The following post, written by Charlotte McGhee (a freelancer and fellow Executive in Sweatpants), is part of an ongoing series to provide you with additional perspective into the virtual workforce.

My name is Charlotte, and I am a stay-at-home mother of five amazing children…and a virtual freelancer.

Okay, so the opening sentence may catch some people off guard. I mean, it’s kind of a weird combo, right? Not really. The two actually go together pretty well, like peanut butter and jelly (my kids love pb & j). For the last year I have been working as a virtual freelancer. I have had the honor of working with some amazing entrepreneurs all across the world, people I would have never met had it not been for the virtual workplace. The truth is, if it wasn’t for the virtual work world, I wouldn’t be able to work at all.

The Economics of Staying at Home

My story really starts eight years ago. My Work from Home Momhusband and I were anxiously awaiting the birth of our second child. After countless hours of discussion, we decided it would be in the best interest of our family for me to stay home full time with our two small children. I loved being home with our children, and as our family continued to grow, we soon realized that even if I wanted to return to the work force we couldn’t realistically afford it. Daycare is expensive, and daycare for five children is REALLY expensive!

I knew one day I would want to go back to work, but what would I be able to do? I felt as though I was losing touch with the business world more and more. Unless someone was looking for a top notch candidate with amazing diaper changing skills and the ability to make dinner while talking on the phone and handing out punishments, my chances of impressing a potential employer were pretty slim.

My oDesk Awakening

For the most part, I began to accept that my career dreams were over and gone. Then one day a friend casually mentioned that her sister had been working as a Sales Manager for a company in New Zealand. She began telling me about what an extraordinary opportunity it was for her and how she was doing this all while attending college in Southern California. To say I was intrigued would be an understatement!

I began digging around to see what this virtual work world was all about. It didn’t take long for me to find a reputable online workplace (www.odesk.com). I browsed the site looking at job posting after job posting, finding opportunity after opportunity. I was amazed. There were thousands of listings for all sorts of jobs. Immediately, I got to work creating my oDesk profile and applying for jobs that fit my skillset. A little over a week later, I landed my first freelance job!

This Could Be You Too!

Stay at home mom workFor the last year, I have been working as a virtual freelancer while continuing to be a stay-at-home mom…and I love it! Working from home has allowed me to get back in the groove of things, brush up on my old skills, and learn new things – all while my children are napping. I’m able to set my own schedule, choose my own workload, and explore opportunities I never thought possible.

If you have ever considered working virtually, but you’re scared you won’t have the time (or maybe that you aren’t that tech savvy), I strongly encourage you to give it a shot. Being a virtual freelancer has given me more opportunities than I could have ever imaginanged. You will be amazed at where it can take you. What do you have to lose?

Written by Charlotte McGhee

Charlotte McGhee is a virtual freelancer and stay-at-home mom. Charlotte has leveraged her sales and marketing background to build a successful home-based income stream.

This article has 2 comments

  1. Victoria Reply

    Hi,

    this comment is for Charlotte McGhee.

    I recently got started with odesk, and I’ve already gotten my first freelance job. My question is how do you handle it when one of your children is crying or just wants your attention? My job requires me to be on the phone quite a bit and I don’t want to seem unprofessional with my little one being loud in the background. Even though I will be doing the bulk of my work while she is napping, she only sleeps for an hour. What are your suggestions?

    • Charlotte McGhee
      Charlotte McGhee Reply

      Hi Victoria-

      Having young children can certainly be a challenge when it comes to working virtually. Here are a few ideas that have worked for me-

      1. Set up a mini office for the kids. I purchased a small art desk and added a toy laptop, coloring books, pretend phone, and even an old set of headphones so my 3 year old can pretend to work while I work.

      2. If at all possible schedule client calls and meeting during nap time. If this isn’t a possible don’t be afraid to use the mute button.

      3. The most important and useful tip I can give you is to be upfront and honest with your clients. For the most part clients understand the importance of family (a lot of them run online business to cater to their own families). There are going to be times that you need to step away to care for your children, and if the client doesn’t understand that there is a good chance you aren’t a great fit for the job.

      Good luck on your new adventure!

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