Freelancing Mama

This post has been a long time coming! I’ve been dying to share this news since the day I landed my first Upwork contract, April 2, 2019. Adding fifteen hours of work into my weeks however, has been challenging. Sitting down to type out a blog post just kept getting pushed further and further down my list.

The Portal To Wonderland is Riddled with Holes

When I started this blog, I was deeply unhappy. The kind of unhappiness that gets under your skin. The kind you know you feel, but you can’t put your finger on it… The kind that whispers to you in your daydreams that something just isn’t quite right in your life. I never could have imagined that ten months later my entire life would be turned upside down, in the best way possible.

And now here I am, five weeks into one of the best decisions of my life! It’s surreal to me that I’m sitting here right now, sipping hot tea, looking at my gorgeous family command center, while my family packs up for our move, and our sweet baby girl sleeps bundled up in cozy blankets on the couch. I spent the better part of a year moping over one of the worst career moves of my life, or rather several consecutive and stupid career moves. But I finally stopped footling around and got my shit together when I finally realized what was important in my life; what was going to make me really, truly happy.

This screenshot is from a blog post I wrote in September of last year:

I was at a time in my life when my faith had disintegrated to a point where I didn’t have much faith left to believe that I could ever get it back. But the beautiful thing about faith is that we only need to plant a tiny seed to see a blossom in due time.

And blossom it did. After my cavalcade of failures, I had decided that I didn’t believe in vision boards anymore, and every time I heard of the concept again I would roll my eyes and scoff, “Millennials!” But something in me kept believing, just the teensiest bit. I couldn’t help myself… Little by little my cynicism was eroding away, as I made space in my life for new growth, and new understanding.

And so my dreams, conscious and unconscious, rose to the surface in my life.

One of these was a yearning that had been a constant theme throughout my married life – to find my niche in the world, establish myself in a legitimate career field, and actually contribute to my family’s finances. During my pregnancy, I resigned myself to the belief that this was not my fate, and that I was happy despite it. I honestly and truly put the old obsession completely out of mind. And strangely enough, it seems that whenever we do this is exactly when the magic starts to happen…

Manifesting The Magic

When Alice was exactly 7 weeks old, I woke up that morning and it just hit me – today was the day. I was going to go on Upwork and just start sending in proposals for little jobs. It was a what the hell moment – spontaneous, and yet somehow I’d been planning for it my entire life.

While I lay there in milk-stained bedsheets, nursing my chunky little 10lb babe, ignoring my despondency D-Mer, I opened Upwork.com and clicked on the first job I saw that sounded like I could do it. It was a VA job for a podcast booking agency. I quickly drafted a proposal that sounded pretty damn good, and sent it off. Fifteen minutes later, I received a message from the client responding to my proposal, and twenty minutes later I’d landed the contract. Funny enough I had 100% expected to get the job. You know how sometimes we just know these things? We know them split seconds before they happen… Like the time I just knew they were going to call my name out for the math award at my middle school graduation, even though I was absolutely terrible at math. I believe that all humans are psychic in this way, we just don’t give ourselves credit for it, and so the impulse is usually pushed too far into the back of our minds to manifest into reality. I was elated, proud, a little nervous, and definitely a little bit oh fuck what did I just get myself into…

Since then I’ve done a handful of other jobs. I was getting almost every single job I submitted a proposal for, so at a certain point I had to stop. I have four clients now, but most of the other jobs were temporary projects that have been completed. I was so pleased every time I received accolades, compliments on my writing and my ideas, and even one time a bonus $6. It has been just the ego-boost I needed and nothing short of life-affirming. I’ve made almost $400 on Upwork, and my long-term client and I have now moved off Upwork into Freshbooks and Slack.

In the beginning I didn’t have much confidence in my abilities as a freelancer, so I only asked for $9/hr, which became $7.20/hr after Upwork’s fees. It was hilarious because I had made a comment to José saying, “I’m working for peanuts now, but at least I can finally place that order I’ve been wanting from nuts.com. We need peanuts for peanut butter… Ha! I’m literally working for peanuts!” But since things have been going so well and I’ve added so much value to my client’s business, I asked for a raise last week and am now making $15/hr – no fees.

I love being a VA. I love the job itself. I love the feeling of connecting people who hit it off and develop productive business relationships and even friendships outside of the podcast episode I booked. But most of all, I love the feeling of being a professional, working woman, legitimately contributing to my family’s finances for the first time in eight years of marriage, all while cuddling with my baby half the day, devoting time to her big sisters, and putting meals full of love on the table every night. It is seriously a dream come true.

I Got My Rainbow Cake and Ate It Too

About three weeks ago, I stumbled across an Alan Watts quote my husband had posted on Facebook two years before. And I guess at that time three years ago, I wasn’t ready to understand it yet. I believe that a person can hear something and think, oh yeah, that’s nice. But not really integrate it into their life; not really believe it. This was the case, but now I was hearing it again, and now I was ready.

“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

Alan Watts

Or in my own words, the purpose of life is to be happy, but we all like to run around pretending to be chickens with our heads cut off.

At any rate, that day was a turning point for me. Omg, I realized, I don’t have to have a purpose. I can just be. At that very moment, a heavy weight was lifted off my shoulders.

I’ve been on a mission lately to pay down our debt, and I had the thought, what will I do with myself once we accomplish this? Once we’re debt free? Won’t I be bereft without a purpose? But no, I realized in the very next thought breath, because I don’t need a purpose. I am liberated from that.

I just am. We just are. This was everything I needed to believe and to integrate into myself in order to find my happy.

Then about two Sundays ago, I was in the shower wearing my baby, deep in alpha state bliss, when it suddenly hit me that my life is almost perfect. I have everything I’d ever wanted, ever asked for, and ever dreamed. A loving husband, children, new baby, a healthy body, healthy finances, a strong vein of spirituality running through my life, and now even a niche that was making me money. For the rest of the day I was overflowing with joy, high on life, and full of gratitude. It was only April and I’d already accomplished my 2019 New Year’s Resolution: to manifest true and abiding gratitude in and for my life. I did IIN’s Circle of Life exercise again, and couldn’t believe that I had full scores in almost every piece of pie. Not pie. Cake. I like cake.

Since then there have been more highs, and plenty of lows too. After all, one of the greatest lessons of life is that there cannot be highs without lows. Overall though, I am so, so happy, and so grateful.

This is Only The Beginning

Almost every day now I get new ideas about how to streamline, improve, and grow my client’s business. I guess I’m a VA with a dash of business consultant. After all my failed startups, at least I’ve got a few bags of tricks as a consolation (and a few bags of don’t ever fucking touch this shit!).

I imagine a future where I am freelancing in the VA niche at a much higher level, putting together a package I can pitch to startups who could do with a business structure evolution from the inside out. I didn’t expect that in only five short weeks I would already have 100x the confidence I had in myself on day one.

I have less time to blog now, but I’m far too deeply in love with this blog to abandon it, so you haven’t seen the last of me yet! In fact, I’m fairly certain that this is only the beginning…

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