Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Freelance Doesn't Mean Unemployed! ...Except When It Does

Photo courtesy of Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
The past two years, I've mostly been describing myself as a stay-at-home mom, which is halfway true because I do see that as my most important job right now.

I've also been reassuring some family and friends by telling them I was doing some "freelance" work on the side. That's also partially true, but I was still drawing unemployment which forced me to limit my income pretty drastically, and cut down on my client list (according to the person I talked to at the employment office, I could work through a website that filed a 1099, but could not work with clients directly, because that would be considered self-employment and would make me ineligible for unemployment benefits).

This is where a certain group of people will tell me I should have said screw the benefits, jumped into freelancing full-time, and went all sink-or-swim.  Great plan there, except I left a job with an above-average salary for this area, so my weekly unemployment checks were higher than my husband's take home pay, and over $100 a week higher than any of the jobs I was offered while looking. I don't know what my freelance income would have been if I'd really pushed it, worked 16+ hour days, and all of those other things, but I do know it would have been somewhat limited by total lack of support from my husband and a toddler in my care 24/7.

Either way, I received my last unemployment check yesterday, so now I find myself in the freelance world for real. It scares the crap out of me. I'm excited to be able to work on my own terms, but I really, really, really want the safety net of a paycheck there to catch me if I screw up. With that gone, I am jumping into writing and trying to work from a set schedule, and am also branching out into some graphic work and webpage design. Right now, I'm doing some free work in those areas for a church some friends are starting (logo, facebook welcome screen for the fan page, & a website), and have a couple logos and fan pages in the works. I've gotten a lot of compliments, but it is sort of crazy now building a portfolio and trying to launch a new business all at once. I'm still doing the writing as well, and have kicked it up to where I am making more than I was, but it's hard to adjust from the income level I had to cap it off at before to what I need to be making now to pay the bills.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Awesome Brownies, By Mistake

Lately, the rugrat's had this thing about opening boxes of food and either scattering pasta all over the kitchen or bringing me random packages without the box they came in. (Yeah, they make child-proof cabinet latches - it took him about 2 days to figure those out).

Usually, I can find the accompanying box before the dogs eat it and get everything put back together and taped shut. This time, it didn't work that way.

I ended up with one big clear cellophane bag or brown, chocolatey looking baking mix and bits of a red cardboard box scattered all over my living room. I could tell from the size and shape (and cause I bake a lot of cakes and brownies) that it was a Betty Crocker mix, so I assumed it was for fudge brownies, my husband's favorite.

I busted out a pan, greased it up, and followed the direction on another package of brownies to make them, adding a thin layer of Nutella in the middle because I love that stuff and because I can never just follow a recipe without messing around.

When they were done, they smelled and looked good, but it was clear they were not the brownies I thought they were. Instead, it had been a box of German chocolate cake mix. I tried one, thought it was pretty good, and gave the hubby one to sample. He declared they were freakin' awesome, ate 4, then told me from now on I should forget the brownie mix and make those instead.
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