Why I left the classroom and became a work at home mom

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When I became a mom I knew I wanted to stay at home with my kids. But I needed to make money to help out with the bills! So I started a virtual assistant freelance business from home to combine the best of both worlds. Click here to learn how I went from teacher to side hustle to full time work at home mom who helps other moms find legitimate jobs! #workingmom #workathome #virtualassistant #stayathomemom

The freelance movement. What is it? What does it entail? Is it a scam? Why did you do it? How did you do it? Can this work for me?

Those are questions I get asked repeatedly each week.

As I am becoming more and more open with what I do, how I got started, and why I got started, I am finding that more and more moms (or non-moms — freelancing is NOT just for moms) are interested in exploring if this lifestyle could work for them and their career and family goals.

So I wanted to address these questions in one post, so that when a mom joins my Facebook group and asks, I can send her this post! I think it helps to see someone’s personal story and their journey of how and why they did what they did and got to where they got.

Maybe this should have been my first post? Oh well — you live and learn.

What is the freelance movement?

Freelance (as I understand it for myself and my business) just means you work for yourself, you are your own boss, you are an independent contractor.

You provide some type of service to small businesses and online businesses (in my experience, only online businesses) to help them successfully run and/or scale their business.

As a freelancer you are free to work with who you want, when you want, where you want, and how you want.

What does it entail?

It entails setting yourself up as a business owner and with that there are a lot of steps.

I go in-depth with this process, setting yourself up as a business owner, in weeks 1 and 2 of my Jumpstart your Freelance Career Virtual Workshop.

But at the very basic level you need to:

  • Pick a business name
  • Develop a business brand
  • Determine what services you will offer
  • Plan your packages and your pricing

It entails lots of hard work.

You may have to learn new skills.

You may have to go out of your comfort zone.

You have to think of yourself and current skillset as valuable.

You have to hustle every month to find clients… (where do you find clients — read up here).

You have to juggle being a mom, being a wife, most likely a 9-5 (while you are starting out and trying to grow), taking care of yourself.

^^^ but you have to do that with any career or life choice anyway.

It entails uncertainty.

Will I find work?

Will I be successful?

How much will I make this month?

But doesn’t every job?

It entails people not understanding what you do.  

I got a lot of people asking what I do, but not getting it. Even my own family. My husband still doesn’t fully get it.

For the longest time, even once I started making $1500-2,000 from freelance work, which was equal to my part-time teacher salary and then eventually grew to more than my full-time teaching salary, my dad (love him, but he is a traditional entrepreneur) kept telling me I should just go work at a corporate job.

There was one specific instance, I was pregnant with my son George, now 5 months old, we were out to dinner as a whole family: my mom, my dad, my husband, my daughter, and 3 brothers.

I tried to start explaining to them what I do.

Keep in mind I am pregnant. I am emotional at this time. Everyone (all the 21+’s) were enjoying wine, beer, martinis. I had a boring old glass of water.

At this time, it was around Christmas, I had been a freelancer for 6 months, just invested $1500 in a course to grow my business, and was making around $1,500 a month from client work, I truly felt successful.

To me success just meant making what I made part-time teaching.

So when my family, mom, dad, brothers start asking questions, and didn’t “get it,” I lost it.

My perspective was they felt like it was a joke, that it was a scam, that is was not truly sustainable.

I started crying (I was pregnant) in public at a restaurant.

I ordered a “shot of wine” and the waiter brought it as fast as I have ever seen a drink delivered at a busy restaurant. I just sipped a few sips — don’t worry.

And I just had to let it go. People are not going to get it. Some will and that is awesome, but some won’t. And that is why networking and forming friendships with other freelancers is so crucial to your success if you choose to give the free life a go.

As I am switching and transitioning to growing my own online business from scratch, teaching others to start their own freelance business, I still get the people who don’t understand what I do, why I do it, or what the real true options there are out there for freelance work.

P.S. Freelance work is NOT new, but the online business world is newer. My MIL freelanced in the 90’s while she was raising her kids.

Also, freelance work does not only have to be online.

If you choose to start your own freelance business, or a blog, or an online business, be prepared for those not in the online space to not understand.

Is it a scam?

Short answer = no.

