Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Guest Post: How NOT to be a Stay at Home Cat Lady

Today's guest post comes from the very funny and very stylish Linz Loves You. We are both freelancers and when you work at home people often ask you how you started and what you do. Here Lindsay tells how she became a freelancer and avoided being a SAHCL.

Never, in a million, gazillion years, would I ever have thought I'd strike out myself in the working world, as it were. But I have, armed only with my social media accounts, two degrees from Cal, and a few $10 words. It's a bizarre world, this world of freelancing.

It's isolating. Working from home gives you the flexibility to work in your pajamas, write off your internet/rent for tax expenses, and work at strange hours. However, there's no coworkers to go to lunch with, or shoot nerf guns with, or bounce ideas off of. It's also allowed me to become a SAHCL, or Stay at Home Cat Lady. Luckily, I have a very snuggly cat... so that's not all bad ;)

It makes you defensive. Not defensive in a bad way, necessarily. Rather, I've found myself constantly having to explain to people and companies that yes, they do really need my services, and yes, they do really need to pay for them. As the age-old hooker motto goes, "You gotta pay to play." And while I'm not selling myself, I am sort of, well, selling myself. Or at least, my abilities and my work. And seriously? That's worth more than $.02 per word. Or $5 a post. Minimum wage is not that low (at least not here), so why would you offer to pay me so little? My favorite thing is having to defend the fact that I do, in fact, need to be paid at all for my work. While I might guest-blog or help a friend once in a while, my writing is a service, just as is a doctor's consultation or programmer's coding. Or a hooker's... yeah. {hi, mom!} Speaking of defending what you do, being a freelance writer also means that you're often trying to justify your work. I've heard "you should just get a real job" more times than I can count. Um hi, this is a real job! Just because it's not 9-5 at a desk doesn't mean that I can't somehow make it work. It's more difficult, and I'm already chasing down people for money, but it's still a job.

Freelancing makes you reevaluate your skills, and work on your weaknesses. If I just focused on my one strength, writing, I'd have a couple jobs, sure. But now that I've branched out to social media management and design, I've gotten more work. I didn't even intend to be a writer when I graduated--I wanted to work as a magazine/book editor or as a marketing person. Well we can scratch those out the window (thanks to my current lack of traditional marketing experience). For my weaknesses, well, I've got them in spades. Freelancing is forcing me to work on my time management skills. Like, big time. It's also forcing me to become better at bookkeeping. And another weakness is, at least in my mind, my design foundations. To work on that, I'm taking a pattern class from Almah at OlliBird, reading some books on design and typography fundamentals, and am looking for summer classes in LA for design and art. Plus, every single project I do--whether writing, SM, or designing-- is a great way to improve upon my strengths and whittle down my weaknesses.

I am a writer. A community manager. And a designer. A jill of all trades geeky, and a stay at home cat lady, to top it off. I'm still learning, and by no means am I a renowned expert at any of those things. But I've got some chops, and certainly some damn good experience. So, if you wondered what I'm doing with my life... there is is. And this cartoon from The Oatmeal might explain it nicely as well...

working from home

1 comment:

Melaina25 said...

I used to think that working at home would be perfect for me, pyjamas all day and all that, but it's really hard and so easy to get you down! I make a real effort to get proper clothes on and wear makeup, I am so much more motivated to work hard when I don't feel like I'm having a duvet day.