When I started Lisa Tanner Writing back in 2015, Brynna was my baby. But, she was six months old at the time. When I wrote this post on Freelancing with a Baby, I shared 14 tips that I’d been implementing with her.
Now that Bryson has joined our family, I’m quickly learning that freelancing with a six-month old is a lot different than freelancing with a newborn. So it’s time to add an additional post to my freelancing with kids series.
16 Tips for Freelancing with a Newborn
As a freelancer, you don’t really have the luxury of paid time off or maternity leave to utilize. So when you’re working around a newborn, it’s essential to cut out as much as you can. Otherwise, you’ll be spinning your wheels and wasting your energy on non-essentials and won’t have any time left to freelance. Here are some tips to help!
1. Your Health is a Priority
Labor and delivery takes a toll on the body. You have to remember to take time for yourself, to ensure you recover. If you do too much, you’ll slow down your recovery and feel miserable. (Yes, I’m speaking from experience!)
It’s okay to take a nap when your baby does. To stay in your jammies all day. And to seriously cut down your outside commitments.
To make sure you don’t fall behind on client work, you’ll want to make sure you’ve talked to your clients. Let them know you’re expecting. Here are some ways I dealt with work right around Bryson’s birth:
- Complete it early (I turned in several pieces in January that would have typically been due in February)
- Take a month off (I asked one client for a month off from pitching ideas and taking on work)
- Get someone else to cover (I had a VA client with a need and I asked my little sister to cover for me, after clearing it with my client. Thanks Katie!)
- Ask for an extension (I had a client seek an article a couple days after Bryson was born, and I asked to wait to start it for a week.)
- Just get it done (I was able to complete all of my content editing work when it was assigned)
By clearing most of my work off my plate, I was able to focus on me and my family for the first bit. I still had a little work to do, but it was easy to knock out in the evenings, and didn’t stress me out too bad.
Your strategy may be different, but whatever you do–leave time for relaxing and recovering. You’ll get more done in the long run!
2. Ask for Help
I’m finally learning the benefit of asking for (and accepting) help. The kids have been picking up more household chores, my step-dad is taking care of the animals, and my husband is doing a lot around the house.
I just can’t do it all. So I’m asking. It’s still hard for me–I don’t like to admit that I can’t do something. But the Lord has been showing me that I was being too prideful and it was a detriment not only to me, but to those who love me and want to help.
By delegating some of the other tasks looming over my head, I can focus on loving my family and our new baby, and ensure that I have time to get my freelancing done.
3. Put Your Feet Up
Take time to put your feet up during the day, even if you just drag a footstool or another chair over to where you are working. It’ll help get the pressure off your legs and let you rest a bit.
4. It’s OK to Not Grow Right Now
When you’re freelancing with a newborn, it’s okay not to focus on growing your business. Take it slow for a bit until you get used to life with a new one. And until you’re feeling stronger.
Then, work on growth. Growing a business in a sustainable way isn’t always a straight uphill climb. Take time to savor the plateaus and put plans in place to hit the hills again when you’re ready.
5. Make Easy Meals
I have a whole post on this coming out next week, because when you’re trying to balance life with a newborn AND a business, there isn’t a lot of time for much else. Simplify your meals even more. Buy prepared food without feeling guilty.
Let your kids do more. And streamline.
Everyone has to eat, but you don’t need to feed your family fancy, gourmet meals. Just keep it simple!
6. Simplify Your Cleaning
Bryson is almost a month old, and we’re still on a simplified version of our cleaning routine. Our house won’t win any awards for being spotless, but it is staying livable.
We’re focusing our efforts on:
- The bathroom
- The kitchen
- A daily 15 minute cleanup
- Daily chores
All deep cleaning has been put on hold for a bit. Once I’ve fully recovered, we’ll jump back into a more detailed cleaning routine. But, for now I’m enjoying the break.