Long answer = yes and no.

There are some people out there who may try to scam you for free work, so it is important that you take specific approaches in order to prevent that. I teach this in week 4 of my course 🙂

No freelancing is not a scam.

There are endless opportunities out there. Online business is growing. It takes a lot of time to run and grow an online business. It takes a lot of different pieces. It is very rare that one person has enough time and or skill set to do everything themselves.

As I am growing my business I have hired freelancers — branding experts, web design experts, tech-team, Facebook page strategists, and blog strategists.

There are also endless opportunities locally in your community, you just have to learn what they need and how to position yourself to offer those services.

The different jobs I have had as a freelancer include:

  • Admin assistant
  • Graphic designer
  • Social Media manager
  • FB Community manager
  • Pinterest manager
  • Landing page design
  • Copywriter
  • Ghost writer
  • Copy editor
  • Blog manager
  • Customer service

What I have not done:

  • Web design
  • FB ads
  • Bookkeeping
  • Complete funnel building
  • Course creation management
  • And lots lots more.

There really truly is a freelance job out there for everyone. I fully believe that.

Why I joined the free life.

In my situation it made 100% no sense to stay at my job. I’ll explain why later.

First, I loved teaching. I loved my students. I loved my coworkers → English department shoutout!! We were the best team and brainstorming buddies, and I miss those connections every day.

Teaching English is a lot of work.

Teaching is a lot of work.

That is all I will say for now about the “what I did not like about my job section.”

I worked so hard as a teacher, I spent my summers researching new lesson plans, new strategies, and prepping for the school year (don’t tell me teaching is a great job because you have your summers off — BULL HONKEY).

I loved it, I truly did.

Until my daughter was born.

Suddenly EVERYTHING changed.

I was in the operating room, shaking uncontrollably (thanks pain meds), sobbing, and staring into the most beautiful baby girl’s eyes that I have ever seen in my life. (Georgie — I love you so much too and had the same feeling with you, but MC was born first, let’s be honest, first babies are super special).

So staring into her eyes, just in awe of what my husband and I created, I knew I could never leave her.

But I had to.

And it was the hardest thing I ever had to do.

Drop my helpless 3 month old baby off at daycare with a stranger, while I went to work to make pennies, but work my butt of for those pennies.

I started to become bitter and resentful.

So bitter and so resentful.

Towards my husband, myself, my students. It was not healthy.

I wallowed for awhile. Told my husband he had to make more money. Blamed everyone else.

Until finally, I stopped complaining and started doing.

Extremely long story short, I found freelancing.

Early August, 2016 my freelancing career began before I even knew it.  

Just over a year ago.

In this year + 2 months, I have learned more than I could have ever learned in a college classroom, studying business and marketing.

And I say that confidently, not cockily, and not knocking college or education, but there is something to be said for real-life experience and on the job training.

How I did it.

It started with complaining, but then I did something about it.

I started telling people what I wanted.

“I want to work at home and make money.”

I had so many friends and family members on the lookout for work from home jobs, but everything came back scammy or was low paying and would require me to have a quiet work environment and be tied to my computer desk from 8am-5pm.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Finally, I told the right person.

My husband’s cousin told me about an online job sourcing board. 

I checked it out.

It turns out it is a job sourcing board where small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs can post virtual work only jobs perfect for stay at home moms.

I paid $30 for a 3 month subscription.

6 months later, I had a client. 2 weeks later, another. 2 weeks later, another.

I was making $600-$800 a month. From home, while my daughter slept.

IT WAS PERFECT! I was in heaven.

But, it got me thinking… If I found 3 clients, there has to be more out there and this has to be a “real” thing.

So I did some research.

And found out that I was living in my tiny little bubble world, unaware of the the world of online businesses who need virtual support to thrive.

(I love my bubble world, BTW. KC love, Lenexa love, JOCO love all the way).

In December/January of 2016 and 2017, I officially launched my virtual assistant, social media, digital marketing support business to online business owners.

I invested in a course, invested in myself, and read every blog post out there about digital marketing, social media marketing, and boss-momming.

I changed some habits. No more wasted time. No more complaining without doing something about it.

I wake up at 5am before the kids are up and work during naptimes and when they go to sleep.

