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Note from Lisa: Feel like you don’t want to go back to your day job after having a baby? If yes, this guest post is for you! Molly shares three tips for first-time moms who are new to freelancing.
Take it away Molly…
If you’re a first-time mom like me who is barely finding solid ground after the biggest transition EVER, you might be wondering what’s next?
Freelance writing is a perfect opportunity for a new mom.
It’s natural not to want to jump back into our old job. I don’t want to—at least, not yet. I was working five days a week as a psychotherapist, working with families and parents. Thinking back, I giggle because I thought I knew about parenting. I had studied and worked with families for over a decade. Now, I realize how much more I’m learning through experience.
Besides, how would I go back to therapy sessions now?! With a 5-month-old baby and no reliable child care (yet), how could I possibly give an hour of my undivided attention to ANYTHING besides my baby?
And the stress of my old job… I just don’t know if I could do it right now.
Finding Something That Actually Works
Freelance writing is a perfect fit for first-time moms. As we adjust to this new role, we often have so much to reflect on and write about! And most importantly—I can do it on my own time.
“My time” that is interrupted by coos, cries, and breastfeeding. “My time,” that varies from day to day by when and how much I get. Any set hours are one extra stress a new mom doesn’t need if she can avoid it.
So if you’re a first-time mom like me, you may be wondering how you can get into freelance writing?
TIP #1: Adjust Your Expectations and Have Patience
I know, this is kind of a somber first tip. But it’s one I wish I had gotten when I started out. It is, unfortunately, true what they say—new moms can be especially sensitive to rejection. Blame the hormones or the major life adjustment. Whatever the reason, it can be hard to silence that inner critical voice at times.
That is why it is so important to keep in mind this tip when looking to become a freelance writer. Sometimes you may wait weeks and never hear back from certain publications. Others may reject you simply because they don’t have space for new content.
Whatever the reason is, try not to let it discourage you. Getting started as a freelance writer is often the hardest part. Take a good look at your expectations and be gentle with yourself. Just like being a mom for the first time, starting anything new takes time to adjust, and it doesn’t always feel easy at first.
TIP #2: Find Your Niche
This is probably the most important thing to consider. What are you an “expert” in? Do you want to write about new motherhood or another area that you have a lot of experience in?
What style and tone do you write well in? Take your time to find the niche topic that works well for you.
This makes your work so much more in demand—but also enjoyable and easier on your already taxed mom-brain! You want to write about something you are at least somewhat knowledgeable and hopefully passionate about.
In this way, you can have an easier time finding readers and experiencing fulfillment through your new job.
TIP #3: Do Your Research
What publications already exist out there? What articles have already been written? What gaps are there?
How do you compare to other “experts” in your niche? Do you want to write for existing publications or try to start your own? Why?
Are you looking for a few hours of work or something closer to full-time? What writing experience do you have? What are realistic wage expectations—per word or per article?
These are all important questions to investigate how you’ll fit your work into the online world as a freelance writer. Publications do not want duplicate content. Also, many people find a topic practically NO ONE has written about and make their very own niche website. This can turn into a lucrative business venture. What does that entail? How much time will you need to build the website and content?
I heard several no’s before I heard a yes. And I’ll be honest—I lost momentum.
I set a goal to send one pitch a night, and some nights sent several more. After a few rejections, I started skipping some nights. I knew why I had started procrastinating (I am a psychotherapist remember), and it wasn’t just because I was tired. I had lost faith in myself as a freelance writer.
All my nagging doubts about myself as a new mom could easily be transferred to this seemingly failed attempt. But after a few weeks, I heard back from a few publications.
One of them required a live zoom interview. Great! I thought. But wait… childcare!? Luckily, I was able to have a friend come over, complete the interview in 11 minutes flat, and get the job
Bonus Tip: Don’t Give Up When You’re New To Freelancing
Getting the first rejection email can really sting, but becoming a freelance writer really does depend upon consistency. Take yourself seriously. Believe in yourself.
Put together a portfolio and website to show yourself as a professional freelance writer. Sign your emails “freelance writer” even if you haven’t had anything published.
Post content on your own blog or website. Write. Keep submitting pitches and articles. Make a goal of how many cold emails you’ll send and stick to it. Even if you can only manage one hour a day, congratulate yourself.
You might be surprised how starting to shift into freelance writing can help to boost your self-esteem and sense of fulfillment as a new mom. Being a new mom is filled with so much joy, and often more challenging emotions like confusion or sadness.
So many moms struggle with their sense of identity or self. Freelance writing is a beautiful outlet to not only process and relearn how to focus on something other than your baby, but also to find fulfillment again in something other than motherhood.
All on your own time— and nap time, of course.
If you’re ready to get started with freelance writing, taking a course can help you gain traction sooner. Check out Gina Horkey’s 30 Days or Less to Freelance Writing Success.
Molly Rae Benoit-Leach is a freelance writer, psychotherapist, yoga teacher, and first-time mom. She lives between Ajijic, Mexico and Toronto, Canada. She loves writing about what she knows best. Molly applies her mental health knowledge to her parenting, relationships, and everything she does. She can be found through her website mollypsych.com.
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