Finding a work/life balance – through freelancing
by Annie Manning
I have been running my own business and freelancing as a marketing and quality consultant and writer for twenty years. It has given me the flexibility required to continue my professional career, raise my daughter and I have even managed to have some of the school holidays off. Freelancing has worked really well for us both and I have enjoyed excellent business partnerships with clients and worked for many of them longer than some people have in a permanent role.
Tip one: Choose the right child care
However, I couldn’t have survived especially in those early years or secured high profile projects without having the back up of a brilliant childminder. Value your childminder – she is vital to your business success – mine became part of the family and my daughter even chose her to be her godparent. Seeking and finding professional childcare enabled me to work long days at exhibitions for clients, keep contracts and continue to work during holidays – and all with peace of mind.
Tip two: Nurturing child development
I have always encouraged my daughter to join in at events in the community wherever possible. As a result she has developed excellent social skills seeing, at first hand, my own professional activities … not to mention fundraising, marketing and sales awareness. Instead of viewing my work and involvement within the charity sector and community as a battle for my attention she has accepted what I do as the norm.
My daughter is now 15 and doing extremely well at school and never has any problem putting together a slide presentation or writing a speech. She already cares about her community, is politically aware and working in ‘the big society’ – volunteering at the local vets alongside studying for her GCSEs and helping me at events for a local charity for the elderly.
I am proud to say her school tutor informs me ‘she is a polite, well balanced, caring and confident teenager’. Has she suffered by my working or my volunteering? Absolutely not!
Tip three: Be flexible
I have learned over the years that flexibility and continual self development is a must, not to mention keeping a sense of humour. I have always maintained that if you are good at what you do and remain positive and flexible in your approach to dealing with clients then you will not only survive but secure long-term partnerships.
On a personal level one has to aim to keep one’s sanity, animals and children fed and hopefully the household running smoothly too.
Remember nobody went to their grave wishing they had done more housework and ironing but they may have regretted not pursuing a career or writing that book … or even a parenting article.
So many of us manage to ‘get it right’ and raise healthy happy children. I guess we should shout a bit louder about doing so.
A Kindle publication by Annie Manning – ‘The Circle of Success’ – is a 30-minute read about customer engagement. For further information please visit her website: www.anniemanning.com