I remember sitting in a writing workshop when I was pregnant. The exercise was to write a motivational letter to the editor of a parenting publication, explaining why she should hire me as a freelance writer.
One of the reasons I gave was that I believed I was already an expert on parenting, even though I’d never had a child before. I believed that, because I had devoured every mommy blog and parenting magazine I could find, I was adequately prepared for the biggest shock of my life.
“Honey, you can read every book on parenting that’s ever been published. But until you’re in it, there’s no way you can prepare for it.”
The trainer was absolutely right. I had no idea what I was in for.
Ayva is now 17 months old. While most of the stories from the past few months are for another day, as a new-ish mother, I’ve come to realise a few things about us working and freelance moms and why we make stellar employees.
Moms have a newfound appreciation of time
Notice how I referred to my 17-month-old daughter and not my one-year-old, or my one-and-a-half-year-old?
Any mom will tell you that one month cannot compare to the next. It’s the difference between crawling and walking, between weeks of relatively peaceful nights and projectile vomit-filled ones.
Any mom will tell you that she only turned her back for a few seconds before her toddler did something that momentarily stopped her heart.
Time is a big deal in moms’ lives. A lot can happen in a minute, an hour, a day. When you’re running a household, raising a child, cleaning up after a husband and pets, and contributing to the household income, you have to stay laser-focused.
Moms are committed to output; we stay on task and we do more in less time. We have to.
Which is to say we prioritise, we organise and we get shit done.
The client benefits from high-quality work (because nobody has time to do it twice), delivered on time (because no mom has time to screw around).
We know when we’re most productive and we make that time count.
I’m not talking about our newly acquired ability to use our toes to pick up an out-of-reach cellphone while a baby snores on our chest – although that’s been a handy trick.
We learn quickly how to separate work time and mommy time and make the most of both.
Working and freelance moms appreciate the flexibility to help with homework, or to spend a morning in the doctor’s room with a snot-covered child, without feeling guilty that we’re not at the office.
Freelance moms aren’t on a 9-5 clock. We wake up before the birds and work well into the night. We work weekends if we need to, which means that someone is working on your business’ content or social media long after every else has gone home for the day.
Our flexibility is your flexibility. When you’re not bound by traditional working hours, your business becomes agile and better able to respond to external and internal pressures, which brings me to this very important point:
Freelancers are the future of work
Millennials, Generation Z, increased mobility and technology are enacting dynamic changes in the workplace.
Freelancing – sometimes referred to as the gig economy – is growing faster than traditional payroll employment because more people are attracted to the freedom and flexibility that comes with leaving the 9-5 rat race.
Freelancing is becoming a viable option for many skilled professionals, which gives you access to the best skills on an ad hoc basis.
Why not dip your toes into the gig economy waters now and start getting used to the idea of working with freelancers? We’re a reliable, hard-working bunch with a lot to lose if we don’t produce high-quality work, on deadline.
If you’re not convinced, check out these gig economy stats.
And if you’re not convinced that you can rely on freelancers, let me try change your mind:
Freelancing may conjure up images of leisurely lie-ins, working from a lounger on the beach and sipping cocktails while tapping away on a keyboard. Search for "freelance writer" on any stock image site and you'll get hundreds of variations of this:
While this is certainly possible with a freelance lifestyle, it’s not really an option if I want to grow my little business and make it successful.
As a freelancer, I’m providing a service to clients, which means I have to approach my work as any other business owner would: with a strategy, a growth mindset and a quality product.
I’m not going to sabotage my own success by producing sub-par copy, missing deadlines or taking on work that I am not qualified or experienced enough to tackle. It’s in my own interest to take pride in my work and to write what I know.
Word of mouth is also a powerful motivator. If I want my clients to recommend my services to other businesses, then I’m going to meet and try to exceed their expectations, every time.
That means investing in your business: understanding your goals and challenges, understanding your industry and understanding your competitors. And helping you understand how content strategy fits within that bigger picture.
We’re invested in ourselves
If we want to stay relevant in the market, freelancers can never stop learning: about the craft, about changes in digital marketing and content consumption, and about anything else that increases our value proposition to clients.
We’re always researching our clients’ industries, signing up for courses to boost our skills, and networking with other freelancers to grow and promote the industry.
We’re experienced, we’re subject matter experts and most of us have worked in media, corporate communications or public relations. That means we understand the impact of effective, engaging content on a brand’s reputation and relevance in the market.
Those skills come at a premium if you were to hire them full-time; freelancers give you access to them, as and when you need them. And here’s the best part…
Because we’re not full-time, salaried employees, you save money on:
Medical aid, pension fund and other benefits
Hardware, software and anything else we need to get the job done
Consumables – because moms drink a lot of coffee
Upskilling and training, while still getting access to top skills
When you hire a freelance mom, you get true value for your money: access to solid experience, expertise and skills when you need it, without the commitment and expense of appointing someone full-time.
This makes it a viable option for small businesses or start-ups that run lean, streamlined operations with limited resources.
Whether you need a once-off writing job or someone to assist with a long-term, content-heavy project to drive traffic to your enterprise website, hiring a freelance writer makes business sense.
One last thing
I love being a mom. But I also love what I do – and not just because, for a few hours, I can drink a hot cup of coffee and not have someone climbing on me and pulling my hair. I believe that freelancing and growing my own business makes me a better mother. It keeps me focused, keeps my brain engaged and sets an example for my daughter.
It’s sad that mothers still need to bust their asses to prove themselves in the workplace. But this motivates us to work harder and smarter – and what business wouldn’t benefit from that grit and determination?
I'd love to hear some of your success stories about working with freelancers. Tell me about them in the comments below.
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