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.

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Good luck! That's a scary thing but even with all the craziness it sounds like you have a good plan!


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