Learning to survive and thrive as a freelance mum and writer

teething problems as a freeelance writer

Next week, my second son starts nursery and I transition to full-time freelance mum and writer. He is likely our last baby, which makes this my penultimate week of maternity leave (perhaps, ever).

Having spent nine months growing my freelance writing business before he arrived (incidentally, the same months I spent growing him), I am confident that freelance writing offers a unique blend of professional fulfilment and flexibility that works for me as a mother, a writer and a business owner.

Parenthood and the freedom of freelancing

The words ‘freelance writing’ have become almost synonymous with freedom. And there’s certainly truth in this.

No more rigid 9-5 (or 8-7, as I would often do early in my career), no more commuting nightmares (goodbye Victoria line on a Monday morning), no more capacity planning meetings (IYKYK).

You are the captain of your ship; you have power over your own schedule and creative process; you choose your workspace. This independence can be empowering for working parents, if you take care to design a schedule that carefully merges childcare responsibilities with the flexibility that freelancing provides.

To make it work:

  • Establish clear boundaries between work and personal life, defining specific hours that align with your child’s routine, and remember to communicate these hours with your clients.
  • Embrace delegation and outsourcing. You might even consider hiring a VA to support with administrative tasks.
  • Learn to say no! Know your limits and be comfortable to say no. Of course, taking on new projects is exciting, but over-committing is the opposite of freedom.
  • Set realistic goals for your business. Manage your time by focusing on these goals, keeping your freelance business sustainable over time.

Networking and self-promotion

Networking and self-promotion are key to freelance success, whether you are a freelance mum (or dad) or not. When returning to work after maternity leave, having a supportive network is particularly important. After my first son, returning to a corporate role, I found this to be especially true.

As a freelancer, creating a network becomes your own responsibility.

Online communities and social media groups can provide valuable insights, advice, and a sense of camaraderie as you juggle the demands of freelance writing and parenthood. Developing a presence on both Instagram and LinkedIn has allowed me to connect with hundreds of fellow freelancers. I’m also a big fan of the Doing It For The Kids community and podcast.

Reconnecting with previous colleagues or clients, joining freelancing platforms, and leveraging social media can also be great ways to showcase your work.

To make it work:

  • Embrace social media and online forums to connect with like-minded freelancers
  • Reconnect with ex colleagues or previous clients, letting them know you are returning to work as a freelancer.  

Building a diverse portfolio

One of the greatest perks of freelance writing is the ability to work on a variety of projects across different topics, audiences, or industries.

My niche is health and medical writing, so I work exclusively with companies in the health and medical space who need words to educate, engage and inspire their audiences. Even within this space, freelancing has given me the perfect opportunity to diversify my portfolio and expand my expertise.

To make it work:

  • Consider diversifying writing styles and exploring new niches.
  • Create a portfolio or collection of writing samples that showcase your adaptability.

Prioritising self-care and wellbeing

A commitment to your personal wellbeing is probably as important to freelancer / parenthood success as all of the above.

I admit, I have not always been good at this, but I am recognising more and more that prioritising self-care is not only essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance, but also for nurturing a positive and sustainable freelance career.

To make it work:

  • Respect the boundaries between work and personal life you have in place – communicate these with your clients so they are able to do the same.
  • Take breaks, regularly – these can seem like a distant memory for many new parents, but truly are essential for recharging your energy and creativity.
  • Nurture your support system, sharing experiences with fellow freelancers, friends, family members and others who understand the delicate tightrope of freelance parenthood.
  • Celebrate even the smallest of achievements. Completing a project, meeting a deadline, getting to that yoga class. These all deserve celebration.

Imagine this transition as a lifestyle change, not just a career shift. Enjoy the freedom, diversify your skills, network strategically, and prioritise your personal wellbeing. Parenthood – and freelancing – are adventures; approaching this step as such, with enthusiasm and resilience, could lead to the most fulfilling and rewarding chapter of your professional life.

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I am an accomplised and versatile freelance writer who works with businesses and brands in the health, medical and wellbeing space to tell evidence-based stories that cut through the jargon and stand out from the crowd.

  • Take a look closer at my career story
  • Click CONTACT if you want to connect on a health or medical writing project, or just for a chat with a fellow freelancer!
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