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 husband 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!
For 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?