Celebrating One Year of Self-Employment

It’s funny how people react when I say I’m a writer. At first, they seem to be intrigued. You know, because a writer just sounds like a romantic type job.

Then, I get into what I write. I’m a copywriter and blogger. I write marketing messages, communicate stories through social media, etc. I also provide consulting to people who want to gain an online presence but don’t know how to do it themselves.

Do you actually make money doing that stuff?

Yes. Yes I do. Actually, I’m doing quite well, thank you. (Do people think when they ask these questions?)

Last year at this time, I was just starting out as a self-employed writer and consultant. I was lucky because I got to start out with my former employer as my biggest client, and I was already writing for a local marketing company. (I still work with both. A lot. And I love it.)

Over the past year, I’ve had the chance to figure out the type of services I want to offer (and not offer), the type of clients I work with the best, and how to work efficiently from a home office. I’ve also had the chance to enjoy long walks on nice days and make personal appointments any time I want.

Working for myself has been great. And I feel like I’ve only begun to really enjoy and understand what it is to be an entrepreneur. I’m busy, and my business is shifting to where I want it to be. This blog is growing more and more. Opportunities are coming my way. Big opportunities. And I’m working my butt off to make it all happen.

I love being an entrepreneur. Even if it does mean that I have to write posts at 10:00pm or work a few hours on the weekends. I still make plenty of time for my kids and family, and I get to do what I want. On my terms.

It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in one year. Because when you’re doing what you love and really work at it, the sky’s the limit.

Transitions, Reflections and Perspectives

The following article is a guest post from Paula Mahony. (Ed. note: I write for Paula. If you read this blog, you can tell from the first paragraph why we work so well together.)

What on earth did I agree to?! Guest blogging for Another Jennifer! Was I temporarily out of my mind when I said “yes”? Ordinarily, I assign writing work to her — not vice versa! So, if I guest blog, does that make me a glogger instead of a blogger? Thoughts like these aid my attempts at avoiding the inevitable. The writing assignment.

There’s nothing like the blank screen staring at you as you attempt to formulate a coherent — and no doubt mundane — thought. For 20 years, I have begun my day with a blank screen as I strive to describe products, services, people or events in words that highlight the exemplary status of the aforementioned items without making them seem too good to be true. I’ve learned that everything seems impossible at first. However, when completed and approved by the client, each and every project seems so simple even a 5th grader could do it.

For years, my work time revolved around my kids school, play and camp schedules. I managed to stick in a project here and there, working sometimes with Playdough under my nails or legos sticking out of my keyboard. I’ve written great copy at 2am after simultaneously bathing 2 children covered with chickenpox. I developed an ability to type while children used my desk for hide and seek and to attract clients who loved that the boys occasionally answered the office phone. With an office just steps away from my kitchen, I juggled it all to make life work. My clients thought I was a workaholic and my kids told everyone that I was a stay at home mom.

Seemingly overnight, the Playdough is gone. The legos are packed away and the kids are driving. And I’m commuting again for the first time in 20 years. Like the kids, the business has grown up and left the nest. For the first time since the boys were born, I get to make work a priority without sacrificing time with my kids. And simultaneously, I’ve been meeting women just starting down this path of juggling motherhood and work. Being a mom is the best job I ever had. I’ve wondered what I would do when they didn’t need me at home so much. Now I know. I love running my business. I love that it’s thriving. But I would never trade a minute of the last 20 years of being there for those never to be repeated moments with my kids.

I remember one day when my oldest was a baby. I told myself that I really was having my cake and eating it, too. I felt so lucky to have this healthy baby and a great business. Now I have two amazing kids and an equally amazing business. The cake just seems to get better every day.

Paula Mahony has been providing marketing and copy services for 20 years. She launched her business, Words@Work, in 1993 shortly after the birth of her first child. The company has grown to include several writers and marketing assistants with a client list of over 300 businesses including QVC, collectibles today.com, Aetna, and Yves Rocher. Visit her website at www.wordsatwork.us.

Photo Credit: Flickr

What My Dogs Would Say If They Could Talk

my siberian huskies - kona and kailua

My Siberian Huskies: Kailua (left) and Kona

Now that I’m working from home full-time, I’m with my two Siberian Huskies a whole lot more. Whether they (and I) enjoy this is another story.

Huskies are stubborn dogs and want what they want. They’re not sleeping at my feet or fetching things for me throughout the day. They’re not looking for extra love and attention. They keep to themselves, for the most part, and hang out around the house. Kona, my oldest, is usually hairing up the rug in my office, while Kailua is usually lounging outside.

I love my dogs, but they can get demanding throughout the day. If they could talk, I’m pretty sure our conversations would go something like this.

Me (in the kitchen making coffee in the morning, feeling Kona’s stare): Kona, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you’re not getting any other food.

Kona (nosing his all natural, expensive food we buy him due to his allergies): This is gross. I want steak. Or cheese.

Me: Eat your food before your brother eats it for you.

Kona (eating a few bits, spitting some out on the floor, gagging just a little bit, walking away): You clearly hate me.

Kailua (sidling in and eating Kona’s food): I could use another bowl of food!

10 minutes later

Me (in the office now and after hearing the sound of empty metal dog bowls being moved around by Kona): Should’ve eaten when you had the chance, Kona!

Kona (from the kitchen): Screw it. Let me outside with my brother.

I let Kona outside.

30 minutes later. Howling commences. It sounds like a pack of wolves are in my backyard. This often happens while I’m on a conference call.

Me (running across the house to get to the back door, swinging back door open): Would it kill you to bark?

Kona: I’m caught around the tree.

Kailua: Hi Mom!

Me: Again Kona? It’s not like we just planted that tree. You know it’s there.

Kona: I’m stuck! Get me back inside!

I put shoes on and retrieve Kona from around the tree.

25 minutes later. Kailua starts incessantly barking his deep, loud bark.

Me (from the porch): What?

Kailua (from the middle of the yard): Hi Mom. I’m bored.

Me (after asking if Kona wants to join his brother in the below freezing weather): It’s cold out here. I’m going back inside. Doesn’t look like Kona wants to come outside. Sorry.

Kailua: It’s beautiful. You don’t know what you’re missing.

10 minutes later

Kona: I want to go outside now.

Me (now nice and settled back in the office): You couldn’t go out 10 minutes ago when we were at the door?

Kona: Nope.

I let Kona out. Kailua now wants to come back in.

Me: Wait. Didn’t you just want someone to join you outside?

Kailua (staring at the couch and waiting for me to go back into the office): But now I want to lay on the couch.

Me: Don’t get on that couch.

Kailua: Don’t you have work to do?

This is about how it goes on those more demanding days. You know that once I get back into the office and start working again, Kona starts howling to get back in the house. Kailua gets yelled at to get off the couch, as I put shoes on to retrieve Kona from around the tree again and, once inside, Kona starts nosing at his replenished food bowl.

There’s a cycle. And as annoying as it can be, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

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