing to know that I didn’t pick self employment lightly. I had good work ethic, a lot of savings, and an idea of how to move forward. I am a planner, and I would never risk the well being of my family if I didn’t think it would work.

Yeah, as evidenced by this post, it’s scary, and yeah I had a rough start earlier this month, but what a difference a few days can make! I always tell people that’s the fun thing about blogging – you never know who you’ll meet and you never know what fun projects will come your way.

You also don’t know when your server will crash etc. but every business has bad days. It’s just a matter of having the experience and the willingness to push through it to get to the good stuff. At least, that’s what I’ve realized in my 15 days of self employment wisdom. :)

So, all in all, I still feel like I made the right decision, and I’m working on just taking things day by day and jumping over the hurdles as they come. I really appreciate all of you following along on the journey, and I’ll definitely keep you updated as things happen along the way!

Is anyone else thinking of making the switch? Spill it!