I did this all while still teaching part-time, raising a toddler, growing the cutest baby boy ever, and being a wife, all with little to no daycare.

In full transparency, I am amazingly blessed to have help from my parents and my in-laws + all our siblings, so that made a difference.

But so did my attitude. I wanted something so bad. Instead of continuing to complain, I did something about it.

Challenge for you, and me. 

I want to challenge you to think about your life and what you complain about?

What is it?! Send me a message, follow me on facebook, send me an email, or if you are comfortable posting it below for the 5 people that read my blog to see, go ahead!!

What is the #1 thing you complain about?

Your job, your husband, your kids, your weight?

Name that thing out loud…

And either do something about it or stop complaining!

If you are on the same page as me, and that thing is your job, and you are interested joining the freelance movement also, or at least exploring the options, I have two things for you:

  1. Join my free facebook group where I share tips, stories, but also am working to build a community of strong, powerful mamas (mostly freelancers, or those interested, but not a requirement).
  2. Sign-up to get my Jumpstart Your Freelance Career Brainstorming Guide. It will help walk you through your previous and current life experience and how that can translate to a sustainable and profitable freelance career.

If it is something else → make it a priority to change.

P.S. I need to take my own advice. I complain about my weight on the daily, but still reach for the gummy bears. It’s not my priority. For now, I am going to take the sugar, and stop complaining.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, we’ll receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you.


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1 thought on “Why I left the classroom and became a work at home mom”

  1. Mariness Santana

    Reading this, I felt like I was listening to myself talk. I am a Head Start teacher. I used to love my job before I had children of my own. Then when I got married, my husband came with three more little boys from his previous marriage. So in total, I have 5 boys, all of whom live with my husband and I. I work full-time as a preschool teacher in Southwest Detroit. Aside from that job, I do consumer link services and respite care for my brother whom is mentally handicap. All the while taking online college courses to finish my BA in Early Childhood Education. I have my AA, but you really can’t make much money without the BA these days.
    It’s a lot of work. I am over-worked, worn our, burnt out, tired, and stressed. I would love nothing more than to walk into work at the preschool and hand in my resignation. However, my husband is awaiting his work permit and is not allowed to work while undergoing the immigration process. Given the fact that we almost lost him to a deportation last June, we are being very cautious and following all of the rules.
    Having said that, I am the only one working and I am falling apart. I’m never home and I think I’ve gotten sick more this year than I ever have before. I need to make a change, but I’m scared and confused.
    I took a course two years ago with a company called Time to Teach. I spent a good $2000 because I had to travel to Florida, pay for a hotel and I had to bring one of my little boys with me since it was a 3-day long training and I couldn’t find a sitter for him while I was gone. Luckily, my older brother was in Florida at the time and watched my son while I sat in a training for 12 hours a day. I received my certificate to be an education consultant in the field of differentiated instruction.
    All of that hard work, time, and money to find out in the end that I had to pay registration fees just to advertise myself at workshops, pay for travel, pay for a website that I would have to build, and purchase a marketing kit. The marketing kit wasn’t mandatory nor was the website, but who wants to hire someone if they aren’t established? So I put things on hold because I couldn’t afford to establish and advertise myself.
    So I started saving my money and then my husband was detained by immigration and there went all that money I saved plus some. My certificate will never expire, but I’m not sure if I can see myself doing this because of all of the traveling involved.
    Sorry this is so long, but I think it was necessary to tell my story to explain why I’m scared to step out of my comfort zone again. BUT I want to make a change. I NEED to make a change for myself and my family. I’m going to do this quietly because I don’t want to be reminded of all the money and time I wasted before. I just need some guidance. I need help to figure out what service I can offer. I’ve been teaching preschool for almost 10 years. I know a lot about it, but how can I offer a service with this other than babysitting. Let’s all face it, Head Start is basically glorified babysitting. For me, I have the background and education in the field, so I know that I’m actually teaching the little ones, but for someone off the street I’m just a babysitter. If I can’t offer a service in that field, I’m willing to branch out into something else, but this is really all I know aside from caring for adults with mental disabilities, but keep in mind I do not have any degrees in special education. If anyone had the patience to read this novel, do you have any ideas for me?

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