I had expected my son to go to the local school and for myself to eventually find a part-time job but then autism happened, I had battles to fight and I decided to home educate through lack of suitable school options. My blog also started to generate a small income and I thought, I can do this, I can freelance and educate my son. Therefore I can be at home with him and as home education does not have to follow set hours or days I can work around his needs.
Here are my tips for freelancing when you perhaps like me home educate your children or have young preschool children still at home.
Have a notebook/planner:
Writing down lists and my work schedule helps me organise my thoughts and make sure I don't forget about a job I have agreed to do. My trusty notebook is full of the random ideas for posts to write about, deadlines for blog posts for clients and a constant list of admin work from tax returns to looking up some coding to alter my blog template. If I don't write it down I will forget as I also have my son's education and therapy to plan.
Keep a flexible schedule
When you home educate, you do not follow school hours of 9-3 so if you have a child who works better in the afternoon 'school' starts after lunch or if you are early risers, work can commence and be done by midday. Also, home ed is not like school. We don't follow a curriculum and learning can be however we want it to be. My son is still very much at the playing stage so we may have play activities for a couple of hours and then he has some free time in the afternoon where he listens to music and then I can do a little work. I then work again in the evenings.However, autism is unpredictable and some days our little routine can be totally changed by his mood I may work in the morning instead whilst me son chills out. I learnt early on to not get too hung up on strict schedules as children have other ideas about that. Kid's naptimes are another great time to do a little work, it's not easy granted but I've found it better than having to arrange working outside of the home as the only person I answer to is my son and I don't need to arrange childcare.
|Image source: work desk Shutterstock|
Keep a wall planner/calendar visible in your workspace
I am a very visual person so a colour coded calendar helps me to see when my son has appointments, planned days out and home education play dates. I can see at a glance when we will be out and therefore will have to plan my freelance work time around that.I can also use the calendar for any important blog deadlines.
Keep in touch with the outside world
Being at home with a child can be quite isolating and when you freelance even more so. Hiive is a creative network with a portfolio platform for you to share your details and engage with people, encouraging collaborations with others in the industry. There are super resources on there such as courses and job opportunities. Join swarms which are collaborative areas for projects, events or groups of people, so I would look for blogging, writing or photography swarms for instance.
Set aside some time every week to learn a new skill or engage in a new activity. There are so many ways to learn something new to benefit your freelance skills, whether that is looking at one of the Hiive courses, watching how to guides on YouTube or reading other blogger's tutorials. I'm keen in improving my creative writing and there is so much free info out there that I have an evening every week where I enjoy studying this topic.
My workspace is literally on the end of the dining table, I make sure it is kept as tidy and organised as possible, otherwise by the end of the week there is a mountain of books, paperwork and my son's toys. I try and keep my little corner just for me, uncluttered as otherwise the sight of junk makes me stressed and I cannot work in the hour I have free in the day. After tea time and before my son's bath, I'll spend a few minutes filing my paperwork or putting research books back on the shelf.
Once it is time with my son for his learning time or our day trips, I switch off, don't check my emails or send an Instagram. It's our time and I focus on that. Same goes for weekends, although I take my camera out with me, I now place more importance on having a great family time rather than collecting blog input and also the house does need cleaning so I say goodbye to my blog quite often over the weekends and don't think about publishing content, writing or being on social media. (well maybe a little Instagram ;) )