7. Do More From Your Phone
I’m really learning to utilize my iPhone for my business. I can easily use it while nursing and sitting back with my feet up. Here are seven specific tasks I’m doing from my phone these days:
- Email management
- Managing blog comments with the WordPress app
- Outlining blog posts in the Notes app
- Content Calendar planning
- Social media marketing (both promoting my content and sharing that from others)
- Conduct research
- Brainstorm ideas
8. Hire Others to Create Content
I wanted to take an extended break from this blog once Bryson arrived. With two other blogs to manage, cutting this one gave me a bit more flexibility on writing for myself.
So I put out a call for proposals to my subscribers and arranged for four paid posts. That gave me all of February to step back from my blog here. I just scheduled all four guest posts at the end of January, and was able to knock some major items off my to-do list.
You might consider the same–is there someone else you can hire to create your content or take over some of your tasks? You’ll be trading money for time, which with a newborn, is a good deal if you can swing it.
9. Take Time to Snuggle
Newborns grow and change quickly. I promise you won’t regret taking time to just sit and snuggle your precious bundle. Take time to breathe in their scent, to hold them close, and not fret about what you’re not getting done.
10. Ensure You’re Getting Sleep
Sleep is essential! Don’t try to do too much right away at the expense of your sleep. Burning the candles at both ends, staying up late and getting up early, isn’t healthy for the long-term. It’s especially not healthy when you’re trying to recover from delivery.
So sleep. Take a nap if you need to. And don’t feel guilty.
11. Set Baby Goals not Huge Ones
When you’re freelancing with a newborn, it’s mighty hard to jump right into huge goals. So start small. Think about baby steps.
Doing a little bit everyday will take you further in the long run than setting a huge goal that feels so massive you never move forward.
You can still reach those big goals, just take them one bit at a time. Then you can use small chunks of time throughout the day to make progress on your goals.
12. Use Paper Plates!
Seriously, paper plates can be so helpful! I already had my kids taking on more household and farm chores than usual, so being able to take dishes off their to-do list was a blessing.
I bought a huge stack of plates from Costco last month, and I’m planning on getting another pack this month just since I’m still tiring easily.
Dishes = super quick clean up now, which helps us all!
13. Keep Clients in the Loop
Let your clients know how you’re doing. If you asked for a month off, but still aren’t up to taking on more work, get in touch with your client. Don’t wait until the last minute–that’s not the right way to handle it. So give some advanced warning, and be polite.
Offer to find another freelancer to do the work as a temporary thing if you think it’ll help.
Communication is essential when you’re working from home. Your clients aren’t going to know what’s going on if you don’t tell them. I’ve found most clients to be very understanding and flexible.
Of course that’s not always the case. So make sure you keep the deadlines that you can.
14. Get Ahead When You Can
Getting some extra work done before baby arrives helps cut down on that frantic feeling with a newborn. You’ll give yourself some extra time to adjust.
So if you’re expecting, get ahead!
If you’ve had baby and are now freelancing with a newborn, look for times when you can do some extra work. Perhaps:
- When Grandma is bathing the baby for you
- If baby is happily sitting in a bouncer
- When your spouse is home to help
- If the other kids are on a playdate
- Over the weekend
Using those extra moments to get ahead instead of binge on a television show helps.
15. Learn to Type with One Hand
I became efficient at the one-handed hunt and peck when I was working from home as a teacher for a parent partnership program. After I had my now eight-year old, I still needed to get my emails and everything done. I’ve done it with each baby since then.
It’s not pretty, and it’s not super fast. But, it works!
I hold baby in my non-dominant hand, usually over my shoulder. Then, I use my dominant hand to hunt and peck. Capital letters are harder, but I could usually maneuver my baby holding hand down to hit the shift key. Otherwise, I just hit caps lock with my typing hand, and then turn it right back off again.
16. Remember You Won’t Have a Newborn Forever!
Babies grow quickly. You won’t have a newborn forever. Before long, your new one will be content in a bouncer or playpen for longer periods of time. You’ll be able to utilize the tips from this post.
So enjoy your new baby while you can. You can always pitch for more clients, but you will never get these first few weeks and months back.
Have You Ever Freelanced with a Newborn?
I’d love for you to share your best tips in the comments.
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